An updated transfer policy to other districts, including Union, has been approved by the Neshoba County School Board which includes a continuation on current transfers.

In a unanimous decision last week, the county School Board approved the new transfer policy after two months of deliberations. Any changes would not affect students who have already been granted transfers to other school districts.

Under the updated policy, the school will grant transfers to children living 30 miles or more by bus route from the county school if there is another school located by a shorter bus route.

This is in accordance with Section 37-15-29(3) of the Mississippi Code of 1972.

This policy is similar to one suggested by Superintendent Tommy Dearing in January.

He suggested creating a 30-mile border that the board would use to determine transfers. However, at last week's meeting he said that after reviewing the proposed policy the board should not enact it.

Dearing added that the border could cause problems for those seeking a transfer but reside a mile or less from the proposed border.

Instead, he suggested, that the school follow the already in place state rule that says children living 30 miles or more from their school could request a transfer.

"There just wouldn't be a border on a map that we would have to follow," Dearing said. "It would be up to the parent to show they lived 30 miles [by bus] from the school."

The board also approved a policy to grandfather in children already attending school in another district.

Any child currently attending school in another district can continue to do so as long as a written petition is presented each year until graduation and as long as the parents continue to reside in the same residence listed in the transfer.

Also younger siblings of transfer students can also request a transfer.

The proposed change stems from a December meeting where parents voiced concerns after future transfers in wake of rumors that the board would soon force all Union transfer students to attend Neshoba County Schools.

Former board member Jewell Parks said the school has had a problem with students transferring out over the years, specifically to the Union School District.

Superintendent Dearing said the school has 212 transfer students to Union this current school year, costing the district over $1 million.

Each student has $7,500 travel with them to Union, he said.

He also noted that 95 students have transferred to Sebastopol schools.

Student transfers must be approved by the School Board on an annual basis, he said.

At last week's meeting the board approved a pair of transfers but noted the students had moved in with in-laws.

District 3 representative Shan Winstead said that if approved the transfers need to be re-examined at the start of the next school year, noting that the children may have moved back to the Neshoba district.

"Can we put a note on their records?" he asked.

The board also plans to hold a school-wide check on student residency next year.