2 school districts restrict transfers

By ERIC STEVICK

Herald Writer

At least two Snohomish County school districts will close doors at some campuses to students who want to transfer between schools within the districts next year.

Two high schools and two elementaries in the Edmonds School District won’t accept new transfers, while seven of 10 of Marysville School District’s elementaries are likely to do the same.

In the Edmonds School District, where enrollment has leveled off in recent years, the limits are aimed at providing instruction that more closely matches the ideal space capacities of each school.

Edmonds has traditionally been an open-enrollment district where students can attend schools outside their neighborhood on a space-available basis. The district recently began defining exactly what "space available" means at each school, placing an emphasis on ensuring quality instructional space.

Edmonds-Woodway and Mountlake Terrace high schools, along with Seaview and College Place elementaries, have been closed to new transfers for next year.

The decision won’t affect students who have been approved for transfers from previous years. However, attendance at a district school does not guarantee that the student will move on to attend a middle or high school in the same service area.

"We are putting some parameters around the in-district transfer," said Marla Miller, the district’s director of business, support and technology. "We will still encourage it as long as there is room in the school."

District officials also provide a warning to families considering in-district transfers: Once a transfer is approved, space will not be held at the releasing school.

The International Baccalaureate Program at Edmonds-Woodway High, Madrona Nongraded K-8, Maplewood Co-op and Cyberschool are district programs of choice that are accepting applications for the 2001-2002 school year. Applications will be available Jan. 3 at school offices and are due by Feb. 9 for high schools and March 2 for middle schools.

In Marysville, the in-district transfer limits are more a reaction to growing enrollment.

"It’s pretty safe to say that there are really only a handful of schools that are going to have some space for in-district transfers," said Mary Fears, spokeswoman for the Marysville School District.

Elementary schools expected to have some room for in-district transfer students next year are Liberty, Shoultes and Tulalip. Pinewood could take additional kindergarten students only.

Students who have previously approved transfers would not be affected.

"The flexibility is gone," Fears said. "Our whole secondary system is just as tight as it can be, and now it’s coming down into our elementary school levels."

The open enrollment period in Marysville is from Jan. 3 to Feb. 15.

Choice programs, such as the Tulalip Heritage School, 10th Street School and the Marysville Parent Co-op, will continue to accept applications.

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