Archive for Thursday, March 18, 2010

District looks to change out-of-district student policy

March 18, 2010

Editor’s note: This article is in recognition of Sunshine Week, which is March 14 through March 20.

The Basehor-Linwood School District is in the midst of changing its out-of-district attendance policy to account for special circumstances, but if state education budget cuts continue, further changes might be necessary.

At the February Basehor-Linwood Board of Education meeting, Superintendent David Howard presented an amended policy for attendance outside the district, saying he wanted to make exceptions for students with extraordinary circumstances.

Enrollment and attendance records show the district currently has 28 students attending Basehor-Linwood schools while living outside the district.

The breakdown of the 28 students is as follows:

• Eight non-resident students are children of district employees.

• Nine non-resident students have a custody agreement for educational purposes.

• Four non-resident students attend Basehor-Linwood High School under the grandfather clause, completing their sophomore year of high school.

• One non-resident student attends on the basis of a contract on a home or building a home.

• Four non-resident students are homeless.

• One non-resident student moved mid-year.

• One nonresident student is dually enrolled in the Basehor-Linwood Virtual School.

The policy currently allows students to attend school in Basehor-Linwood if their parents work in the district, they have completed their sophomore year of high school, if someone other than their parents is their legal guardian, if they are homeless, or if a contract is in place for building a house inside the district. To demonstrate a special circumstance the district would allow under the amended policy, Howard used the example of two siblings, one a freshman and one a junior, whose parents divorce. If the students have to move away from the district to live with one parent, the freshman child would not be allowed to attend school in the same district as the junior.

The 28 non-resident students represent approximately 1 percent of the total student population in the district. The total enrollment numbers this year, not including those students enrolled in the virtual school, is 1,872. Including the virtual school, the total enrollment is 2,247.

During the March board of education meeting, Howard updated the board on the district’s stance with respect to statewide public education cuts, which might later affect the attendance policy. Basehor-Linwood’s base state aid per pupil has been reduced from $4,433 to $4,012 since the start of its 2009-2010 budget discussions, Howard said, and Gov. Mark Parkinson’s cuts have reduced the district’s funding by about $1 million. If the district sustained further cuts, Howard said the out-of-district attendance policy might be an item up for amendment.

“If the budget were to be cut much more, everything would be back on the table,” Howard said. “One of those things would be loosening our out-of-district attendance policy.”

The current changes to the policy are being considered for a second reading by the board and will be voted on during its April meeting.

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