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More students want to attend Turlock schools, fewer students are leaving
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With school district funding dependent upon the number of students attending school, inter-district transfers can be quite troublesome when a large number of students elect to go to school in a town other than where they live.
“If the enrollment goes down, the districts lose money,” said Gil Ogden, director of student services for the Turlock Unified School District. “ The funding goes with the student.”  
Many districts have gotten to the point where they decline inter-district transfers to keep their enrollment high and keep the state funding rolling in, Ogden said. Keyes Union School District and Modesto City Schools are two districts that are refusing transfers to keep enrollment up, he said.
When a student wants to transfer to another district, the student submits an inter-district request form and the school has to approve the transfer, he said. If they refuse the transfer, the parent can appeal the decision to the Stanislaus County Office of Education. Along with getting the approval to leave a district, the student has to be approved by the district they want to attend.
“We allow students to leave our district and come into our district with our good neighbor policy,” Ogden said. “We have never denied a student an inter-district transfer to attend a school in a different district.   
“TUSD is a student-driven district,” he said. “Turlock doesn’t hold the student back from a district transfer. We operate on what is best for the students.”
In the TUSD, inter-district transfers are not causing a decline in state funding, Ogden said. According to Ogden presentation at Tuesday’s TUSD board of trustees meeting, during this school year, 450 students have entered the TUSD and 448 left, giving TUSD a gain of two students from other districts.
Despite the low number of students gained each year through TUSD, this number is around the same as last year, Ogden said. But regardless of the two students gained, more students are staying in TUSD and less students are leaving.
TUSD is gaining most of it’s students through Denair, Delhi and Merced school districts, according to Ogden inter-district report given Tuesday. About 205 students are coming from Denair with 122 students leaving Turlock, giving TUSD a gain of 83 students from Denair. TUSD is getting about 40 students from Delhi and 22 students from Merced.
Ogden said he is finding more students are coming to Turlock schools because of the wide range of classes offered for everyone.
“If we build quality programs, people will come,” Ogden said.   
The amount of students gained is balancing out the students leaving with most of TUSD students leaving to go to Chatom, Hilmar and Modesto City Schools, according to Ogden report. There are about 19 students from Hilmar coming to Turlock schools with about 97 students leaving to go to Hilmar schools, giving TUSD a total loss of 78 students to Hilmar.
According to Ogden, the most common reason for a student to transfer is because of the student’s parent working in a different town so it is more convenient for them to take their child to school in the town they work in. The students leaving Turlock to go to Modesto schools are most likely leaving to attend the International Baccalaureate program, Ogden said.  
“Students are not leaving because Turlock schools are inadequate,” he said.
TUSD wants more students, but there are no specific plans to raise enrollment because there is not a problem with inter district transfers decreasing enrollment, Ogden said.
“The only thing we can do is to continue to improve our programs we offer the students,” he said.     
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.