Anaheim Union High School District, facing decreasing enrollment, is tightening its grip on students hoping to leave for other districts, denying more than 450 such requests this year, a trend that county education officials said might push other districts to impose tighter transfer rules.
Anaheim Union changed its inter-district transfer policy in February, shrinking the period when students can apply for transfers from about six months to five weeks. That change has reduced the number of transfer requests, but it’s also led to a spike in the number of appeals being heard by the Orange County Board of Education — appeals that are often emotional and highly charged, with parents and students sometimes describing the new transfer rules as unfair.
“The (number of) cases that are coming before the county are the (most)… in my 22 years on the board,” said Orange County trustee Ken Williams.
Next month, county trustees will consider adopting specific guidelines on the criteria it will use when deciding to accept are deny transfers, including new rules on issues such as child care and transportation. Trustees then might send the new policy to every district in the county, advising them to use the county rules as a standard for future transfers.
But while the county can be an arbiter of last resort on transfer requests, it doesn’t set policy for each district. Individual school districts are free to continue deciding transfer rules independently, as they do now. Transfer practices vary from district to district, but few are believed to be as strict as the rules imposed by Anaheim Union.
Some at the county wonder if the new rules at Anaheim Union — one of the biggest school districts in California — could sway others to follow suit.
“My fear is, going forward, that if Anaheim maintains this policy, it could influence what other districts are going to do, and say ‘We’re not going to allow any inter-district transfers either,’” said Trustee David…