JeffCo students get no school choice this fall - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Students in Jefferson Co. not given choice to transfer schools

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Students at Center Point High School will not be allowed to transfer to another school in the same district due to the Alabama Accountability Act. (abc3340.com) Students at Center Point High School will not be allowed to transfer to another school in the same district due to the Alabama Accountability Act. (abc3340.com)

Changing schools will not be an option for some Jefferson County students. Starting this fall, children in eight schools either deemed failing by the state or once failing under the No Child Left Behind Act will not have school choice.

Center Point High School parent Ronnye Morgan-Simmons already got one unexpected letter from Jefferson County Schools. Due to a 40-year-old federal desegregation order, no student can transfer to another district high school under the Alabama Accountability Act.

"I felt it was unfair. I feel if the child is doing well and the school isn't doing well, you should be able to move your child," said Morgan-Simmons.

Parents at Brighton Middle School also got the same letter.

There's another letter heading to her mailbox and to homes of students at Erwin Intermediate and Middle Schools, Center Point Elementary and High School,  Chalkville Elementary, as well as Fultondale Elementary and Bottenfield Middle School. It's to inform them there will be no school choice.

Alabama got a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act.

Students who've already gone elsewhere for one year will be able to stay at the other school, as long as they provide their own transportation.

"That means for example, kids who may have been bused under No Child Left Behind to Bragg in Gardendale, we will not be busing them anymore. But students who were bused there for No Child Left Behind purposes can finish their school at Bragg if they choose to do so," explained Dr. Stephen Nowlin, superintendent of Jefferson County Schools.

Morgan-Simmons is okay with that.

"I've seen some growth since my grandson started going there four or five years ago. I'm pleased with the growth," she said.

The district will save $1.4 million, allowing more teachers and programs to be added. There will also be the addition of six new Title 1 schools.

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