Keller schools are accepting out-of-district transfer students as the district moves to become more accommodating to families amidst tougher competition.
Trustees approved the change at the Aug. 13 board meeting. The policy allows the superintendent to review and approve such transfers on a case-by-case basis, with the requirement that space be available at the requested campus.
“We had about a dozen students that were sitting in the chute with their paperwork ready to go, if the measure was approved,” said Superintendent Randy Reid.
The district has a long-held practice of taking out-of-district students who are the children of employees. This year marked the first time that out-of-district students beyond that group were allowed.
Dustin Blank, executive director of leadership, said that the requests that were familiar to him were from families who had moved out of the district but wished for their children to continue to attend the same school.
Blank said that administrators began discussing the possible change after surrounding districts began opening their borders to KISD students. Both Carroll and Grapevine-Colleyville recently began accepting out-of-district students if they reside in Southlake, for Carroll, and Colleyville or Grapevine for GCISD.
Birdville has long had an open transfer policy.
Competition from other districts, charter schools, private schools and online options has led to an easier transfer process inside the district, too.
Blank said, “We’ve moved away from only allowing transfers for hardship reasons to be more customer friendly.”
In the fast-growth years of the mid-2000s, officials came up with lists of buildings that were closed to transfers. Those lists often included more than a dozen campuses. For a number of years, just two middle schools and one high school would accept transfers. In some years, a lottery system was in place. Parents would file their paperwork at a certain time on a certain day to try to get a spot.
Now the process is much easier. Students can transfer within the district to any campus at that level where space is available. Once a student is assigned to a new building, he or she can remain there until completing all grades offered. In the past, families had to apply every year.
Blank said that in the past, about 700 students have requested transfers, but that number has gone down since they no longer have to file every year.