• A Fair, Consistent, School Transfer Policy

    What is best for students and their families is not always what is easiest or most convenient for the Thames Valley District School Board, but what is best for students should always be the top priority when requests to allow a student to attend a school outside their home “Attendance Area”.

    First and foremost, exemptions allowing a child to attend a school other than their “area of attendance” school, should not be a process families have to go through each and every year. If elected, I intend to fight for changes that allow an approved exemption to stand as a permanent exemption for the duration the child is enrolled in the school system or until the student’s family circumstances change and a new request is submitted. Let’s give families the predictability they deserve, knowing they do not have to fight for a space for their child in the school the child has been attending year after year.

    Currently, the Thames Valley District School Board policy requires consideration to be given as to whether the “sending” school program offerings would be negatively impacted by the child leaving for another school. In my view it is unacceptable to deny a child a transfer to another school on this basis. The main determining factor should be what is in the best interests of the child, with the family being the main advocate. I will work to strike that factor from the exemption process for transfers.

    Current Policy also indicates that: “it is acknowledged that in some extreme and extenuating circumstances families may have the need for their children to attend a school out of their designated attendance area”. Yet there is no clear written guidelines on what constitutes “extenuating circumstances”. I believe a clear list of circumstances which constitute grounds for consideration need to be available to parents. Parents, Principals, Supervisory Officers and the Director of Education should all understand conditions which are “extenuating” rather than leaving this up to the discretion or interpretation of a Principal or Director of Education.

    Finally, it is my opinion that there should be a trustee based review process for exemption denials to be appealed. The trustees, as the elected representatives at the school board, should have the authority to overturn the bureaucratic decision if they deem it to be in the child’s best interests.

    I hope you’ll agree, it is time for a more fair, equitable, clear policy around allowing children to transfer schools.

     

     

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