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Students mostly not transferring
Only 3 changing schools by using new state law

COVINGTON - Three students in the Newton County School System will attend a school other than their assigned school after their parents took advantage of a new state law.

Under the Quality Basic Education Act, that went into effect this year, parents were able to request to transfer their students to another school in their assigned district under certain circumstances.

Earlier this summer, school systems across Georgia announced that parents had until a certain date to request the transfer to a select number of schools that districts deemed appropriate.

In Newton County, parents had until July 16 to request a transfer to 31 open slots at three Newton County public schools. Those openings included five slots at Middle Ridge Elementary School in fourth grade, nine slots at Oak Hill Elementary School in fourth grade and 17 slots at Porterdale Elementary School - five each in kindergarten and first grade, one in third grade and six in fourth grade.

Slots were not available at other schools due to projected enrollment and the fact that the QBEA does not apply to charter schools or to schools less than four years old.

School officials said NCSS received 13 requests for transfers under the law this year.

Of those, NCSS approved three - two fourth-grade slots at Middle Ridge Elementary and one third-grade slot at Porterdale Elementary.

"The 10 that were denied were due to selecting either a grade level or school that was not eligible," said Sherri Viniard, director of public relations at NCSS. "One was due to the parent not providing any information on which school or grade they wanted to transfer to."

Under the new law, eligible students were allowed to attend a non-assigned school, but parents and guardians are responsible for the transportation of the child to and from that new school.

Viniard said all of the parents or guardians were notified of the selection before the school year began.

Parents who wish for their students to be transferred to another school won't be able to request a transfer under the QBEA until the open time slot next school year.

In Newton County, more students will transfer under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Parents had until last week to request a transfer of their students from schools on the state's Needs Improvement list as a result of not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress for two or more years in a row. NCSS has not yet released the final transfer numbers.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.