Inter-district school transfers nothing new for Tampa Bay area schools
While there's been much ado about the statewide open enrollment provisions of Florida's newest education law, school district leaders in the Tampa Bay area have greeted that part of the giant bill with a stifled yawn.
Districts in the region have allowed children to border hop into schools with vacant seats for decades. We wrote about how dozens of families in the Wesley Chapel-New Tampa area liberally used the agreements to attend what they considered their true neighborhood schools back in 2007.
It's been a relatively simple process. A family wins approval from the receiving School Board to enroll in its school, and gets a form from its home School Board signaling it's okay to leave.
The Pasco County School Board, for instance, routinely rubber stamps these requests monthly without comment. This academic year, 1,935 children have transferred from Pasco into neighboring counties, while 419 students have entered Pasco from outside its county lines.
Almost all the children living in one eastern Hillsborough County neighborhood have for years attended a Polk County school instead of their county school. Every year, the two districts simply renew their service agreement.
This ease of movement is not, of course, happening everywhere in Florida. We've heard talk of rural counties near Leon refusing to let children transfer into schools in the capital city, for example. The Orlando Sentinel noted that most central Florida school districts do not provide for transfers across county lines.
Around here, though, the concept is taken for granted. The big deal is expected to be setting common rules to avoid parental confusion.