Friday, March 17, 2023

House sends bill requiring school districts approve intra-district transfers to Senate

House Republicans Send Intra-District Transfer Policy to Senate

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 14th) – The Oklahoma House of Representatives today gave approval to legislation that would make Oklahoma the first state to implement all five recommended open enrollment best practices for public K-12 schools.

House Bill 1936, authored by House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, requires school districts to approve all intra-district transfers unless the grade level of the receiving school is at capacity.

If HB1936 passes the Senate, Oklahoma will become the first state to hit all five of the Reason Foundation's open enrollment best practices: cross-district open enrollment, intra-district open enrollment, transparent reporting by the State Education Agency, transparent school capacity reporting and free access to all public schools.

"Oklahoma parents deserve avenues to send their children to a school that serves them best," McCall said. "Providing education options for parents and students is a top priority for House Republicans, and I'm glad to see wide support of this common-sense policy."

Under the legislation, which would go into effect in Fiscal Year 2024, each school board is required to determine its capacity for intra-district transfers for each grade level in each school on a quarterly basis. The capacity information must be published prominently on the district website.

HB1936 outlines order of acceptance for intra-district transfers if the transfer would exceed grade level capacity:

  1. Students who reside in the school site boundary;
  2. Students who attended the school site the prior school year;
  3. Siblings of students who are already enrolled at the school site; and then
  4. In the order in which the transfer applications were received.

Any sibling of a student who transfers intra-district may attend the school site to which the student transferred, if the school district policy gives preference to sibling transfers regardless of capacity.

The bill was presented on the House floor by House Education Committee Chair Rep. Rhonda Baker, R-Yukon.

"Expanding open transfer will benefit more students and their families as we continue to work on ways to increase education options to fit the needs of every Oklahoma student," Baker said. "This bill still allows local school districts to set capacity limits so they aren't forced to exceed grade-level caps, but our hope is each district will work with parents trying to improve the academic outcomes of their children."

A student may continue to attend the school they transferred into, unless they are denied continued transfer for a history of absences, violation of school regulation or possessing a banned item or substance.

The Legislature approved inter-district open transfer in 2021. In the first full year since its implementation, over 20,000 Oklahoma students took advantage of the process.

The House approved HB1936 with a 69-18 vote.


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