Transfer policy changes displaces 200 students

NESHOBA COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - A change in Neshoba Central School District's transfer policy was approved. Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, only seniors will be allowed to transfer under the current policy. In 2019-2020 school year, no transfers will be allowed.

"They decided that they know best and they want to take our children," says parent John Goul whose child attends Union Public Schools.

Some parents are outraged about Neshoba School District's new transfer policy change because the school board said three years ago, they would let current students, that live in the district, stay at the schools they're at until graduation.

"My son is in the ninth grade," says David Traywick, parent, whose child attends Union Public Schools. "By their mercy, they're going to allow him to stay there one more year but then in his 11th grade year he is going to report to Neshoba Central."

Around 200 students in Neshoba's School District attend Union and Sebastapol schools, but now that's no longer an option. They have 15 months to make the transition to Neshoba Central.

"The wants of 200 students can't outweigh the needs of 3200 students," says Shan Winstead, Neshoba School Board member.

The school receives about $5,000 a year from the state per child who attends Neshoba Central.

"They're looking at over $1.5 million of instant revenue from the state [if 200 students are transferred]. They think this is the cure for their spending issues," says Goul.

That refers to Neshoba Central's original plans for a new building, cafeteria and football stadium.

"The school is not over budget," says Winstead.

But it doesn't include a cafeteria.

"They think moving our children up here will build them a new cafeteria and a covered walkway to the old cafeteria," says Johnnie Bradley, parent, whose children attend Union Public Schools.

The school board doesn't disagree but it's either moving transfer students or raising taxes to fund needs in the district.

"At the end of the day it pays your bills," says Winstead. "It gets you out of a deficit and it helps your school move forward."

"It's almost like blood money," says Traywick. "To take a child out of their norm after three years ago telling them they'd be able to stay in that school and graduate."

The only transfers allowed under state law will be if a parent works in another school district or if a student must ride a bus 30 or more miles to or from school.