Archive for Thursday, August 22, 2002

Transfer welcome for now

August 22, 2002

Eudora schools have received their annual vote of confidence as students from neighboring districts enrolled in USD 491 schools.

Fees the Lawrence school district was forced to institute for this year is also a likely motivation for some transfers. Middle school and high school students in the Lawrence district can expect to pay $152 for textbooks and other basic needs, $50 more if they participate in sports and still more fees for other activities.

Still, it's not unlikely the Lawrence parents understand the benefits offered by Eudora of smaller classrooms and more intimate schools. Each decision to send transfer students to our schools is a vote of confidence in the quality of education USD 491 provides. It is school choice without the vouchers.

Yet, it is a situation with obvious concerns. The transfer students are being educated in classrooms paid for by district taxpayers. As much as they appreciate the added money that comes with transfer students in an era of tight budgets, we're sure neither the board nor the administration wants to spend a dime of bond money to provide space for transfer students.

Fast-growing Johnson County districts have closed their doors to transfers because of the constant demand their own populations create for new schools. While Eudora is not at that point yet, the transfer situation is one that demands the district administration's close scrutiny.

It is logical to assume many out-of-district students who enroll in USD 491 schools will have a desire to remain with their friends, classmates and teachers. It will surely be the wish of parents and the district to grandfather the enrollment rights of long-standing transfer students. At the same time, Eudora schools could become more attractive to Lawrence parents as continued state budget problems force that school district to rely more heavily on user fees.

Given those two assumptions, USD 491 can't get too greedy. It must balance the short-term gain it receives from transfer students with their long-term consequences.

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