Tip Sheet on Inter-County Student Transfers

January 3, 2018Legal Alerts

Parents seeking to enroll their children in schools located in another county are required to comply with the statutory requirements of W. Va. Code 18-5-16(b) and WVDE Policy 7212.

Step One: The parent must first obtain the consent of the sending county board and the receiving county board. The WVDE in the past has recommended parents make the requests to the sending and receiving counties at the same time.

Step Two: The sending county must approve the request.

Step Three: The receiving county must approve the request (contingent upon the sending county’s approval if approved prior to the sending county’s approval).

What if the request is denied? If the sending county or receiving county denies the request, the county shall inform the parent of the right to appeal to the state superintendent within 30 days.

May a county make a policy decision to deny all transfers without considering individual circumstances? No.

What factors should the sending county and/or receiving county consider when looking at the request?

- whether the bus ride in the county of residence exceeds recommended times;

- whether the student has some legitimate connection with the receiving school, such as a sibling attending;

- whether there is some type of serious health issue the receiving county is better equipped to handle, such as the student’s doctor practicing near the receiving school;

- the aggregate loss of funding the sending county has suffered through these transfers;

- the difficulty of passing excess levy because parents with children attending school in the other counties are not invested in their county of residence;

- will acceptance cause the teacher/pupil ratio to be exceeded;

- does the student have special needs that cannot be accommodated at the school sought.

Does a receiving county have an obligation to provide an education to the transferring student indefinitely? Some counties have a policy that a transfer must be renewed annually, but neither statute nor WVDE policy addresses this question. As the WVDE has indicated, the “county should think carefully before agreeing to accept an out of county student.” Further, “to avoid any confusion, counties are strongly encouraged to clarify the issue by enacting a formal policy and/or placing any limiting language on the face of its transfer application.”

What happens if after the two county boards have agreed to the transfer, the student chooses to return to a school in his or her county of residence after the second month? The county of residence may issue an invoice to the county from which the student transferred for the amount, determined on a pro rata basis, that the county of residence otherwise would have received under the state basic foundation program. The county from which the student transferred shall reimburse the county of residence for the amount of the invoice.

If you have questions about student transfers, please contact the author or your usual Dinsmore attorney.