Agreement reached in Newton County transfer policy

NEWTON COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - Parents in the Newton County School District have reached an agreement with the school board to allow transfer students to attend Scott County Schools.

With a population of less than 300 people, Sebastopol is geographically unique.

"In less than 60 seconds you can be in four different counties: Scott, Leake, Neshoba and Newton," says Scott County School Board member, Ben Byram.

Sebastopol is technically in Scott County but many students from surrounding counties attend Sebastopol because it's closer.

But when the 2018-2019 school year begins, students who live in Newton County will have to attend Newton County Schools.

"This is home to them," says Byram. "It has always been home and this is where they've always went to school. It's really punishing the kids more than anything."

The Newton County School Board originally said the transfer policy would be revoked starting in August for the upcoming school year, but the Scott County School Board and members of 'Concerned Citizens Against Consolidation' reached an agreement.

"After the 2017-2018 school year, any student graduating in 2019, 2020 or 2021 can continue to come to Scott County," says Byram.

The siblings of those students will also be able to attend until those upperclassmen graduate. We wanted to ask the Newton County School Board why the transfer policy is changing now, but school officials did not return our phone calls

"They needed the money, I assume," says Byram.

Regardless of the district's reasoning, under state law each county has the right to make students living inside county lines attend their school.

"Unless it's over a 30-mile bus route then by state law you can get a transfer," says Byram.