Chesterton Tribune

Schools relax policy on non-resident students

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By VICKI URBANIK

Non-resident students who attend a private school such as St. Patrickís or Fairhaven could be allowed to transfer to the Duneland Schools if they meet certain conditions, under a revised policy approved Monday by the Duneland School Board.

The new policy on non-residential students relaxes the one thatís been in place for more than a year at Duneland. Out of concern over school building capacity, Duneland imposed a freeze in the 2007-08 school year on accepting new transfer students, except those already enrolled or their siblings.

The school board reaffirmed that policy last summer in the wake of a new state law that shifted the entire operating costs for schools from local property taxpayers to the state. The shift in funding has been widely interpreted to mean that public schools can no longer charge tuition to non-resident students. Many schools, including a number in Porter County, have decided not to accept transfer students.

The revised policy adopted on first reading Monday upholds Dunelandís general policy of not accepting transfer students, except in the following situations: If they have attended an accredited non-public school located within the Duneland Schoolsí attendance boundaries for at least one academic year or if they are the children of Duneland employees who live outside the school district.

The transfer students would have to meet additional requirements as follow: Their enrollment in Duneland must be for educational reasons only; the students must be in good standing at their current or prior school; the students must be enrolled on or before the first day of the new school year and the students will be included in the schoolís official student count; parents or guardians must provide all transportation; the studentsí enrollment must not place an undue burden on Duneland in terms of class sizes or spatial capacity or the like; and no non-resident student shall be accepted for enrollment for athletic reasons.

The perception that public schools cannot charge tuition is not entirely accurate, according to Duneland Assistant Superintendent David Pruis who read a statement from Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents Executive Director John Ellis. He wrote that ongoing discussions among state legislators concerning the issue of transfer tuition students indicates that transfers ďare not intended to be free in all cases, as some have presumed.Ē

Transfer students enrolled on the official enrollment count day could be charged any difference between the state funding formula and the actual school expense. If any non-residential students are allowed to transfer after that enrollment count day, they could be charged full tuition.

Pruis said that Duneland has had a number of non-residential students who have attended a parochial school in the community, such as St. Patrickís, who later attended Chesterton High School on a cash tuition basis.

Itís not yet known how many students would be affected by the new policy, but Pruis noted that the school board needed to decide the new policy soon, in order to allow school officials to plan enrollment for the coming school year.

Personnel

With member John Marshall abstaining, the school board approved the hiring of the following teachers.

Kimberly Marshall will teach social studies at Chesterton Middle School. A CHS and Indiana University graduate, she is a first-year teacher and has done her student teaching at Ben Franklin in Valparaiso.

Daniel Caudle will also teach social studies at CMS. He is a Lake Central and Indiana State University graduate who has taught two years at Pierce Middle School in Merrillville.

Nancy Spencer will teach math at CHS. She comes to Duneland from West Irondequoit Central Schools in Rochester, NY and is a graduate of State University of New York.

Kim Miller will teach German at CHS. She is a Purdue graduate who has been employed with the East Porter County Schools.

Jennifer Killingbeck will teach English at CHS. A 1999 CHS grad, she has taught for two years at Gary Wirt.

Jennifer Ooms will teach English at CMS. A 2004 CHS grad, and a graduate of Indiana University Northwest, she has served as a substitute teacher and as a coach.

The school also accepted the resignation of JoAnn Davies as a Yost Title I aide and the retirement of CHS technology teacher James Cavallo.

NCA Honor

Also Monday, Westchester Middle School Principal Jim Ton and members of the Dunelandís North Central Association District Team presented a flag and plaque that the Duneland Schools received at a recent NCA convention in Chicago.

Duneland was honored for being only one of a very few school systems in Indiana that have achieved district-wide accreditation by the NCA, a school accreditation agency. The members of Dunelandís team joining Ton at the meeting were Bobbie Hall, Christine Bullock and Kevin Zeck.

Yost Program

The Duneland School Board meeting opened with a musical presentation from Yost Elementary fourth graders, led by music teacher Martha Kerney. The students performed part of their spring musical titled ďOne World, One Dream,Ē featuring drums and percussion instruments.

Roofing Bids

Also Monday, the school board approved bids for summer roofing projects at CMS and Westchester Intermediate School to the Gluth Brothers company.

The WIS project will involve a reroofing at a cost of $196,270, while the CMS project will not involve a tear-off but a coating system on the existing roof thatís guaranteed to last for 10 years. The CMS project will cost $187,998.

 

Posted 4/14/2009