Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bossier Parish Schools need to clarify transfer policy

The Bossier Parish School system seems to be having some issues in dealing with ‘out of district’ transfers. Below is an excerpt from the Student Handbook issued by the school system dealing with these transfers.
I have been made aware of several cases in which it appears that the decision not to allow enrollment was made without good cause, and in some cases in defiance of direct court orders.
The first and simplest was a mother from the northern part of the parish who wanted to put her daughter in school in Benton where she works, so she could deliver her to school and pick her up from school. To my untrained eye, it seems that this would fall under Section B below. She was denied outright by Debbie Hays, Supervisor of Special Programs.
Another case resulted from the same reason, with a different twist. The board now requires a provisional custody to an after school caregiver signed by a judge in order to enroll in a different district. In this case, the judge signed the order and Ms. Hays refused to honor it. On inquiring about it, I found that the child has been enrolled due to the intervention of the Superintendent.
The third case involves a custody case in which the judge ordered that the child be enrolled in Benton Elementary School for the school year beginning in August of 2009, and “continuing until further order of this court”. The child was enrolled, attended and was prepared to return in 2010. In June of 2010 Ms. Hays told the parent that a new court order would be required every year, despite the wording of the original order. Rather than argue the point, the person requested, and the judge signed, another order.
Ms. Hays refused to honor the court order and would not enroll the child.
Attorney Lane Pittard filed suit on behalf of the parent, naming the Bossier Parish School Board and Debbie Hays as defendants. The suit asked for injunctive relief from the court and for a temporary restraining order until the matter could be heard on August 26th.
The suit said, among other things,
  • “However, Debbie Hays, Supervisor of Special Programs, Bossier Parish School Board, has repeatedly refused to follow said Orders of this Honorable Court and informed the father of the minor child, namely (name omitted), that she would not permit the minor child to be enrolled in Benton Elementary.”
The suit was filed on July 28th. School Board President Bill Kostelka was served with the suit on August 4th. On August 12th, Mr. Pittard requested that the matter be removed from the docket for August 26th, “as the parties have resolved the issues’.  As I understand it, the 'parties' decided to enroll the child.
I’m not picking on Debbie Hays, but she is the Supervisor of Special Programs and is charged with dealing with these transfers, and she was the person who refused to honor the court order.
How about Citizens Privilege?
Pittard argued in his petition to the court that the ‘employees privilege’ policy of the board (see 'C' below), in which an employee of the system is allowed to enroll their child at the school where they work, violates the equal protection clause of the State Constitution.
Apparently the folks at the school board haven’t noticed that in the last 40 years or so people are not pleased when public employees enjoy privileges that ordinary citizens don’t have.  I personally don't have a problem with teachers enrolling their children in the school where they work.  I also don't have a problem with any parent enrolling their child in a school near their work when it is out of the district in which they live.
The board needs to clarify their policy on transfers and make it consistent. Don’t allow certain people to transfer their kids when other people, who meet the same criteria, are denied.
Out-of-District Student Transfer Policy
(from the Students Handbook)
The Bossier Parish School Board’s intent is that all students attend their
neighborhood schools, but the Board permits out-of-district transfers for school
attendance for the following reasons:
A. Majority-to-Minority- A majority-to-minority (M/M) transfer is defined as a transfer by a student attending a school in which his/her race is in the majority chooses to attend another school, where space is available and where his/her race is in the minority.
B. Child Tending Services-(Grades K-6 Only)-A child tending transfer is defined to be the transfer of a K-6 student from one school to another school located in close proximity to any agency or individual (whose address is appropriate for NEW school) providing before school and/or after school care for a student. Before a child tending transfer may be granted, it must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of school system officials that the single parent or both parents work outside the home and that the agency/individual assigned child care responsibilities before and/or after school actually provides such full time services.
C. Employee Privilege-Any employee of the Bossier Parish School Board has the right to request a transfer for his child which would allow the child to attend the school (primary) at which the employee works or the grade level school appropriate in the same attendance zone. Such employee privilege transfer request must be made at the beginning of each school year or at the time of employment at each particular school site and will last for the remainder of that particular school year.
D. Family Hardship-Family hardship is defined as an event or circumstance that would place a student in physical, mental, or academic jeopardy. Appropriate documentation of the hardship must be provided to school system officials. A student’s after-school work or child care concerns is not considered a family hardship nor is participation of the student in school co-curricular or extracurricular activities. A student is allowed to pre-enroll in a school for a period of ninety (90) days if valid proof that a bona fide move into the attendance district will occur before the end of the ninety-day (90) period.
E. Medical Reason- Medical hardship is defined as a severe and/or life threatening medical problem of a student necessitating placement of the student in a particular school for immediate receipt of medical attention. Before a medical hardship transfer will be granted, the child’s treating physician or other medical health care provider must specify in writing why the medical needs of the student mandate transfer of that student to another school. School system officials reserve the right to request additional medical information in the event that they find the information submitted by parents in conjunction with such request to be incomplete or insufficient.
F. Senior Privilege-If, after a student’s eleventh (11th) grade year, his home attendance zone changes, that student has the right to request a transfer back to the school where he completed the eleventh (11th) grade.
G. Intervention-initiated by school system officials. If school system officials feel that it is in the best interest of the school system to administratively transfer a student from one school to another, they shall have the right to do so even in cases where parents have not requested transfer of their children.
Out-of-district transfer applications are available at any school, the Bossier
Parish Resource Center, the Bossier Parish Evaluation Center, or the Bossier Parish
Central Office. Applications must be submitted to the Supervisor of Special Programs
for approval, and approval must be granted prior to enrollment. Requests are approved
for one (1) school year and must be renewed by application each year. In order to
determine the cumulative effect of transfers, the Bossier Parish School Board requires
all transfers to be submitted by the third (3rd) Monday in July, with the exception of
majority to minority transfers. Majority to minority applications must be submitted by the
last student attendance day of the school year. Only bona fide emergency transfers will
be considered after that date.

41 comments:

  1. If that is the policy of the BPSB as stated in the handbook, how can Hays violate it and still be employed??? Just another reason to vote in October!

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  2. Who is this woman? She has to be kin to someone in order for her to be able to disregard a court order and still be employed? Wait... I bet she is kin to Machen.....Most of the teachers in the parish are!

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  3. Mrs Hayes is the sister of sheriff Larry Dean.

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  4. Larry Deen's sister.....Well, that explains how she has kept her job. Guess she is just as looney as he is!

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  5. WOW!!! this seems to be serious stuff. jim, you seem to point out things that someone has pointed out to you that dont affect anything or anybody else in the parish. i mean, if there has been some court hearing where some judge has ordered some kid to be enrolled in the school system, follow that order. unless, of course, you know more than the judge

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  6. They ought to change the name of Bossier City and Bossier Parish to either Crony City in Nepotism Parish. If a serious crime were to be commited within the higher levels of Bossier (city, parish, and school board)leadership ot would be impossible toi use DNA, because everybody would be a suspect.

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  7. I'm interested in seeing exactly how many out of parish transfers were approved. I understand custody issues ( one week with mom in Bossier, next week stay with dad in Minden) but what about all the Webster and Bienville and Caddo kids who attend schools here? Who approved their transfers? Also, the children who have transfered here from Bradley Arkansas schools?? How many did or did not meet the criteria?

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  8. It's obvious that Debbie's superiors dont have the nerve to control her. I don't think an audit will do any good since it would probably be handled internally(covered up). I do think the best course of action would be for Lane to put his lawsuit back on the docket and see wgat happens. If it has merit then there would be repercussions for Debbie Hays. Sine the judgement would be handed down through the courts it should be free from "my brother is the sheriff" politics. Lane, your client may have her issue taken care of for now but what about the other parents who still have the same problem and no one to help them. JMHO

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  9. Jim, I don't see any record of this suit on the Clerk of Court website. Can you help with a docket number?

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  10. That looks to me like a state or federal docket number. Try those courts.

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  11. It was filed in Bossier

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  12. It was a new filing on an older Bossier docket #

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  13. Who care about the transfer policy - what matters is these poor teachers, paras adn staff just had their bonus voted down -

    Why don't yall pay these people a living wage for once

    VOTE THE SCHOOL BOARD OUT

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  14. There is no board.... There is a woman (Debbie Hays) that is controling most of it. Deal with that problem first. She needs to go.

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  15. I am glad they keep kids out of Benton. There are way to many kids enrolled. We should bus any transfers to Shreveport schools to help with their test scores.

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  16. The last comment concerning " keeping kids out of Benton" sounds like it came straight out of Debbie Hays mouth!! If you don't like the enrollment numbers at Benton~ send your kid to Plain Dealing.... Better yet home school your precious snow flake!!!

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  17. The out of district transfers are not overcrowding Benton schools. Debbie Hays is trying to control everything like her brother seems to do. She quotes a court order that prevents her from approving transfers. I don't think one exists that prevents transfers. If it did exist it would make her job obsolete....right? I think the lawsuit should go forward and let her and her coworkers explain themselves to the courts they seem to have no respect for. DC and Scott Smith are just showing their lack of leadership. They should be setting an example for our kids.

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  18. Who cares about this woman - focus on the School Board Budget that is about to be over $180million -

    I mean really - what are we getting for our money -

    Focus Focus Focus

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  19. This blog is a joke! Lop sided and misinforming.

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  20. I think you're a little lop-sided. If anything we printed is misinformation, tell me what it is. If you prove to be right, I'll correct it.
    If it turns out that I'm right, you can admit that you were wrong.
    Fair enough?

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  21. Perhaps you are misinformed because you don't have all of the facts of the cases mentioned. Why don't you give us some names so it can be checked out?

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  22. I'll bet you would like that.

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  23. Anon 8:48.... Why don't you put up some contact info so we can contact you?

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  24. It is probably Amy Masters trying to find out who is making waves. She reports back to Debbie Hays on parents who are enrolling with court orders.

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  25. anon 11:31; help us out here. There is no Amy Masters listed in the Directory of District Employees. There is an Amy Litton & Amy Montgomery. Does the person you're speaking of work for the school board?

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  26. Mrs. Mason, Asst. Principal at Benton Middle is also a member of the Hays Hotwire and let's don't forget Ms. Gilmore who also has that direct line. Also, not all school board employees names are available on the BPSB web site.......It really amazes me how these women have gotten away with all this!

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  27. Jim: Something to look into....word is that there is a school board member that has asked that Mrs. Hays's actions be investigated. Although it may not be public record yet, it seems as though her almost $100,000 per year job may be in jeopardy. To begin the clean up of Bossier parish, I think we all know that it has to start with the Sheriff! Once his influence is eliminated, everything else will start to smell better.

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  28. Anonymous said...
    I had to bust all of you who have spent the time writing negative comments about Ms. Hays. You all just on the chuckwagon like a bunch of flies. If you did you homework, you would of found that Ms. Hays was only doing her job as outlined in the handbook. Let me ask all of you....would you want someone who lives in Bradley, Ark., and who is not a citizen of Benton, Bossier or the state, be able to enroll her child in Benton; only because it helps her because she works at the Bossier Courthouse for Schyler Marvin. When she talked to Ms. Hays, she was asked for a residence. She said her address was in Bradley, Ark. Ms. Hays told her that she could not enroll her child in a Bossier Parish School system because she is not a resident. The rest is all political....I don't have to spell it out. You have caused an undue hardship on Ms. Hays without doing your homework. You should be ashamed!!!

    August 28, 2010 5:23 PM


    Anonymous said...
    Are you saying the judge who signed the court order does not know the law? Who was the judge?

    August 29, 2010 12:39 AM


    Can anyone answer....

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  29. It seems that if you work for BSO your children can go to school anywhere in the parish, but work for any other parish office and your out of luck....Hays feet should feel alittle hot from the fire right about now! She has underhandedly denied court orders and approved transfers for family friends and her brother's employees! It's all in black and white and a matter of public record. If Hays has done her job and done nothing wrong, why is she worried or distraught by the postings on this blog???? I'm sure her brother will give her a job as a Operation Exodus cordinator!

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  30. I am very surprised that you didn't do your homework on this. You need to get the facts of how many people apply for out-of-district, how many are approved, and how many are denied. One of the cases that you are referring to involves a monther that lives in Bradley, Arkansas and works at the Bossier Parish courthouse with Schyler Marvin. HE issued a court order for the child, for no apparent reason other than the mother works for him. Who is doing favors?? Ms. Hays DID NOT deny her, she sent the paperwork in. The mother, impatient, started this whole mess when she was not notified that the child could be enrolled. The child's father lives in Blanchard. I'm sure that every person that wanted to be approved will LOVE to hear that someone from Arkansas can go to a Bossier school because of who she works for. I think that some things need to be clarified.
    Ms. Hays has worked in the parish for years, and has worked up through the ranks. She has not ever been given favors, and most people who work with her love her. She is a hard worker and she has a lot of responsibility.
    I have always thought that you have a fair, un-opinionated blog, but this is the worst I have ever seen. This is a matter of public record. How many people think that it is fair that someone can come in from out-of-state and attend our schools, not pay our TAXES, not vote in our area, but benefit from our educational system? Just because she works with the DA and can get a court order? I think you need to do a little more investigating Jim...

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  31. I do try to be fair to all sides, and I will investigate it further.

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  32. I hope ms hays buys you lunch for that crap you just fed us. I live in bossier parish. I applied for a transfer and was told by ms hays that my children could not transfer because of their race and where I lived. The issue on this blog is that the school board requested that any transfers by court order should be done by a petition with a judgement attached and not by a mandate. Ms hays then thinks it is up to her to impose extra requirements on the parents or simply disregard a court order. And for the record anyone one can get a court order if they show cause. You make it sound like the judges are only handing them out to parish employees. Do your homework and tell Debbie we said hi.

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  33. I cannot understand why Debbie Hays is under attack for following policy. If you want your child to attend a certain school, buy a house in that district, pay taxes in Bossier Parish. if you don't like Bossier Parish and our low crime rate, move to Caddo. You will love it over there.

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  34. Anon 9:42.... I think you are brilliant!! While were at it why don't we say that if you want to teach at a certain school and have your child go there then you need live in that district. What's good for one is good for all....right? Now, after you think about that for a while and realize the complications it would cause come back and give a better solution. Tell Debbie we said hi.

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  35. And no one is saying Debbie is not following policy. They are saying she disregards court orders (which rank higher than school policy) and ignores school policy when it suits her. I understand there are politics involved with everything but my children don't give a damn who Debbie is related to. What she does and is doing involves them. And for the record I live in bossier parish and pay taxes, spend my lunch money, gas money, school supply money, and anything else my wife approves here in Bossier.

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  36. I don't care who Hays is related to or what her title is.... I do care that she makes up her own rules and disregards policy and procedures! My child lives in the district he attends school in and my tax dollars pay her over the top salary! Give me a max of $30,000 a year and I will do her job and follow the rules and court orders that come across my desk! She is a liability to BPSB, causing multiple lawsuits and such....I am tired of the nonsense up in Benton and will vote in Oct!!!! This has got to stop!! Someone should call the media or the La Dept of Education and have the entire board investigated!!!

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  37. the person who used the term "snowflake" is obviously racist and I hope their child is NOT homeshooled.

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  38. Never send ur kids to plain dealing! It's a horrible school! The teachers are horrible and old! Benton is the best school for your child.

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  40. I want to share with all of you that I am a Bossier Parish resident and requested a transfer for my child to another Bossier parish school and was told "no". The reason that I inquired about a transfer is because I suffer from MS and kidney/heart issues and rely on my parents who work almost literally across the street from Greenacres to help me with my child if I am having issues. I think that this is a legitimate issue and I feel I was not given proper consideration in the initital phone conversation. The school is also 0.4 miles from my home compared to a nice drive across town to Rusheon Middle School at 2.1 miles from my home. Why they would put children who are so close like this in another school across town is beyond me! And secondly, I was asked what race my child is.....well, my child is white...um, exactly what color does my child need to be to get a transfer AND what does that have to do with my health issues and my reliance on my parents???? I am no idiot...I am educated (RN for 17 years) and I pay taxes just like everyone else!! I am disgusted. I look forward to being referred to "the board". SAD SAD SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AMM from Bossier Parish

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