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County Board of Education has a fair-ly good time

POSTED August 4, 2009 10:47 p.m.
The Stanislaus County Board of Education made themselves available to answer questions at the Stanislaus County Fair on Monday. A few county residents took a break from corn dogs and the midway to ask questions of the board members and Tom Changnon, Stanislaus County superintendent of schools.
“I think that it is important to be visible and accessible to parents in the community,” said Luis Molina, president of the Stanislaus County Board of Education.
A few people who stopped at the SCOE booth in the Costco building were there to look at the science projects on display at the booth. There were hands-on displays about chemistry, physics, and biology that children and parents could play with.
Molina said that some parents stopped to ask questions about posters for programs that the board is involved in. He explained the YES Company, a youth program where students get experience in singing, acting, and other performance arts. He also went over “Fit for the Future,” a district program that promotes an active lifestyle for students.
One of the most common questions that Molina expected was “what is the county board of education and what do they do?” His answer was printed neatly in a pamphlet at the booth, which he looked over with concerned county residents. He explained that the board, among other duties, acts as an appeals board for student expulsions and inter-district transfers for the 25 school districts within the county.
One of the biggest parent concerns that Molina and the board have had to face in recent months is the denial of inter-district transfers by local school boards. He said that some families are facing economic hardship because they live in one district but work or have a childcare provider in another part of the county. They sometimes can not afford to leave work to pick a child up from school in their home district. Parents sometimes apply for an inter-district transfer so that their children can attend a school closer to the parent’s work or the child’s after school day-care.  
Recently, those applications for transfers have been denied by many districts. Molina said that if a student leaves a district, then the district loses money. Even despite extenuating circumstances, some districts do not want to grant a transfer. Molina said that he and his fellow board members review the appeal and take a closer look at the reasons why a parent wants their child to switch schools.
“I think consensus is that we want to do what is best for the students,” Molina said.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail agoodwin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.
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