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School transfer policy changed for school employees' children

By Maggie Blackwell
mblackwell@salisburypost.com
Rowan-Salisbury School System employees can no longer send their children to any school they want after the school board Monday night changed the policy that allowed them to do so.
In the past, full-time employees could send their children to the school of their choice, regardless of the reason. In fact, they did not have to state a reason, according to Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom.
Following an impassioned speech by school board member Jean Kennedy and a motion by Dr. Kay Wright Norman, the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education voted that a full-time school employee may transfer his or her child only to the school serving the address where the employee works.
The board approved the change in policy by a vote of 6-1. Board member Patty Williams cast the dissenting vote.
As the board discussed the school transfer issue, Williams remarked, “When it affects your child, you will begin to see it very differently.”
Kennedy responded that it had affected her family “and we lived with it.”
“I never applied for a transfer as an employee because I believe in my system. For an employee to transfer his child out of the school where he works, I have a problem with that,” Kennedy said. “We should be proud of our schools. We have the potential to be one of the greatest systems, not only in the U.S., but in the world. I feel passionately about this.”
Dr. Walter Hart said he knew of a system where employees could send their children to one of two schools: the school that served their home address or the one based on their work address.
Due to the transfer “season” being open right now, Norman moved the board waive the standard second reading of a policy change. This means the policy becomes effective immediately.
Her motion passed 4-2, with members Bryce Beard and Karen Carpenter opposing it and Williams abstaining. Carpenter said she believes school employees deserve the opportunity to voice concerns.
Transfers that have already taken place will be allowed to remain in place despite the change in rules.
If employees want their children to attend other schools, they can apply for transfers in the same manner as the public does. Hart suggested that when they do apply, their applications receive the same scrutiny all other applications receive.
The issue arose as the result of a recent study identifying a higher-than-expected volume of transfers in the Rowan-Salisbury system. That number, presented by consultants OR/Ed from Durham, has been adjusted after closer examination.

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