Trustees change LHISD transfer policy

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

Liberty Hill ISD has had a policy of welcoming transfer students to the district, and while there is no intention of changing that welcoming approach, Superintendent Steve Snell said the transfer program is going to be tightened up going forward.

“We had a lengthy and healthy conversation on transfers,” Snell said of Monday’s School Board meeting. “We have gotten to a situation with our current enrollment and projected enrollment that will require us to adjust our policy on transfers based on the space available at our campuses. Liberty Hill ISD will continue to allow students currently attending Liberty Hill ISD to reapply for consideration, but at this time the district will not be allowing any new transfers”

In addition, the district will strictly enforce proof of residence to ensure all students attending Liberty Hill ISD either live within the district borders or properly enroll through the transfer process. Since the window to apply for a transfer is currently closed, the district will reopen the transfer window to allow one week of amnesty to current students to update their address and apply for a transfer.

Snell said the transfer window will reopen now through the end of May to give amnesty to current students in LHISD who may need to update their current address and complete a transfer application if they wish to have an opportunity to continue to attend school in Liberty Hill.

“With the change in policy, it is important to me and the Board of Trustees that the new policy is communicated and all current students are given a short window to correct their address and have an opportunity to apply for a transfer. This applies to students who may have moved out of the district and are still attending or students who were previous transfers into the district that may have missed the window.

“Our current transfer window is closed and we’ve had some people who have missed the deadline that would like an opportunity to come again,” he said. “Then we have some students who have forgotten to update the address so they no longer live in the district and they’re not on our transfer list.”

Moving forward, the transfer program will be more closely scrutinized and monitored to help manage growth.

“We’re going to get a lot more strict on proof of residence and verifying residence to make sure the kids in our schools are either current residents or have officially gone through the transfer process,” he said. “We understand that transfer students bring value and enhance our school district, but our first priority is to the students who live in our district and our community that pays school taxes to LHISD.

“With the fast growth in our school district, limited space, and resources, plus very high expectations for academics, character, and extra-curricular activities, it is time for Liberty Hill to take this step at this time for the betterment of our school district.” Snell said. “We have a great district and one that is desirable to families, I want everyone who transfers into this district to understand that it is a privilege to attend Liberty Hill and they will be held to a high standard of academics, behavior, and attendance. Transfer students who fall short of these expectations will not be considered for a transfer in the future and might have their transfer revoked.”

While no other new students were being allowed to apply at this time, Snell said that was subject to change in the future based on funding issues, enrollment numbers, and available space.

“We have had some students with us for many, many years, and are part of the Liberty Hill family and we need to work with them to give them an opportunity to continue, and more time to get everything straight rather than pulling the rug out from under them right now,” Snell said.

Snell also mentioned that it is a misdemeanor crime to falsify address information and that any student found to intentionally use a false address during the registration process will be unenrolled and be ineligible for any future transfers.

“We are giving a one-week amnesty window because we value honesty. This is a chance for non-residence students and families to come clean. There will be zero tolerance for dishonesty,” he said.

The district plans to hire attendance officers to verify student residency as well.

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