Archive for Wednesday, February 12, 2003

New education bill means adjustments for school district

February 12, 2003

Educators said the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act -- a lengthy, exhaustive, complicated new bill -- will cause numerous changes to existing school district procedures.

"A number of policy changes will need (implemented) over the next few years as result of the No Child Left Behind Act," Basehor-Linwood School District superintendent Cal Cormack said.

The No Child Left Behind Act is a re-authorized, reformed version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

The bill places tougher expectations on teachers and schools for better student performance.

During the Basehor-Linwood School Board meeting Monday, Feb. 10, school officials were updated on a section of the bill, which deals with student and school safety.

Under the section, schools that have high violence rates for three consecutive years would be declared unsafe. Criteria includes:

  • One or more students expelled as result of violating the federal gun-free schools law.
  • Having a violence expulsion rate of at least 2 percent of the overall student population for violent felonious crimes.
  • If at least 2 percent of the student body exercise the unsafe school option, which gives students a right to transfer to a safer school if theirs is deemed unsafe.

If a school is deemed unsafe, students have the option to transfer to another public school.

Basehor-Linwood School District director of building operations Don Swartz said the school district is nowhere near reaching unsafe levels outlined in the section.

"I'm happy to say, right now, that has no effect on our district," Swartz said.

"We've not had an expulsion for any of those things ever, or in my 17 years here," he added.

But where the section could impact the school district is if students outside the school district attending unsafe schools choose to transfer to Basehor-Linwood.

"(They) don't have to go anywhere, but the law says it has to be offered within 10 days (of that school being declared unsafe)," Swartz said.

The Basehor-Linwood School District has never had a student transfer to another school because of violence, school officials said.

School officials said they would continue to monitor the No Child Left Behind Act and study its impacts at future meetings.

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