When members of the Oklahoma City School Board voted last month to deny some out-of-district students the opportunity to attend the Classen School of Advanced Studies, we weren't sure they had all the information needed to make the best decision or that they had considered all their options.
They deserve kudos for reversing course last week. Not only did the board decide to grant eight transfers it had earlier denied, members also OK'd emergency transfers for dozens of other students who had received acceptance letters but were in doubt about admission following the board's initial vote.
This decision was the right one for students and families who had been pursuing admission for months (some even preparing for years) and gotten acceptance notifications. Some students had already completed enrollment for fall classes.
The board held its conversations about the issue in executive session. So it's difficult to know what swayed the reversal. One board member — Vice Chairman Phil Horning — voted against accepting the transfers.
Still looming, though, is how the district intends to handle out-of-district transfers in the future. The board and top district officials had made it clear that they desire a formalized shift away from accepting such transfers.
As we noted before, the district has routinely accepted transfers in the past. More than 1,000 students transferred into the district last school year, according to district reports. Even as the board initially denied the Classen transfers, it accepted transfers into other schools.
If the district and/or school board members envision a future where out-of-district transfers are eliminated or a rare exception, a community conversation is in order.
Officials should look at the numbers of in-district and out-of-district transfers for every school, figure out if the policies in place make sense and ask the community to weigh in.