1.) Transfer students, even when accounting for variable costs that they bring, provide our district with much-needed revenue to offset expenses. The district receives ~$5,660 per student, regardless of where they come from. In this year alone, transfer student revenue totaled $2.25million. Without these 439 students filling in seats throughout our nine campuses, our $5.7million deficit would be closer to $8million.
2.) Transfer students add to the number of total enrolled students, which has a direct impact on the amount of tax revenue that is recaptured. The more students that we have enrolled, the less money that is recaptured and returned to the State. Transfers are a way for allowing us to retain more of our own tax dollars to fund our own district.
3.) Transfer students alleviate the district's dependency on unfavorable re-districting tactics to find efficiencies in managing resident enrollment fluctuations. The money donated to the nine campus booster clubs and EEF is critical for funding the gaps and turning our standard public education into an exemplary one. Frequent redistricting is divisive for the community and would undermine the fundraising efforts of these organizations and compromise their ability to continue to raise the amount of necessary funds.
So until we see changes at the state level, I think we must be open to transfers.
The biggest concern I hear regarding transfers is class size. I think of class size not in terms of a ratio of kids to teachers, but in terms of teacher effectiveness and in terms of bodies in a confined space. As we make improvements to our facilities, we can incorporate space configurations that help mitigate the negative impact of larger class sizes. If our spaces are designed with flexibility in mind, we can better manage fluctuations in enrollment. Better designed buildings will liberate our ability to optimize opportunities to accommodate fluctuations in our resident population and leverage revenue ability as needed in response to budget needs.
Crowded classrooms are not beneficial to either the students or the teachers. And the negative impacts vary somewhat relative to grade level. One policy I would like to explore is to segment our transfer student commitments into 3 levels. The current policy tries to serve our transfers from point of admission through graduation. I think there is some value to assessing transfer admission such that it is more responsive to K-5, 6-8, 9-12 class sizes with permission for enrollment reassessed as that transfer student moves up levels within the system.