By Karen Billing
The Del Mar Union School District Board of Trustees approved a change Feb. 16 to its intradistrict transfer policy, allowing students to become residents of their school once they have been transferred in.
Per the new policy, district staff will make every attempt to make intradistrict transfer decisions that are in the best interest of students and their families, and approved transfers shall be effective until the student graduates or is promoted from the school.
“It will be evolving because I know we can get better,” said district superintendent James Peabody of the policy. “I learned this summer how we can alleviate a lot of anxiety. Our goal was to makes sure no family has to have any anxiety as we roll this out and if we get a balance at the schools out of it then that’s wonderful too.”
He said it’s really an effort to keep children where they belong.
“If this is a step toward stability then I think it’s a step forward,” said trustee Doug Rafner.
Problems really arose at the beginning of the school year when some sixth grade students were transferred out of the school they had been attending. Ashley Falls parent J.Z. Keegan said the resulting solution of putting children on the “chopping block” was never in the best interest of the district.
“So many families in our district are personally impacted by this,” said Keegan. “I believe personally this important amendment is just the tip of the iceberg on the change that needs to come forth in this district.”
Del Mar Hills parent Mara Bickett said the previously “flawed” policy left families feeling very vulnerable. With the change, it stresses the importance of not displacing children, keeping families and friends together, and additionally helping out the smaller campuses such as Del Mar Hills.
Parents also complained about the late notice they were given on their children’s school.
“Finding out the fate of your child three days before school starts has to come to an end,” Keegan said.
Peabody said that it was a very strange year for the district last year as 285 students joined the district over the summer.
“It added to the turmoil for this year but that’s not an excuse for why we didn’t do a good job,” Peabody said. “We will get a whole lot better.”