Student transfer law could impact some school populations

Published: Apr. 17, 2013 at 6:21 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2013 at 8:21 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe approved a measure Tuesday that allows students to transfer from one school district to another as long as it doesn't violate a court desegregation order.

The new law removed race as the determining factor. A federal judge struck down the 1989 law last year saying the law was unconstitutional for Arkansas to use race as the only  factor.

"There is a chance that there might be more students applying for transfers than we have room for," said Superintendent Radius Baker with Valley View School District.

Baker said he already has applications on his desk and is expecting more to come.

"The basic thing is do you have the facility and do you have the staff in order to accommodate those students," Baker said. 

The new bill by Republican Sen. Johnny Key allows students to change school districts as long as the transfer doesn't violate a court desegregation order.

"Personally, I think it will affect us in a positive manner because I think we will see probably  more student transfers into the district," he said.

But that is not the case for Greene County Tech School District. Superintendent Jerry Noble said he doesn't't expect to see a big increase.

"I really don't think it will affect this area that much but I might be surprised," Noble said. 

Noble said they usually gain about 100 students a year from school choice transfers.The bill also includes a 3 percent rule, where the number of transfers are limited to 3 percent of the school's total daily enrollment.

Baker said that equals about 75 students at Valley View. Noble said he believes students should have the choice to decide where they go to school.

"I think they should have a choice, but I think we need to comply with the law and make sure it's for the right reasons and not for athletic reasons," Noble said.

Noble said they are going to wait until June to start looking at applications and making approvals.

The law takes effect immediately and expires in July 2015.

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