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New open door policy for out of district students raises concerns
HAMSHIRE-FANNETT-By: Leslie Rangel
A school district is opening its doors to students who do not live inside the district.
The goal is to bring in money.
Hamshire-Fannett, home of the Longhorns.
A district with about 18 hundred students, now a new transfer policy is causing division.
"I think that they need to leave things well enough alone, it's been this way for years, why change something now," Tracie Craigen, a HFISD parent says.
The change will allow up to one hundred twenty two students to transfer into the district.
"After the state legislature, I think it was back in 05-06 froze our state funding, the only way we receive more money is by more kids," Superintendent Pamela Morris says.
Morris says new students must fill out an application with some basic requirements.
"Attendance, we'll look at their academics, we'll look at just their overall discipline," Morris said.
Some parents aren't convinced.
"I just think that having the big city even though Beaumont is not a big city, to use it is the influence of those kids out there, I'm not sure that that will work here," Debbie Silcox, a Hamshire-Fannett taxpayer said.
"The people that come in our school district won't be paying taxes and we're paying taxes, paying for them to come to school here," Craigen.
The superintendent says each incoming student will bring in at least 5 thousand dollars in state funding.
Total that to 122 slots and the district could see more than 600 thousand dollars a year.
"That's the only way we're going to be able to generate dollars to keep doing the things we're doing and offering the programs that we want our kids to have and be a part of," Morris said.
Morris says it will bring in money for after school academics and allow the district to give raises to teachers.
"There's no sense in denying it, I think a big, big part of this is funding and we do not have an infrastructure in our community where there's going to be a lot of growth," Morris says.
Growth, the district says is needed.
While critics wonder at what impact, if any to their community.
The superintendent says parents of non-resident students must pay one thousand dollars a year for tuition.
Parents can also apply for a tuition exemption if their child qualifies for a free or reduced priced lunch.