The school transfer issue has been a hot-button issue throughout the last couple of months.
It all began when the Newton County School Board decided to change its transfer policy. The issue was a complicated one, dating back to the days of desegregation.
For a long time, the school district has allowed students living in the Newton County School District living near Lake High School, Union High School and Sebastopol Attendance Center to have the option to transfer to those respective schools.
A few years ago, Newton County decided it would begin to phase out transfers, but that decision was reversed when the school board approved the transfer rule change just before Spring Break. The letter went out that week, and it created a firestorm on social media.
Lines were drawn. Lawyers were hired. Lawsuits were threatened.
Groups at each of the respective schools met to discuss their options.
After all that, the Newton County School Board and the Scott County School Board came to an agreement that will keep everything the same for the 2017-2018 school year and then allow students in the classes of 2019-2021 to graduate with their classmates at Sebastopol and Lake.
After this school year, however, those that will be in eighth grade and below will have to attend Newton County Schools. So it gives parents an opportunity to decide whether they want to move into those respective school districts, attend Newton County Schools or consider other alternatives.
I think this was probably the best solution. Sure, this probably should have been addressed many years ago, but it’s unfair to force seniors to go to a new school for their final year and not graduate with the classmates they’ve had since kindergarten.
And there is a provision to allow students who have siblings at those school districts to attend those schools outside the Newton County district.
It’s not perfect, but I think it’s a decent compromise. And I hope that Newton County and Union can come together and make a similar agreement.
Could we have avoided this situation? Probably. All sides could have sat down around the table and come to this agreement before the policy was changed. Hindsight is 20-20.
However, I hope that when the next situation arises like this that there is much more discussion before such a huge decision is made.