OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A new transfer portal law that went into effect this year allows parents to send their kids to any public school in the state, barring any capacity limits.
The main challenge is the number of students in each school.
Representative Charles McCall, Oklahoma’s Speaker of the House, said that over 90 percent of the requests that were denied this year were because schools were full.
McCall spearheaded the law. He said it is a way for parents to have choice, while also keeping public money in public schools.
“If accepted, the dollars attached to that child for their public education will follow them to that new school district,” said McCall.
In total, there were 10,924 transfer requests statewide and 8,417 were approved.
Mid-Del Public Schools saw the most transfer requests from July 1 to August 15.
July 1 is when the transfer portal opens.
“We had a line out the door to our enrollment center that I think parents started lining up around six in the morning,” said Rick Cobb, superintendent of the of Mid-Dell Public Schools.
He said that parents knew about the new law, which made for a large turnout, but the transfer date needs to be opened a little sooner.
“It’s really at least a month late to start that process,” said Cobb. “We want to know how many students we have as soon as possible so that we can get people hired.”
Another hiccup in the system is the waiting list.
Cobb said that districts must take each request one by one and cannot move on to the next student until a decision has been made with the previous child.
This means that a child at the front of the list may not decide right away, and even if a student at number 10 knows what school they want to attend, they will have to wait.
Speaker McCall acknowledged that there will be growing pains.
“The data that we’re just now seeing come in on this highly successful policy, that will help us make decisions going forward to try to address bottlenecks like capacity within school districts,” said McCall.
KFOR reached out to Edmond and Moore Public Schools.
They both said their transfer requests have dramatically increased over the past year because of the new law.
Cobb said schools want to have more kids request for a transfer, and encourages families to continue, but admitted that student-teacher ratios need to stay at a level that’s good for learning.
“We’re not going to increase our capacity and just overfill our classes because I think that detracts away from the reason that some of the parents want their children to be here,” said Cobb.