Santa Barbara Unified School District Considers Limiting Interdistrict Transfers

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Santa Barbara Unified School Board of Education will consider a policy change limiting interdistrict transfers at its regularly scheduled Board meeting on October 10, 2017. The policy change under consideration is a result of a district funding model shift to basic aid this fiscal year. Basic aid is when the district is in a position to generate more revenue through local property taxes than the State provides through traditional funding formulas. Under this model, the district will have greater control of local taxpayer dollars to improve education services for students, families, and educators within the community it serves.

Out of California’s nearly 1,000 elementary, high school, and unified school districts, approximately 100 are basic aid districts. Santa Barbara County has ten basic aid districts, four of which are partner districts to Santa Barbara Unified. The determination of whether or not a district automatically becomes a basic aid district is dependent on a number of factors – local property tax collections, district enrollment, and State of California school finance models. Ultimately to achieve basic aid status, property taxes per student within the attendance boundary must be greater than the district’s state allocated revenue limit.

A component that directly influences a district’s basic aid status is the number of interdistrict transfer students. An interdistrict transfer is defined as a student who transfers in from a community outside of the attendance boundary of the district’s K-12 district. Currently in Santa Barbara Unified School District, all interdistrict transfer requests are considered for enrollment. In the current school year, interdistrict transfers represent 212 students and an approximately $1.5 million investment of taxpayer dollars within the Santa Barbara Unified School District boundaries.

Proposed changes to the district’s interdistrict transfer policy reflect careful consideration of the long-term projections of Santa Barbara Unified to be a basic aid district, while allowing for a gradual transition of the interdistrict transfer students currently enrolled in our district. The policy under consideration creates a framework to limit the entry of students from outside districts, with exceptions. Examples of exceptions include: students who are children of district employees and children of employees of Santa Barbara Community College (SBCC). The district will also consider allowing: a student to complete their education at a school they currently attend, a family that is moving into the district within the first 30 days of the school year, and those students and/or immediate family member who will suffer an extraordinary hardship as defined in the proposed policy.

The Board of Education will take action on the proposed interdistrict transfers policy at their meeting on October 10, 2017 at 6:30 p.m., the agenda will be available online by close of business on Friday, October 6, 2017 and can be found here.

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