Friday is the deadline for parents of Columbia County students to apply to send their children to a different school.
Whether the so-called "permissive transfers" get any more requests than last year won't be known until all the applications are in. But so far there hasn't been a stampede.
The state-mandated program, which started last year, allows parents to apply to transfer their children to any public school in the same county as long as that school has classrooms available.
That's a little tricky in fast-growing systems like Columbia County, where most schools already are packed to the hilt. In fact, county officials routinely apply for waivers on state class-size mandates to avoid having to spill students over into a new classes and necessitate the hiring of a additional teachers.
Still, last year the county had 285 spaces available for any parents who wanted their child to attend a different school, and who were willing to provide their own transportation.
Out of that number, just 29 - in a school system with nearly 23,000 students - made the switch. That's probably less an indictment of the permissive transfer program itself, or a sign of contentment in neighborhood schools, as it is a bow to the reality that many parents simply can't, or won't, drive their child to another school.
School officials will find out this week how many students want to transfer out of their neighborhood zone next year. There are more spaces available this year with 394, and by deadlining the requests this week they'll have more time to shuffle teachers around as needed.
No matter how many make the change, though, this process has made a couple of things clear:
First, most parents obviously prefer to stay with their neighborhood school. There always will be students who seek greener pastures, but for the most part the county's parents seem either happy with the school for which they are zoned, or at least are not so unhappy that they're willing to switch.
Second, the numbers of available spaces again demonstrate that school system officials bungled last year's high school rezoning for the opening of Grovetown High School - and, a few years earlier, the rezoning for nearby Cedar Ridge Elementary.
Most of the spaces available for transfers next year are modest: 24 at Blue Ridge Elementary, 19 at North Columbia Elementary, just four at Greenbrier Middle.
But 86 spaces at Euchee Creek Elementary? The school was depopulated when Cedar Ridge opened - full on its first day, by the way, and now overcrowded. And a whopping 261 spaces are available at Harlem High School, practically bled dry by the Grovetown opening.
What's worse, the zones for Harlem and Euchee Creek aren't growing, while new residential areas around Cedar Ridge and Grovetown High are exploding - so the county plans to build a new elementary school next door to the high school.
It's obvious there is strong demand for shiny new schools, but schools in low-growth areas should have been kept closer to capacity. The number of spaces now available for transfers shows the rezonings were out of whack.
The permissive transfer process might not lead to wholesale migration between schools. But it's a potent reminder of why so many of those empty spaces are available.
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