Katy ISD trustees to vote on change to student transfer policy during March 26 meeting

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The Katy ISD board of trustees will vote on a proposed change to a board policy regarding admissions for intra-district transfers for children of KISD teachers at its next meeting Monday, March 26.

The original policy allows employees who reside outside the district to transfer their children to the district only if they were an employee prior to the year 1996. Changes to the policy would strike this requirement and allow any permanent full-time KISD employee to apply for transfer for their children if they reside outside the district.

Trustees discussed changes to the policy at the March 19 work study meeting. KISD Superintendent Lance Hindt said the policy changes were originally going to be pushed back another year, but the district’s switch to a multi-bell schedule that was passed at the last board meeting served as an incentive to change the policy.

Trustees said the change in the bell schedule will affect everyone at the district, and allowing teachers to transfer their children to schools located near them should help with the adjustment period.

“Certainly, with the new multi-bell schedule, that would definitely be beneficial to our teachers who don’t live in the district to have that option,” Trustee Courtney Doyle said. “Regardless of the bell schedule, I think any parent that is traveling and then has the option to bring their kid and have them closer is really a great benefit to our teachers, so I am happy we are taking a look at this.”

Trustee George Scott echoed Doyle’s sentiments.

“It is so important the administration is making every possible avenue to make this as smooth a transition as possible for our teachers,” Scott said. “I think this is a very important move and message to school teachers.”

Prior to spring break, a survey on the policy change to strike the 1996 requirement was delivered to 2,622 employees who reside outside of the district. Preliminary results of 900 responses indicated that 73 percent of respondents were extremely interested in changing the policy and 13 percent were somewhat interested.

“That’s a pretty high number of responses that are interested in a change to that policy,” Deputy Superintendent Ken Gregorski said. “Of those with children—528 responses—97 percent of those responses indicated they would bring their child to KISD if that option existed.”

Potential financial effects
Hindt said he sees the change as a potential financial gain for the district, considering KISD receives a basic allotment of $5,040 for every student. But Trustee Rebecca Fox raised concerns over the potential effects another 500 students would add to the district.

“As we have bond elections and as taxpayers spend money toward our buildings, this is more bottoms in more seats and that’s where the wrestle was every time,” Fox said. “We are overcrowded and growing rapidly…I am looking forward to more information on the patterns [from the survey results.]”

Another change to the policy includes adding language about revocation, or cancellation, of transfers. Transfer students would be allowed to finish the grading period if their parent left the district, but after finishing would be required to return to their home district.

Trustees will vote on the changes to the policy after reviewing completed survey results at the March 26 meeting.

Other takeaways from the work study include:
During the meeting, trustees approved a purchase for 157 acres of land to build a new $6 million junior high and high school combined campus. Trustees also announced Amy Campbell as the proposed name for the new Elementary School No. 41. The site is located north of FM 529, but an exact location cannot be provided until the contract is signed, according to district officials.

Other agenda items discussed at the work study that will be up for approval at the March 26 meeting include a contract to replace carpeting and flooring throughout Morton Ranch High School, a contract to purchase nine portable replacement buildings, a proposal for the construction of Elementary School No. 42-which would be designed similar to Catherine Bethke Elementary School-and an updated staffing plan.

Trustees will vote on all of the items at the next meeting, 5:30 p.m. March 26 at the KISD Education Support Complex, 6301 S. Stadium Lane, Katy. http://www.katyisd.org/

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Rebecca Hennes
Born and raised in west Houston, Rebecca joined Community Impact in June 2017 after graduating from the Honors College at the University of Houston. She serves as the Katy editor covering Fort Bend and Harris counties, government, education, business and transportation.
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