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Wednesday, December 18, 2013 12:00 AM
A crowd of people, many with children in the Union Public Schools, fill the room during the Neshoba County School Board meeting. They were there due to rumors that the board would be redefining the transfer policy, many said.
Proposed changes to the student transfer policy at Neshoba County Schools drew a crowd of parents to the School Board meeting Thursday night, particularly those with children going to Union schools.
The crowd, which filled the county supervisors' meeting room, was there after rumors spread that the board would be making massive changes that would force all Union transfer students to attend Neshoba County Schools, many said.
Board President Jewell Parks told they crowd that the School Board would discuss the transfer policy but no decision would be made during the Thursday meeting.
Parks said the school has had a problem with students transferring out over the years, specifically to the Union School District.
Superintendent Tommy 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.
While the board proposes to no longer grant new transfers, it would uphold those previously granted. An exemption would be made to approve transfers for siblings of those attending Union, Parks said.
"Depending on our decision, not everyone will be happy," she said, noting that no new transfers would be granted after the decision is made.
With the announcement, the crowd started to murmur in disagreement.
One woman said she lived a few miles from the Union school but outside the school district.
"I plan on signing up my little girl for kindergarten next year. Would she be forced to go to Neshoba?" she asked.
Parks said, "yes."
She then added that anyone currently attending Union or has "family" attending would be grandfathered in and therefore exempt from the rule.
Again the crowd started to murmur with many questioning what constituted a "family."
The board clarified, saying a family constituted parents and children only.
"It will take years to sort out this situation," Parks said, while trying to calm the crowd down.
She noted that this was the first meeting on the issue and no decisions would be made.
"We're not going to be solving this issue overnight. There has been a lot of bad info gotten out," she said.
The board ended the discussion be assuring the crowd that no decision would be made until the next board meeting on Jan. 13.
Later in the meeting the board approved four transfers to Union.
They also approved for a school-wide check on student residency next year.
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JOSHUA S. LADD
MATTHEW R. STOVALL
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