Fort Bend ISD opens admission to out-of-district students

June 28, 2011 5:29:17 PM PDT
School districts across Texas are dealing with budget crunches. In our area, the Fort Bend Independent School District has decided the solution includes more students.

The district says they have class available at some campuses that they will open up this fall to out-of-districts students. Of the district's 11 high schools, five will be open.

There will be even more opportunities at middle schools for out-of-districts students with 7 of its 14 open. And there are even more elementary campuses allowing the out-of-district transfer with 20 of 45 campuses opening up.

Fort Bend ISD hopes this translates to a new revenue stream during a budget crunch.

When many Fort Bend ISD school doors open up for the upcoming school year, it will be a fresh start for dozens of students who could not previously attend -- out-of-district students.

Some Fort Bend parents applaud affording that kind of opportunity, but want standards in place.

"Sometimes you don't always get the best kids from other districts who come in. Sometimes there are kids who might had discipline issues from other campuses who want a new fresh start; great, but I hope they stick to their guns on the procedures," parent Heather Hahn said.

Fort Bend ISD is projecting a $27 million budget shortfall for the upcoming school year. Their hope is out-of-district students will be a new revenue stream for the cash-strapped district.

A state formula allots the district more than $5,200 per student in state funding. Bringing in 200 more students could mean more than a million dollars. And parents hope that means less layoffs.

"Hopefully, that will avoid laying off teachers and increasing class sizes because by laying off teachers, your class sizes are going to end up between 40 and 45 kids in a class and they are just not going to be able to learn like that," parent Adrienne Wood said.

As for admission standards, Superintendant Tim Jenney says they are already set in the application process.

"We will look at special needs involved with the student. We look at their performance in the past, disciplinary activity -- things of that nature," Jenney said.

Not all campuses will be open. Those already at over capacity will be closed.

Only five of the district's 11 high schools will be open to out-of-districts students, half of the middle schools and slightly less than half of the elementary schools.

"I think it's a good idea because of the fact that the kids will have an opportunity to get a better education," Wood said.

The opened up the system last year for employees to bring out-of-district students and that generated $750 million.

All incoming students will have to provide their own transportation.

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