The Duneland School
Board is planning to re-evaluate its policy of accepting transfer students
from outside the district at its annual retreat later this summer.
At their meeting
Monday night, members appeared unwilling or unprepared to discuss the
transfer policy in any detail publicly, following Assistant Superintendent
Monte Moffett’s report on the number of incoming and outgoing transfer
students in the 2017-18 academic year.
The Average Daily
Membership (ADM) of the Duneland School Corporation in 2018: 5,840 students.
Of those, 272 were incoming, who provided $1,538,976 in additional tuition
support, at $5,658 per student in state funding. The loss of 434 transfer
students, on the other hand, resulted in a loss of $2,455,572, Moffett
reported, for a net loss of $916,596.
estimated that, while Duneland taxpayers are contributing approximately
$1,333 per student to the Capital Projects Fund, the 272 transfer students
from outside the district whose parents are not Duneland taxpayers
represent a total revenue loss of $362,576.
Moffett added that
318 transfer students are expected to enroll in the Duneland Schools for the
2018-19 academic year, generating $1,799,244 in additional tuition support.
Of those 318, 16 are the children of Duneland Schools employees.
report, President John Marshall spoke only generally about the transfer
policy and noted that the board will discuss it in depth at its retreat. “We
are never going to make a long-term commitment to transfer students,” he did
say, however. “We’ll look at it from year to year. There are very mixed
feelings on the board. There are positives and negatives about the transfer
Then, when Member
Ron Stone, an opponent of the transfer policy, indicated his willingness to
have the discussion right then and there, Marshall suggested that he wait
until the retreat. “You’ll have your opportunity,” he said.
Stone did say that,
at the moment, the Valparaiso and Portage school districts, currently closed
to transfers, are right now losing students to the Duneland Schools. If they
were to open their schools to transfers, though, it would be a
Kroft noted that, prior to any action by the board, members of the public
will have the chance to comment on the transfer policy.
After the meeting,
Stone told the Chesterton Tribune that, should the board take action
to rescind the transfer policy, all transfer students currently enrolled in
the Duneland Schools would be grandfathered in, as would be their siblings,
so that the program would unwind gradually over a period of years. Stone
added that he’s in favor of accepting the children of employees who live
outside the district “regardless of whether the Duneland School Corporation
is open or closed.”
Stone cited three
reasons for his opposition to the transfer policy. For one thing, he said,
it increases class sizes. “I think we should take care of our own students.”
For another, the
parents of transfer students aren’t paying property taxes in Duneland but
their children “use our resources,” Stone said.
service isn’t provided to transfer students, which has the effect of
increasing the drop-off and pickup lines at schools. “An extra 318 students
mean an extra 200 cars,” Stone suggested.