Regulatory policy

WFISD moves to limit transfers with new policy

The Wichita Falls ISD School Board tightened the district’s transfer policy Monday, in an effort to end abuses of the policy that have arisen over the years and simplify it ahead of the opening of two new high schools.

In just a few paragraphs, the new policy takes effect for the 2023-2024 school year and gives a new committee authority over transfers. This will affect both student transfers between WFISD campuses and students transferring from another district.

“The public should be aware that we are moving towards a no-transfer policy. Your student will go to school in the area you live in,” deputy head Elizabeth Yeager said at Monday’s meeting. “It’s a game changer for this community. It hasn’t been like this for decades. »

The trustees approved the new 5-1 policy. Place 5 administrator Tom Bursey was not at Monday’s meeting.

Under the new policy, a campus principal can still accept changes from one classroom to another on that principal’s campus. A District Transfer Committee will evaluate school transfer requests on a case-by-case basis using the bylaws.

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Administrative transfers are related to situations such as bullying or attending specialized programs offered only on certain campuses.

In addition, children transferred into WFISD from other districts must attend the school closest to their place of residence.

WFISD also allows transfers for the children of district employees. The policy was originally instituted to allow teachers to transfer their children to the campus where they teach as a benefit of working for the district.

But it’s clear from the discussion at Monday’s school board meeting that district employees, including education center administrators, have used the policy to send their children to a school of their choice.

Additionally, the reasons for transfer requests have been as varied as for a child to attend school where a parent is the President of the Parent-Teacher Organization, to go to school with friends or where he is easier for a grandparent to pick up the child.

Katherine McGregor, chief executive, voted against the new transfer policy.

“District employees have carte blanche. They are the first priority. They have a choice,” McGregor said. “I have a real problem with that.”

She said she supports school staff being able to transfer their children, but not district-wide employees.

“I think audiences are fed up with entities living by different rules than they impose on their audience, and I think this is a classic example of that,” McGregor said. “I think we’re all fed up in Washington, and I think people are fed up locally as well.

Place 1 Administrator Bob Payton said it was difficult to draw the line for some staff who may have responsibilities both on campus and downtown.

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He also said he supports the district’s employee transfer policy as a benefit, and he noted the critical shortage of teachers.

“My leaning right now is to leave it up, but check and check,” Payton said. “The board needs to stay on top of what this committee is doing.”

He said Dr. Donny Lee, superintendent of WFISD, had the foresight to send reports to the board after the transfer committee meeting.

Place 3 administrator Mark Lukert said the school board should do nothing to change the policy affecting teachers if they don’t do the same with central office administrators.

“In other words, if a teacher wants his student to go to Fowler, and he teaches to Jefferson, and he lives in Ben Milam, if we let the administrators do that, then we should definitely allow our teachers to do it,” says Lucert.

WFISD associate superintendent Dr Peter Griffiths said Lee’s direction is that there should be a system for the district to easily see how many children have been transferred for administrative reasons, how many at the request of employees and how many for other reasons – with comments.

Griffiths said transfers from January to June of this year involved about 200 requests from district employees, about 40 for administrative reasons and another 200 he could not classify.

Additionally, having a committee means there will be a conversation about transfer requests instead of having one person to assess them, officials said.

Yeager said the policy is very straightforward and enforcement is up to the committee.

“So I hope the board and Dr. Lee will make sure that happens, and that we don’t see the abuse of politics that we’ve seen over the past few years,” he said. she declared.

Place 4 administrator Dale Harvey agrees, saying the school board needs to monitor what the committee is doing.

The new policy was created prior to the opening of Wichita Falls Memorial High School and Wichita Falls Legacy High School for the 2024-2025 school year.

WFISD also adopted new boundary lines for Memorial and Legacy High School attendance areas. A map of the new zones is available on wfisd.net.

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