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Superintendent seeks school board’s approval of two enrollment policies

By Bill ShortFlag City Logo

Millington’s school superintendent said this week that he will request the school board’s approval of two proposed policies regarding the enrollment and transfer of students.
Dr. David Roper told the board members Monday night during their regular monthly meeting that he is seeking “clarity” from Board Attorney Steve Shields regarding the “final legal aspects and process” of the policies.
Noting that Tennessee law requires each school district to adopt an Open Enrollment Policy, Roper called that “pretty straightforward.” It would involve the students who live inside the municipal school district, but who desire to attend a school other than the one to which they would normally be assigned.
He said that policy would be applicable to the E. A. Harrold and Millington Elementary schools, because there is only one middle and high school in the city.
Roper will also request an Out-of-District Enrollment Policy for the students who live outside of not just the corporate limits of Millington, but also outside the city’s Reserve Annexation Area.
“We’re working with the attorney on specific wording of that,” he noted. “And as soon as we’re ready to present a specific policy, we’ll bring it before the board.”
During the portion of the meeting designated for public comments, Matthew Sheppard of 4674 Tumblebrook Cove in the Waverly Farms subdivision asked the board members to consider a written statement he submitted, which Board Chairman Greg Ritter recited.
While acknowledging that the subdivision is outside of the “newly formed” district, Sheppard’s statement noted that he and many of his neighbors would “greatly prefer” to keep their children enrolled in Millington’s schools. But because many of them are unable to provide transportation, that raises the question of busing.
“I know that Millington is under no obligation to bus outside its district and, in fact, may be hard-pressed to do so,” Sheppard wrote. “But I believe there is something here to discuss.”
While citing the likelihood of a “net loss” in students enrolled “due to the transition,” his statement included the assumption that “a large number” of those will be Waverly residents.
It also expressed the residents’ belief that it is in their interest as well as the city’s to work together to “get some buses from Millington to Waverly.”
And along with the potential to “minimize the loss” of a large number of high school students, it also cited the “opportunity” for the city to significantly increase its middle school enrollment.
Sheppard’s statement noted that he has gathered the signatures of many of his neighbors who want to “work with” the municipal school district.
“Even though we are outside the city limits,” he wrote, “when asked where we live, we all say ‘Millington’ without hesitation. We shop here, socialize here, many of us work here and, most importantly, we wish to continue to have our kids educated here.”
In response to a question by Fred Bailey of 6964 Northknoll, Ritter said the board has not yet “decided anything” regarding Waverly Plantation or E. A. Harrold Elementary School.
“There have been some initial discussions,” he acknowledged. “But until we have solid numbers, we really can’t speculate on what we might do.”
Bailey asked whether the “current racial makeup” of Millington’s schools will be used to project its composition in the municipal district. Roper said the school system will not have “projected enrollment numbers” until it is able to determine how many students want to attend the city schools during the next academic year.
“We hope that information will be coming soon,” he noted. “But we’re still working on just the process of being able to request that information.”
Charlotte T. Smith of 3144 Bay View Drive in Memphis said she still has “concerns” about the students living in the unincorporated areas, such as Woodstock and Northaven. She recalled that, after examining the “application” on the city’s Web site, she e-mailed Roper “a couple of times” about tuition and transportation.
Roper said that application form has been removed from the Web site, and a new one will be developed from the Out-of-District Enrollment Policy. Households that have already filled out the previous form will then be asked to complete the new one.
Noting that a number of students living in the unincorporated areas currently attend Millington Middle and Millington Central High School, Smith asked whether they will be allowed to remain there. Ritter said that will be included in the policy that Roper is working on with the board’s attorney.
“So, we can’t answer that question until they get all the particulars lined out,” he concluded, “and they bring a proposal to the board.”

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February 2014
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