Raley: 308 students attend school outside of their attendance zones

Shenandoah County Public School students are not all attending schools in their designated zones, which may prompt policy changes as boundaries are redrawn.

With the boundary adjustment work underway, the School Board will need to take a look at the current policies and decide what may need to be revised to ensure students are attending the correct school.

As a way to deal with overcrowding at Sandy Hook and W.W.Robinson Elementary Schools, a steering committee of 24 school employees and county residents will work with DeJong-Richter to redraw boundaries.

The committee met for the first time on Monday and the discussion was led by CEO Tracy Richter of DeJong-Richter. Among the concerns was the number of students who are attending a school they shouldn’t be.

The committee agreed upon a set of criteria to follow as they begin their work and agreed that the School Board needs to take a look at the current policy. Their next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 25.

Superintendent Jeremy Raley said that students are supposed to go to schools closest to where they live.

“We have 308 students who currently attend school outside of their assigned attendance boundary,” he said.

Raley added that 16 of these students have special education reasons that allow them to attend a school based on the special education programs the school provides.

Some of the 308 students are also children of teachers employed by the school division. The teachers are granted professional courtesy allowing their children to go to school where the parent teaches.

No fees are required for students who reside within Shenandoah County and go to a school outside of their zone.

“We do not charge students who are county residents to attend school, even if they are attending a school outside of their attendance zone,” Raley said. “As residents, they are taxpayers and are not subject to being charged tuition to attend. There is no School Board policy that indicates that we charge county residents to send their students to school.”

“Students who live in another county, but whose parents are employed by the Shenandoah County Public Schools, do not pay a fee to attend,” Raley added.

“Only students who live outside of our county and have parents who are not employed by our division are charged a yearly tuition of $4,000,” he said. There are currently no students who have to pay the fee.

“The School Board will adopt a policy as a part of the boundary adjustment process that will outline the rules associated for attending schools in our division,” Raley said.

The next School Board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday with time set aside for public comment.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com