FBISD opens campuses to out-of-district students
Students drawn to the Fort Bend Independent School District’s academic reputation but who live outside its boundaries can now attend its schools.
The new district initiative was prompted by a projected $42 million state school funding cut over the next two years. The additional students in kindergarten through the 12th grade would generate additional state-allocated funding.
The policy change originated last year, when the district first started allowing employees who live outside the district to enroll their children in Fort Bend ISD schools.
District spokeswoman Nancy Porter said those employees enrolled 140 of their children in the district last school year, which generated about $724,280 in additional state funding, based on a $5,234-per-student formula.
The district expects the per-student allotment to drop by 6.8 percent for the 2011-12 school year, but it still hopes to generate $1 million from about 200 out-of-district students it expects will enroll at district schools.
“These are very conservative averages based upon an undetermined funding formula by the state,” she said.
Not all of the district’s campuses will be open to out-of-district students. Porter said five of the district’s 11 high schools, half of its 14 middle schools and 20 of the 45 elementary schools will be open for enrollment.
Included in those open for transfer students are ColonyBendElementary School, McAuliffeMiddle School and MarshallHigh School, half-empty campuses mulled for closure during the last round of school rezoning.
Not on the list is Clements High School, a campus that has an exemplary rating from the Texas Education Agency and that has been recognized for academic excellence by Texas Monthly, Newsweek and the Houston Press over the past 10 years.
Under the district policy, nonresident students are only admitted to campuses that have open seats and adequate teaching staff. The district will not provide transportation for them.
In addition, nonresident students applying for transfer to the district are examined against a set of criteria on academic performance, overall discipline history and attendance records before they are admitted, according to the policy.
Requirements include the passage of all core classes with a final grade of at least 70, as well as an attendance rate of at least 90 percent for all classes during the previous school year.
Students are also expected to have a good conduct history and cannot have been assigned to a district alternative education program.
“Our goal is to have at least 200 new students, and we hope that’s successful,” said trustee Jim Rice. “It will be good for the students and also for our district. This is something we will see more of when there is competition from charters schools, private schools and other school districts.”
Trustee Sonal Bhuchar says the policy change is a good idea.
“We have so much to offer in Fort Bend ISD,” she said.
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