Warren County may be going toward an open border policy when the School Board votes later this month to lift restrictions on out-of-county students attending local schools.
Under the proposed change in policy, which passed on first reading by the Warren County Board of Education, the county would stop requiring out-of-county students to have a sibling attending Warren County Schools in order to attend. Striking this requirement would basically mean the local school system would be open to all students provided the director of schools in the county in which they live approves the transfer.
Director of Schools Bobby Cox said opening the borders makes more sense now that there’s room in the local school system. Specifically, Cox pointed out that federal school dollars follow the student wherever they go. This means the county would get around $8,000 in federal money for each student. That amount is in addition to about $1,500 out-of-county students must pay in tuition costs.
The tuition payments, however, are something that brought controversy, according to School Board member Scott Holmes, who revealed some parents were misleading about whether their child actually lived in Warren County.
“People can manipulate the policy,” Holmes said, noting sometimes parents are less than honest about where they live so they can avoid paying the tuition. “We can’t ask administrators to follow students home to find out where they live.”
Cox agreed the new policy would still leave room for manipulation. Cox noted some students may live right on the county line or have one parent who lives in Warren County and another who does not.
“It’s hard to police,” Cox said.
Out-of-town students may attend Warren County Schools provided they notify the local system at least two weeks before school starts.