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MUSD handled 944 requests for school transfers last year

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POSTED February 27, 2013 1:04 a.m.

All high school and elementary school sites in the Manteca Unified School District will have Open Enrollment request forms available from Friday, March 1, until 3:30 p.m. on Friday, March 22.

This is for families who would like their child or children to attend another campus other than the school in their designated attendance area.

Last year, a total of 944 requests for transfer during the Open Enrollment period were processed, according to district records. Out of that number, only 145 were denied. The main reason for the denials: the schools were impacted.

A case in point – East Union and Sierra high schools were considered impacted. There were more people requesting to go into those two campuses than there was space available. When that happens, the school district holds a lottery to make the selection process “unbiased and fair.”

It’s all done by computer, explained Jean Tisher from the office of Child Welfare and Attendance Director Rupinder Bhatti.

“We try to keep our hands out of it,” she said. The names of the students are not even input into the computer – just their numbers, she explained, “because we want to make it as fair as possible.”

The rationale behind the Open Enrollment process is contained in the district policy which states that “no student currently residing within a school’s attendance area shall be displaced by another student” and that the “Government Board retains the authority to maintain appropriate racial and ethnic balances among district schools.”

There have been instances where school-transfer requests were made because of a student’s preference for a particular school’s athletic program.

“Unfortunately, we can’t show priority for someone who just wants to be in a sports program,” Tisher said.

There is one instance where an Open Enrollment request is given priority. As stated in the school district policy, “the Open Enrollment process for siblings of current high school students will be to grandfather them into the requested high school or to give priority to their Open Enrollment request.” That is in keeping with the school district’s high priority of “providing stability for our students and families.”

However, if a student filing an Open Enrollment request no longer has a sibling attending the high school where they want to go, the request loses its high-priority status and be simple run through the regular process.

The district policy defines a sibling as a “brother or sister, adopted child, foster child, or any child legally assigned to parent(s) of a child continuing attendance in said school.” But even this is not absolute. An appeal to this definition can be directed in writing to the school principal who will then confer with the director of Child Welfare and Attendance to make a determination.

All Open Enrollment request forms must be turned in to the student’s school of residence for possible placement in the fall semester of the 2013-14 school year. Parents will be notified of their status of their requests by approximately June 1. Parents and the student applicants also will be responsible for their own transportation should their requests for transfer are approved. If they have any further questions about the open enrollment procedures, they are advised to contact their school of residence.

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