Transfer Public School Districts

Information that you need to transfer public school districts with your child.

Many people choose their location by the school district, but other people are not so fortunate. Long commutes, job changes, or redistricting are all reasons that your child could end up in a school district that is not your first choice. Many parents, when they find themselves in such a situation, panic. No one likes to feel trapped, but by maintaining a cool head, a professional demeanor, and maybe a little stubborn resolve, you should be able to find a workable solution. The main thing to remember when you attempt to transfer your child is that you should not take the situation personally and by doing so, not encouraging the school's administrators where you wish to leave from taking the situation personally as well.

The first step is to decide if you want your child out of the school district, or just out of the school he is currently in. If there is a problem at his home school, with a teacher, overcrowding, etc., that you feel could be dealt with by moving to a different school within the district, then your job just got a lot easier. Normally, to transfer to a new school within the same district you contact the principal at the school that you wish for your child to attend. If you receive the go-ahead, contact the principal at your child's current school and make arrangements for a transfer. This process is usually straightforward, although if the school that you wish to transfer your child to is overcrowded, you may not receive permission.

If you do wish to transfer into a different school district, you must approach the superintendent of schools from the district to which you want to transfer your child. This can be a trickier issue, just due to the way that the public funding of schools works. Since a great portion of most school's funding comes from property tax collection, you may find that one county may be reluctant to take on additional children whose parents live "out of district". Of course, this does make sense, but do not let it deter you. Even if you receive an initial no, do not give up. In your initial letter, detail the exact reasons why you wish to switch districts. Whether it is to take advantage of a program not offered in a home school, or difficult transportation issues due to a parent's work, an honest, well thought out letter is your best bet.

If you hit a brick wall, it is time to move up the chain of command. If the county superintendent is unwilling, you can request to speak before the county Board of Education. If they are not swayed by your argument, the next step is to head to the state's Board of Education. Do not let this intimidate you, you may actually be able to contact the state Board of Education by e-mail, correspond with the necessary people, and never have to stand in front of the board at a public meeting. All along the process, document every conversation, e-mail and letter sent. This documentation is necessary not only to keep track of the steps that you have taken, but is also helpful to prompt your memory about facts that may slip your mind as you go through this process. Hopefully the process will go smoothly, but by being prepared, rational, and not coming across as a fanatical parent, you stand a much better chance of success.

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