MOORE — Susan Pierce has heard the rumblings. The Moore School District Superintendent knows not everyone is happy with a new transfer policy that was voted in a few months ago by the school board.
However, Pierce defended the new policy saying it was done to benefit the students of the Moore School District.
“Anytime you implement a policy you don’t really know what the effect will be until you enforce that policy,” Pierce said. “We think we will know what the outcome will be and we will work toward that. But we’re keeping an open mind and looking at all the situations and evaluating what the outcome will be.”
In the spring, the District School Board passed School Board Policy #7075, which is located within the student section of board policies. It allows students who live in one school’s district to transfer to another school without penalty for non athletic reasons.
Some believe the policy is a continuation of the open enrollment the district had in place two years ago. But district Athletics Director Carl Franks said that is not the case.
“We felt like taking a look at the policy we had in place previously was needed based on the fact that we were in a situation where our student athletes within the district were being restricted more so than students transferring from outside the district,” Franks said. “This gave us an opportunity to look at it and see some of the different things we could implement and put into our policy that would give our student athletes a little more freedom when it does comes to those situation when you are speaking of transfers.”
The results of policy #7075 have already begun to show as several student-athletes from Moore High are enrolled at Southmoore. They include a basketball player and three runners.
But SaberCat’s boys basketball coach Wes Brown said neither he or his staff are doing anything wrong.
“They can pick where they want to go,” Brown said. “It’s up to them and their parents. We basically just sit here and see who shows up. We have kids here I don’t even know who they are. It’s an open door policy. We are not going to turn anyone down if they want to come and play.”
According to district officials, the students who seek approval to transfer must have a valid reason. If they happen to be athletes also, there is nothing they can do about that.
“There are a multitude of reasons as far as student- athletes needing or wanting to change from one school to the other,” Franks said. “When we look at any transfers being requested, we are not looking at those transfers based on from what school to what school. We’re looking at if the reasons for the request meet the policy guidelines.”
According to Franks, if seventh and eight graders apply for transfer and it’s granted, then they cannot participate against the junior high school they are transferring from. If it has anything to do with athletic participation, then the transfer would not be approved anyways, at any level.
For ninth grade student athletes within the district, if they request a transfer and it’s approved then they will only be able to participate at the ninth grade level only for that particular year. They cannot play varsity sports. They will also not be able to participate against the other two sister high schools just for that year.
“There had been different situations brought up as exceptions to the policy and there had been several different situations we had to consider,” Pierce said. “So we reviewed the policy. Actually, the policy had been reconsidered for a number of months prior to actually changing the policy. It’s the same policy but slightly different parameters. There were some differences in the policy as far as transfers and eligibility, but they were based on what we thought would be best for students.”
If the student athlete is in 10th-12th grade, the policy basically stays the same. If their transfer application is approved, they would only be able to participate at the sub varsity level. The only difference is that they would not be able to compete against sister schools for that year.
While Pierce said they would review the policy, she didn’t say what it would take for the policy to be changed or eliminated. But she seems to be happy with the way it’s working at this point in the new school year.
“We are monitoring the transfers from school to school,” Pierce said. “We will look at the numbers, look at the situations, and of course we review all of our policies every year. I would say it’s a good policy and working like we thought it would work. But again, we look at all the numbers and how it actually plays out.”
Some coaches have no problem working under whatever policies and rules have been set up. They are just seeking a clearer clarification of policy #7075 and how it works.
“It’s confusing,” Moore boys basketball coach Aaron Howell said. “I don’t know how it’s supposed to be interpreted.”