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HCS changes nonresident policy

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HAMMOND – Hammond Central School board members have officially changed the district’s non-resident student policy after three students who moved to neighboring Morristown were asked to leave the district in October.

Viola J. Helm, Brier Hill, said her three daughters, Razia D. Phillips, 16, Jasmine A. Warwick, 13, and Macy A. Helm, 10, were asked without warning to leave the school after a meeting with Mr. Richards on Oct. 29.

The board unanimously approved the changes Dec. 10.

“The policy wasn’t being followed and they wanted to change it to reflect the current policy and practice,” Interim Randy C. Richards said Tuesday. “With the help of BOCES and consultations with the attorney, they modified the

existing policy.”

Under the new policy, the superintendent will now determine who is admitted into the district. Previously, school board members voted to allow students to attend Hammond.

“Calling the board together to interview each student is not feasible,” Mr. Richards said. “They should use their chief executive officer – the superintendent – to make a recommendation. It would be a better use of the board’s time.”

Non-resident students’ parents and guardians will now be expected to fill out affidavits, testifying to their guardianship and that the child resides in the district.

“We want a clear account of who is here and why they are here,” Mr. Richards said.

The policy was also changed to include a clause which would require students to be in good academic standing.

“The student must be in good standing academically in his or her home school district and may not have been suspended from his or her home school for disciplinary reasons at the time of the application or at any time in the 12 months preceding the application,” according to the revised policy.

But Mr. Richards said the determination won’t be solely based on academics.

“There are several factors to consider that would speak to the whole case,” he said. By law, the district must accept homeless students, Mr. Richards added.

Mr. Richards said he doesn’t anticipate the new procedures will have a significant impact the amount of students applying or being accepted into Hammond.

“Ideally they would apply no later than the end of July so the kids can start in September, but enrollment is open all year round,” he said.

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