Nearly 1,000 schooled out of attendance area

It has been reported recently that Fayette County schools have more than 330 students attending from out of county, who accompany a parent that is an employee of the school system and have permission to attend a school here. But there are far more students, nearly 1,000, who live in Fayette and and have special permission attend a school outside their home attendance area.

The schools with the highest number of students transferring in from other schools include Whitewater High School, Starr’s Mill High School, Starr’s Mill Middle School, Minter Elementary and Tyrone Elementary. Those with the largest number of students transferring out to other schools include Fayette County High School, Fayette Middle School, Burch Elementary along with Fayetteville Intermediate (FIS), Inman and Peachtree City elementary schools.

As of mid-October, the Fayette County School System has a total of 1,328 students attending schools not in their home attendance area. Of that total, 336 accompany a parent from out of county who is employed by the school system. But there are 992 students who live in Fayette County and have special permission to attend a school outside their home attendance area. Of those, some have a parent employed by the school system while others are approved to attend other schools for reasons such as a parent’s request.

The longstanding policy governing special permissions, first adopted in 1978 and revised in 2008, lists three exceptions to requiring students to attend the school in their attendance area. Those exceptions include:

-A student whose place of residence changes from one attendance area to another during the school year may finish the year at the school in which he or she began attendance that year.

-A student shall be allowed to attend the school in which a parent or guardian is a full-time teacher or employee.

-A student may be assigned by the superintendent to a school outside his/her attendance area based upon criteria set by the Fayette County Board of Education.

Among the criteria for a student to be cleared to attend a school in another attendance area are the availability of space in the receiving school and the requirement that the parent transport their child to the school. The policy also notes that the change must appear to be in the best interest of the student, that the superintendent find the change to be in the best interest of the district and that principals of the sending and receiving schools be consulted.

The schools seeing the largest number of students transferring in this year include Whitewater High, Starr’s Mill High, Whitewater Middle, Tyrone Elementary and Minter Elementary. Looking at the net increase, the total number of students transferring in minus the number transferring out, Tyrone Elementary is the big winner with 74 net transfers in. Beyond that, the schools with the highest number of students with net transfers in include Starr’s Mill High with 69, Whitewater High with 68, Minter Elementary with 62 and Whitewater Middle with 57.

So where are the students coming from? For Tyrone, more than half the students come from the Burch attendance area. For Whitewater High, more than half come from the Fayette County High School attendance area. For Starr’s Mill, more than one-third come from the FCHS attendance area. For Whitewater Middle, more than half of the in-county transfers come from the FCHS attendance area. And for Minter, more than half of the in-county transfers come from Inman Elementary and FIS.

The schools seeing the largest number of net students transferring out this year include FCHS, Fayette Middle, Burch Elementary, FIS, Inman and Peachtree City elementary schools. Leading with the greatest number of net transfers out is Burch with 82 students. Of that number, 48 students transferred to Tyrone.

FCHS had a net transfer of 76 students, with 53 transferring to Whitewater High and 32 transferring to Starr’s Mill High.

FIS also had a significant number of students transfer this year. Of the net transfer of 67 students, the schools receiving the largest percentage of students were Cleveland, Minter and Spring Hill.

Fayette Middle had 61 net transfers to other middle schools. Of those, 33 moved to Whitewater Middle, 27 went to Bennett’s Mill Middle and 12 transferred to Flat Rock Middle.

Rounding out the list of the top schools where students transferred out, Inman Elementary had 44 net transfers and Peachtree City Elementary had 31. Inman had 23 students transfer to Minter while Peachtree City had 20 students transfer to Kedron Elementary.

The number of students transferring from one Fayette school to another is small since the school system has an enrollment if 20,463. The question that will not be answered until later is whether those 992 students might have some degree of impact on the current redistricting effort.

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