Coweta school students barred from transferring

Thu, 06/25/2009 - 3:54pm
By: Ben Nelms

Coweta County School System will be unable to accommodate parents wishing to have their children transfer to other schools under a recently passed state law due to a long-standing federal desegregation order. Coweta has complied with all 27 areas in a federal Consent Decree and is waiting on the review by the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

House Bill 251, approved this year by the Georgia General assembly, allows parents to send a child to another public school in the same county school district, as long as there is classroom space available at the school. The law takes effect July 1 but, as yet, cannot be utilized in Coweta, said school system spokesperson Dean Jackson.

Jackson said the Georgia Dept. of Education (DOE) issued advisories to school districts about the law in June. The advisory notes that “If there is a conflict between the federal desegregation order and state law, the federal desegregation order applies…” in school districts that have court-approved orders affecting student transfers.

The school system has posted a letter to parents on the Coweta county Schools website addressing the issue. The letter reads:

“As the parent or guardian of a student in a Georgia School System, currently enrolled in our school district, we are writing to notify you that under a new state law you may be allowed to request to transfer your child to another public school in the same school district.

Under this law, a parent or guardian, can request to have his or her child transferred to another public school within the assigned school district of residence as long as the school district has determined that there is available classroom space at the school after all assigned students have been enrolled, and as long as the school system is not under any court approved desegregation orders that would not allow the transfer, Jackson said.

Once the Coweta County School System has been released from the desegregation order by the U.S. Justice Department, we will post guidelines for these transfers on this website, said Jackson.

“We’ve had calls from some folks about transferring their child and we anticipated that some would have wanted to take advantage of the new law,” Jackson said.

Jackson explained that a desegregation court order affecting the Coweta County School System and other school districts has governed the county’s policies since 1973.

In November, 2006, the Coweta County Board of Education and the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Division, entered into a mutual Consent Decree in federal court in an attempt to resolve the 1973 court order. The two-year minimum data collection period was established so that Coweta could document its compliance in 27 areas so that it could move to what is referred to as unitary status, Jackson said.

The school system met the requirements of the decree during that period, and is awaiting word from the U.S. Justice Department about the matter. The terms of the decree and the 1973 court order still stand until the matter is resolved by the federal court.

Those with additional questions on this issue are asked to contact Dr. Steve Barker, Director of Administrative Services at or call 770-254-2802.”

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