Each year, thousands of Johnston County parents ask to transfer their child to another school.
And more often than not, the district says yes. Over the past three years, Johnston County schools have OK’d 91 percent of the more than 8,200 transfer requests, according to reassignment data from the school district.
Overcrowded schools in Johnston aren’t supposed to take in any transfers. School board policy says “capped” schools, where enrollment exceeds capacity, shouldn’t accept reassignments.
However, the reassignment data show the school system does allow students to transfer into crowded schools. School officials say the “capped” designation is just one of several factors used when weighing reassignment requests.
For 2014-15, Johnston schools have allowed 1,281 students to transfer from their base school to a school that was over capacity, according to the data. At the same time, however, more than 1,300 students transferred out of a capped school.
Ross Renfrow, the school district’s deputy superintendent, reviews each reassignment request. He said the school system doesn’t have a zero-tolerance policy for transfers into capped schools.
“It’s not automatically a ‘No,’” Renfrow said, adding that the school board and superintendent ask him to look at every request on a case-by-case basis.
District policy allows Renfrow to approve transfers to capped schools if the student:
▪ Seeks enrollment in a specific educational program.
▪ Has a medical hardship, including physical or mental disabilities.
▪ Has a parent who works full time for the school district.
Parents are allowed to request transfers to “non-capped” schools for the same reasons.
Jaci Kincaid said the school system initially denied her request to transfer her daughter from West Johnston High to Smithfield-Selma High, a “non-capped” school. However, she successfully appealed that decision.
This school year, 107 parents appealed denied requests; the school district granted 90 of the appeals.
Kincaid said the transfer process can be frustrating, and she thinks school administrators are making important decisions based on a one-page reassignment form. Parents are allowed to attach additional documents to the request form, but that still doesn’t seem like enough, she said.
Renfrow said he often contacts parents to get more information about their request. “It’s really a living, breathing process,” he said.
“Once parents understand the process, they are cordial and receptive of whether or they are approved or not,” he added.
Kincaid said she’s grateful her daughter was allowed to transfer to SSS, both for the school’s International Baccalaureate program and to be with her friends.
“SSS actually isn’t more convenient for our family; we have three high schools closer to our home,” Kincaid said. “We make it work because we truly believe that SSS is the best place for her.”
While the Kincaids found a nice fit at SSS, reassignment data show more students transfer out of than into that school. Over the past three years, 315 students have transferred from SSS while 142 have transferred into the school.
SSS has the third highest differential between outgoing and incoming transfers at 173. Selma Elementary had the highest differential at 193.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Meadow School has netted the most incoming transfers over the past three years at 293. Other schools on the plus side are Powhatan Elementary, 254 students; Princeton High/Middle, 244; Cleveland Middle, 209; and Princeton Elementary, 188.
The school system has already started evaluating requests for next year. Parents can fill out the reassignment form online at www.johnston.k12.nc.us.
Dunn: 919-553-7234, Ext. 104
Johnston County schools transfers
The following figures represent the combined differential between incoming and outgoing transfers at Johnston County schools for the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years:
Meadow School: +293
Powhatan Elementary: +254
Princeton High/Middle: +244
Cleveland Middle: +209
Princeton Elementary: +188
River Dell Elementary: +155
West View Elementary: +133
Riverwood Elementary: +102
Cleveland High: +96
North Johnston Middle: +92
South Smithfield Elementary: +77
North Johnston High: +76
Riverwood Middle: +73
Corinth Holders High: +64
Glendale-Kenly Elementary: +59
Cleveland Elementary: +48
South Johnston High: +36
Four Oaks Middle: +18
West Clayton Elementary: +16
McGee’s Crossroads Elementary: +15
Dixon Road Elementary: +3
East Clayton Elementary: -5
Clayton High: -8
Micro-Pine Level Elementary: -19
Four Oaks Elementary: -21
West Johnston High: -22
Archer Lodge Middle: -38
Clayton Middle: -42
Benson Middle: -48
McGee’s Crossroads Middle: -48
Corinth-Holders Elementary: -59
Selma Middle: -94
Polenta Elementary: -115
Smithfield Middle: -137
Cooper Elementary: -144
Benson Elementary: -159
Wilson’s Mills Elementary: -164
Smithfield-Selma High: -173
West Smithfield Elementary: -182
Selma Elementary: -193
Source: Johnston County Schools reassignment data