No Child Left Behind and zoning issues in Pinellas
A lot of the debate over the possible re-assigning of out-of-zone students in Pinellas has centered on grandfathering under the old choice plan, but clearly there are many reasons why students end up in zoned schools that aren't their zoned schools. As readers have pointed out on the Gradebook, some are allowed to transfer away from their home schools because of No Child Left Behind rules.
If a Title I school repeatedly fails to meet federal requirements, then by law the district must offer students in that school the opportunity to transfer to a higher-performing school - and provide the transportation to get them there. Only a tiny percentage of parents who are offered that option take advantage of it, but collectively, 457 students were reassigned to other schools this year because of it, according to district data attached below.
A smaller number of students are transferring to schools outside their zones because of a change in a state program this year.
Under the Opportunity Scholarships program, districts must give parents the option to transfer their kids to higher-performing public schools if their home school earned a D or a F and fell into the most dire categories in the state's differentiated accountability system.
Six Pinellas schools fit that description this year, and 33 elementary school students used the program to transfer to schools outside of their zones. The school-by-school numbers are part of the attachment below.