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Of 6,000 Eligible, Just 15 Opt to Transfer

Few families offered transfers out of Clark County's low-achieving schools have taken advantage of the offer, Clark County School District officials say.

Only 15 transfers to more successful campuses were requested out of the 6,000 letters that went out to families with children at low-achieving schools.

"We weren't expecting many (to transfer), but this was even lower than we anticipated," said Mark Lange, director of Title I compliance for the district.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the district must provide transfers to students at Title I schools that fail to show "adequate yearly progress" for two or more consecutive years. Title I schools receive extra federal funding because they serve high populations of low-income students.

Six year-round elementary schools in the Clark County School District -- Cambiero, Craig, Herron, Lunt, Park and Tom Williams -- were identified in November as failing to show adequate yearly progress. As required by law the district notified parents and gave them a choice of two alternate schools that had not been found to need improvement by the Nevada Education Department.

When classes resume Monday, the 15 students -- six from Craig, five from Williams and four from Herron -- will begin attending their new schools. Students from Craig will go to Ernest May, Williams students to Glen Taylor in Henderson and Herron students to Priest.

The district is currently providing transfers to students at 18 schools and has another 30 Title I campuses on the Nevada Education Department's "watch list" because of low test scores. If scores do not improve next year, the district will have to provide transfers out of those schools, as well.

As the district's list of campuses "needing improvement" grows, the potential pool of schools that can accept transfers shrinks, Lange said. District officials struggled to find campuses that were both high-achieving and had open seats this year. For students opting to transfer from Williams, the nearest campuses that met the conditions were both in Henderson -- at least a 30-minute car ride away.

The distance likely played some part in the low number of students opting for transfers, Lange said. While the district pays for transportation to and from school, parents who rely on public transportation may find it difficult to pick up a sick child during the day or attend after-hour events, Lange said.

"It's understandable that parents don't want their elementary school kids across town, they want them nearby," Lange said. "Parents don't want to give up the convenience of the neighborhood school."

The district is required to set aside 20 percent of its total Title I funding to pay for school choice.

This is the last time that parents will be notified during the school year of the transfer option. A new testing schedule begins this spring that will give districts results earlier and parents will be notified prior to the start of the 2004-05 academic year if their child's Title I school has been identified as low-performing, Lange said.

— Emily Richmond
Just 15 transfers sought from failing schools
Las Vegas Sun


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