Bill may stop transfers between school districts

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29 students enroll for preschool, kindergarten in Cannelton

CANNELTON – Cannelton Schools Superintendent Al Sibbitt reported at a regular school-board meeting April 18 that 15 students had enrolled the day before in 2013-14 preschool classes and 14 were signed up for kindergarten. 

He anticipated additional students will enroll in both programs at the beginning of the year, he said in a written memo to board members, and estimated each level will have 18 to 20 students.

“There could be more,” he said, explaining he talked earlier that day to the superintendent of another school corporation whose son is state Rep. Terry Goodin (D-Austin), who informed him of a bill under consideration in the state General Assembly that may bring an end to buses traveling across district lines to pick up students. The News reported in July 2008 a requirement to pay tuition if a student attends a school outside the district in which he or she lives would be deleted from the law. State funding would “follow” students who change schools, and a receiving school would have to agree to any transfers after the change, which a lawyer attending a Cannelton School board meeting then called “a move toward open enrollment.” 

Sibbitt announced in a letter to the editor a year ago his district would begin collecting students in other districts this year, and bought a bus for that purpose.

House Bill 1381 includes the language, “A school corporation may not provide transportation for a student who transfers under this section outside (its) attendance area.” Introduced by Rep. Mike Karickhoff (R-Kokomo), the bill contains other proposals concerning transfer students and was approved by the House and referred to the Senate Feb. 20. The Senate approved it with amendments and returned it to the House April 10. The House dissented from the amendments, and the bill went to a conference committee April 15.

The full text of the bill and its status may be viewed at www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/bill watch/billinfo.

If the bill becomes law, “I would look for a significant increase,” Sibbitt said. “I think right now we probably have approximately 60 students that are being transported to Tell City and Perry Central that reside in our school corporation.” 

He noted bills don’t always make it through the legislative process.

“We’ll see what happens,” he added.