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By Holly Fesperman LeeSalisbury Post
School board members approved revisions to the Rowan-Salisbury School System student transfer policy Monday that staff members hope will prevent people from manipulating the system and claiming multiple residences ó especially for athletic purposes.
Harsher recruiting penalties for coaches, students and parents are included.
Director of Student Services Tim Smith told board members that the transfer committee changed the word “residence” to “domicile” in the policy because a domicile is a person’s fixed, permanent and principal home for legal purposes.
A person can only have one domicile under the law, but can have multiple residences, Smith explained.
Students have in the past claimed a second residence to transfer for athletic or social reasons.
While some parents have difficulty with the concept of a domicile, Smith said, “they will learn to understand that word.”
The 365-day athletic waiting period will also continue to be enforced next year. Students granted a transfer in the 7th and 8th grades or high school must wait a full year from their date of enrollment to participate in athletics at their new schools.
Smith said coaches and athletic directors support the wait.
Board member Dr. Jim Emerson asked Smith if the athletic wait would apply to students who move.
“If it’s a legal move, no,” Smith replied. But students would have to provide proof of their new domicile.
The policy also addresses people who work for the schools.
Staff members, including full- and part-time, non-faculty coaches, or volunteers who directly or indirectly influence prospective athletes in an attempt to influence their school assignment, could face termination next school year.
Those in violation will be subject to disciplinary action up to loss of employment, the policy says.
“Additionally if a student, parent, or legal guardian is party to a violation of any part of this policy, the student’s right to participate in interscholastic athletics may be denied,” the new language says.
“This was a real problem this year,” Smith said.
All coaching contracts will include the new conditions.
The new policy would also require parents of transferred students to drive them to their new schools. One condition of a transfer is that parents have to provide transportation, but in the past that could mean taking the student to a school bus stop where he or she could catch a bus to school.
Smith said this year the committee wanted to eliminate that option in fairness to all parents, since not all have the time or money to drive their children to another bus stop.
All transfer students will provide their own transportation this year.
And the policy includes new language aimed at Rowan-Salisbury employees whose children transfer.
In the past, children of full-time employees requesting transfers were given preference if space was available.
That has created a potential loophole for parents wanting a transfer, Smith said.
“We’ve had people come to work for Rowan-Salisbury for two days and get a transfer for their child and quit,” he said.
Employees’ children will still get preference next year, but under the new policy if an employee resigns from the system the child may complete the current year but will have to reapply for the transfer the next year.
“In other words to maintain the transfer they were granted as an employee, the parent or guardian must continue to be employed with the Rowan-Salisbury School System,” the policy says.
The transfer window will begin earlier next year so staff will have time to handle all requests.
Board members approved the new policy on first reading Monday. It will have to come back to the board for an approval on second reading before the final approval.
Contact Holly Lee at 704-797-7683 or hlee@salisburypost.com.

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