Gaston schools are big winner under HB 3681

The number of students asking to join the Banks School District through Oregon’s three-year-old open-enrollment law has dropped by half for the 2014-15 school year.

As of March 31, the deadline for applications, 22 requests for transfers into Banks schools from other districts had been received at the administration office. Fifteen were from students currently attending Forest Grove schools, six were from Hillsboro and one was from Portland.

Last year, Banks received 47 requests.

Superintendent Bob Huston said the 1,130-student district opened up 104 slots this year for pupils desiring to come from other districts under House Bill 3681, enacted by the 2011 legislature.

The bill did not remove traditional methods of inter-district transfer, but gave local school districts control over whether to accept additional students beyond those transfers. The measure allows enrollment in a district where the student does not legally reside if the student receives written consent from the district where the school is located.

District officials closely watch how many students want to transfer in and out in a given school year because each pupil is worth about $6,000 in state school funding.

Forest Grove School District opened 100 spots for 2014-15 but received only eight applications under HB 3681, according to spokeswoman Connie Potter. Four came from Hillsboro, two from Gaston and one each from Banks and Vernonia.

Three students transferred into Forest Grove schools under the open-enrollment law in 2013-14.

Tiny Gaston School District, with a total enrollment of 520, received 62 transfer applications for next year, filling most of its 70 open slots. Forty-eight students applied from Forest Grove, seven from Yamhill-Carlton, six from Hillsboro and one from Banks.

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