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Hall County Schools opens doors to those outside district
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Students who don’t live in the Hall County School District will now have an opportunity to come inside — if space allows.

“It’s an exciting day,” Superintendent Will Schofield said.

School board members approved the criteria for accepting out-of-district students at Monday’s meeting.

They would have to supply their academic, behavioral and attendance records prior to acceptance, and will also be responsible for paying tuition and associated fees.

Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Eloise Barron said a class or program is open for out-of-district students if it hasn’t reached 85 percent of capacity.

“What we’ve said very clearly is we’re not going to add staff to bring out-of-district kids into our district,” Schofield said. “So if someone wants to do a kindergarten class at a particular school and the kindergarten class is full, it’s not an option.

“This says if there are empty seats, if kids are behaving themselves, if they’re doing well in school, if they’re showing up for school and we don’t have to hire personnel, we’d love to have you,” he continued.

Hall County students have had an option since 2009 under state law to move around within the district if space is available; those requests will now be required between April 1-22.

No more than 30 students have ever taken advantage of that law since it’s been in effect, Barron said; most back out before the district is able to approve applications.

By May 1, the district will post a list of available schools and programs of choice, and out-of-district students can then apply through May 22.

“What I really like about the timeline is ... it says very clearly that we’re going to continue to take care of all Hall County children first,” said Sally Krisel, the district’s director of innovative and advanced programs. “But then, if it gets down to the end and we have the opportunity to have an outstanding student that makes our school system better, makes the programs better ... then we have the opportunity to do that.”

The district’s 11 charter schools aren’t included, and Barron pointed out many of the programs of choice have waiting lists so they wouldn’t be available. She said there may be some flexibility within the International Baccalaureate programs at Johnson, North Hall and West Hall high schools.

“This will be a yearly update,” Schofield said to board members. “Obviously, we’ve never done this before. We’ll just have to fix it as we go along, and change it and make it accommodating to our families and fair to our schools.”

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