Committee

Education

Author

Jansen Owen

Session

2024 Session

Referred to House Education Committee

Latest Action


On February 2, HB 867 was referred to the House Education Committee, where it awaits a vote.

Explanation of the Bill


House Bill 867 would ease the process of student transfers between traditional public school districts by removing the requirement that a student’s home district must approve their release. Under HB 867, only the receiving district would have to approve the transfer.

Mississippi currently has a very limited form of “Open Enrollment” that allows students to transfer from their home district (or “transferor district,” i.e., the school district whose geographical boundaries the student lives within) to a receiving district (or “transferee district”), provided that both districts approve the transfer request. While there are a few exceptions to this process (see table below), the requirement of both districts to approve a transfer creates a significant barrier to inter-district transfers.

HB 867 would remove the requirement that a transferor district must approve a transfer request, instead only requiring the transferee district to approve a transfer. After a parent or guardian petitions the transferee district for a transfer, the transferee district would be required to approve or deny the request by the next school board meeting. Failing to act during this timeframe would constitute approval of the transfer request by the transferee district. In the event that the transferee district denies a request, the parent or guardian could appeal the decision to the State Board of Education, whose decision would be final. Any approved transfer request would have to stipulate whether the transferee district or the parent would be responsible for transportation. 

Under HB 867, each district would be required to publicly report the following:

  • Criteria for approving or rejecting transfer requests;
  • Any “tuition, fee or other financial obligation imposed” on transferring students; and
  • The “total capacity” for each grade level in each school for the acceptance of transferring students.

Current state law allows for inter-district transfers in the following circumstances, some of which would be altered under HB 867:

CircumstanceRelevant Code(s)Approval NeededTuition & FeesChanges under HB 867
Any student 37-15-31(1); 37-151-93(1)Transferor district and transferee district may choose to approve or deny the request.Transferee district may charge tuition.Only the transferee district may choose to approve or deny.
Student who is a child of “an instructional or licensed employee” of the transferee district.37-15-31(2); 37-15-29(2)Both districts must approve the transfer upon request.Transferee district may not charge tuition.No change
Student who resides more than 30 miles away from the transferor district and resides closer to the transferee district.37-15-31(3); 37-15-29(3);37-151-93(2)Both districts must approve the transfer upon request, though they can appeal a transfer request to the State Board of Education.Transferor district shall pay pro rata local maintenance funds to transferee district.Only the transferee district can appeal a transfer request to the State Board of Education.
Student, or their sibling, who transferred prior to July 1, 1992.37-15-31(4);37-15-29(4)Transferee district must approve the transfer upon request.Law does not specify.Exception is repealed: no longer relevant.
Student who resides in annexed territory of a municipal separate school district without school board representation.37-15-31(5)Both districts must approve the transfer upon request.Transferee district may not charge tuition; transferor district must remit pro rata ad valorem taxes to transferee district.Exception is repealed, along with tuition waiver and ad valorem transfer: these students who fall under the “any student” category now.
Student who is a child of active duty or civilian military personnel and resides within 30 miles of the transferee district.37-15-29(5)No approval necessary.Law does not specify.No change
Note: “Any student” refers to all students whom the listed circumstances do not apply.
DateDetails
2/2/24On February 2, HB 867 was referred to the House Education Committee.