Madison County Schools Superintendent Mitch McGhee doesn’t expect to see a drastic number of kids changing schools within the county despite a new law that’s loosened restrictions for transfers.
“The process is very different, but the net effect, what you actually get to do, is very similar,” McGhee said. “I really don’t expect the numbers to be too different.“
Parents in Madison County have until Friday to apply for a transfer under the less restricted guidelines with House Bill 251.
Under the old system, children in Madison County attended an elementary school based on a geographic zone.
With the new rule, a parent can transfer a child to any school within the district regardless of where they live, as long as there’s space. Parents are responsible for transportation to the new school.
Since Madison County has only one high school and middle school, the new law only applies to the county’s five elementary schools.
But several grades at four campuses and all of Hull-Sanford Elementary are closed due to space limitations based on enrollment projections. The closed classes include Colbert Elementary, second and fifth grade; Comer Elementary, kindergarten and first grade; Danielsville Elementary, kindergarten and fifth grade; and Ila Elementary, second grade.
In the past, any transfer request in Madison County was called a “variance” and considered monthly by the Madison County Board of Education (BOE).
Now, transfer requests are coming in at one time since there’s now a deadline.
“We’ve got several more in this past week than we usually have in the past,” McGhee said.
Of course, he expects it to all even out in the end.
“We’re going to have more in July than we usually do, but I think for the whole school year, it should be about the same,” McGhee said.
Associate superintendent Allen McCannon is currently at work on the system’s new transfer policy, which could be presented at the BOE’s August or September meeting.
Among the variables considered will be how to handle transfer requests for those who move in mid-year wanting their child to attend a school other than the one in their attendance zone.
Also, the system will have to decide what action to take about transfer availability if student enrollment projections are off for a certain grade.
“All that will be spelled out in the policy,” McGhee said.