More than 1,000 Beaufort County students have asked to move from one school to another, district officials say.
Friday was the last day for families to submit requests to the Beaufort County School District to allow students to move to schools outside their attendance zones. Student services chief Cynthia Hayes said her office has just started to process the requests, and it likely will be about another month before students find out if their requests are granted.
Transfers to other schools for specific academic programs were re-opened after being closed for the 2011-12 school year over concerns that families were "cherry-picking" which schools their children attended.
The Beaufort County Board of Education voted in January to re-open transfers to special programs, which include arts-infused or science- and math-focused curriculum. The transfers are open through 2015 in an effort to boost student population at seven under-enrolled schools. Superintendent Valerie Truesdale has said the goal is to bring enrollment to about 75 to 89 percent of each building's capacity.
Transfers are allowed for other reasons, such as a student's health. Transfers also are allowed if the student is of a race that is in the majority at their current school but a minority in the school to which they seek a transfer.
Hayes said the district has received at least 1,000 requests this year, and expects more to trickle in through the mail or from front offices at schools.
That number is in line with years past, she said. She estimated that 1,200 or 1,300 requests were received for the 2011-12 school year, when transfers for special academic programs weren't allowed.
The district received about 1,500 for the 2010-11 school year. More than 500 of those were for special academic programs.
Students who have transferred schools in the past have to re-apply every year, she said. Since the applications haven't been processed yet, it's hard to say if there were any schools or programs that were more popular than others, she said.
A new military science program at Robert Smalls Middle School has generated some interest, school district spokesman Jim Foster said. Parents began calling for more information about the program before it was even approved in March, he said.
Hayes said the transfers would be fulfilled on a first-come, first-serve basis, except for magnet programs that have academic and behavioral requirements, along with student and parent interviews.
- Beaufort County school board OK's transfers to special programs at seven schools; Jan. 6, 2012
- AMES programs aim to challenge across genders, race; Jan. 30, 2012
- Montessori program at Beaufort Elementary to double in size next year; Feb. 6, 2012
- Military science program planned for Robert Smalls Middle; March 12, 2012