Next June, students and parents in Tipton County will have a new opportunity.
Because of a state law passed earlier this year, all public schools in Tennessee will have to implement an open enrollment policy for the 2014-15 school year.
When the new policy takes effect, students who want to transfer from one Tipton County School to another don't need a reason.
If there's room at the destination school and some basic criteria is met, the transfer should be approved.
In the past, a residence change or some other documented life-changing event was necessary.
According to Director of Schools Buddy Bibb, the biggest obstacle that students who want to transfer will face is if there is space available.
“Our schools have basically been full for the last few years,” Bibb said.
“Whether or not they are accepted, basically, is going to come down to if there is room in that school.”
Every summer teachers are hired at Tipton County's schools based on projected enrollment. Those figures are based on the number of students who live in the schools' zones.
If, for example, 50 students requested to transfer into Munford Middle School, they likely would not all be accepted.
“We're not going to hire more teachers because someone wants to leave and go,” Bibb said. “We'll have to come up with some plans as far as applications. It will probably be a first-come, first-served situation. Those who get their applications in first will be considered first.”
Those who want to change schools for the 2014-15 season will need to file their applications at the board in June.
If a student is granted a transfer, the school system will not provide transportation.
The Tipton County Board of Education approved a revision to its policy regarding open enrollment requests last September.
It reads, “The director of schools or his/her designee shall review such requests and, if adequate space is available, grant such transfers unless a transfer would be adverse to the best interests of the child or school system. If granted, the student must provide his/her own transportation to and from the school. The student shall maintain satisfactory attendance, behavior and effort to remain in the new school.”
Space issues figure to prevent mass movement.
And Bibb believes another factor will limit transfers as well.
“My experience,” Bibb said, “has been that, by and large, our students are happy where they are.”