Garland ISD classroom

The Garland ISD Board of Trustees updated its transfer policy Tuesday.

The Garland ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved inter-district transfers to their schools on Tuesday.

The allowance of open transfers was passed to encourage increased enrollment in Garland schools to reverse the district’s declining enrollment trend.

“We have declining enrollment that has led us to be creative in our problem solving,” Chief Leadership Officer Susanna Russel said. “Our goal is to reverse our transfer out trend, which is continuing to increase with an 8% transfer outrate.”

Overall, 162,000 students attend secondary schools in districts adjacent to Garland ISD. Of those, 50,000 students attend a C, D or F-rated school. Of those students, 7,000 live within five to 10 miles from the district’s center while 25,000 students live 10 to 15 miles from the center of Garland. Garland ISD described this as an opportunity to showcase the quality of its schools.

Babetta Hemphill, executive director of student services, noted that families tend to choose schools based on the grade they wish to attend and what programs they offer.

“For example, a parent might choose a school that offers first grade bilingual programs, second grade ESL or general education,” Hemphill said.

Students who wish to transfer to Garland ISD will be able to do so provided the school they wish to attend has an availability of 15% or greater than the assigned capacity of the grade level.

“The 15% cutoff allows for continued enrollment of current and future resident student,” Hemphill said. “That was a point that was made with our parent focus groups and community focus groups. They wanted to ensure that we could still serve our resident students in their neighborhood schools.”

Magnet programs were not included in the cutoff calculation, as those seats require an application as well. However, applicants for magnet programs will receive first priority.

Hemphill showed that both primary and secondary schools showed most availability for transfer around the perimeter of the district. Elementary schools including Abbett, Mont Claire and Toler and secondary schools including South Garland, Lyles Middle School and Rowlett High School were projected to have the needed availability to accept transfer students.

Transfers are scheduled to open May 3.

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