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Greenwood move will allow students from other districts

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Students who live outside the Greenwood school district can choose to go to school there anyway, starting next year.

The change is a reversal of a decision the school board made last spring to stop admitting students who lived outside the district.

About 100 students from roughly 30 families who lived in other school districts typically transferred to Greenwood schools until the current school year, when the board closed Greenwood to transfer students.

Board members made that decision after a state law was passed stopping school districts from blocking students with low grades, attendance or behavioral problems from transferring.

Under the law, the only reason a school district can limit the number of transfer students accepted is because of limits on space, and in that case the school must conduct a lottery to decide which transfer students will be accepted.

Greenwood officials stopped accepting transfers because they thought students who weren’t earning at least B’s or who had problems regularly making it to school would have problems succeeding at a new school because of the stress that can come with getting to know new teachers, classmates and rules.

But that meant school officials had to turn down 100 transfer requests it received last spring, Superintendent Kent DeKoninck said.

Opening Greenwood to transfer students means the school district will be able to offer students and parents exactly the kind of education they are looking for, and expansion projects at Southwest and Westwood elementary schools will help ensure there is enough classroom space for everyone, DeKoninck said.

And the more students who are enrolled, the more money the school district gets from the state to pay for teachers and academic programs, including more technical career courses for students, DeKoninck said.

“For all those reasons, we thought let’s do it,” DeKoninck said.

About 90 fewer students attended Greenwood this school year, and school officials attributed the

drop in money partially, though

not entirely, to the loss of

transfer students.

Greenwood receives about $5,500 from the state for every student who attends its schools. So if 100 students transfer to Greenwood, the school district would receive an additional $550,000, DeKoninck said.

That kind of cash increase could enable Greenwood to provide more courses and training for students interested in beginning careers immediately after high school, which is a priority for the school district, DeKoninck said.

For now Clark-Pleasant schools, which is Johnson County’s fastest-growing school district, is closed to transfer students, while Franklin and Center Grove schools continued to accept students from outside their school districts after the law changed.

While some Indiana school districts have been eager to accept as many transfer students as possible, going so far as to rent

billboard space and bus

students in from other areas, Greenwood doesn’t plan to spend a lot of time or money advertising itself in other school districts, DeKoninck said.

“I just don’t feel like that’s

something we need to do right now,” he said.

The school district has transfer information on its website and likely will post fliers in public places, but that’s all for now.

Parents who do transfer their children to Greenwood will

have to arrange transportation, DeKoninck said.

Greenwood officials also plan to start creating resources for transfer students, especially those who are having trouble keeping their grades up or making it to class every day, to ensure that they’re able to improve their grades and attendance and to ensure they aren’t overwhelmed by their new school, DeKoninck said.

For example, principals or other school officials could meet with students to see if anything can be done to ease their transition, DeKoninck said.

“What we would just do is find ways to have special outreach to those kids,” he said.

on the move

Here are the details on Greenwood schools’ updated

transfer policy:

What’s changing

Beginning next school year, Greenwood will accept transfer students from other school districts.

When to apply

Beginning in February

The requirements

Under state law, schools who accept transfer students cannot stop a student from transferring for academic or attendance reasons. The only reason a school district can limit the number of transfer students is if a school is low on space — in that case, a lottery for transfer students must be conducted.

Why the change

Before closing its schools to transfers, Greenwood typically had 100 transfer students per year. If that number continues, that could mean more than $500,000 in revenue for the school district.

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