No More Alabama Kids Allowed In Florida Schools
October 1, 2008
School boards in Alabama and Florida are putting an end to the long standing practice of allowing Alabama students to cross the state line to attend Florida schools.
Since 1999, a written agreement between the school districts of Escambia County, Alabama, and Escambia County, Florida, has allowed up to 100 students per year from Escambia, Alabama, to attend school in Escambia County, Florida.
At a recent meeting of the Escambia County (Alabama) School Board, the board voted to rescind that agreement effective with the next school year. For the agreement to officially end, Escambia County, Florida, must rescind it as well.
The Escambia County (Florida) School Board will vote on revoking the agreement at a future meeting, district spokesperson Ronnie Arnold told NorthEscambia.com.
Once the agreement is gone, Alabama students currently enrolled in Escambia, Florida, schools will be allowed to finish the highest level offered by the school where they are currently enrolled.
“For example, an Alabama student in the third grade at Bratt Elementary would be allowed to attend school here through the fifth grade,” Arnold said. Once that child finished fifth grade, they would not be allowed to move on to middle school in Florida. A student attending Ernest Ward Middle School under the agreement would be allowed to finish the eighth grade but not be allowed to attend Northview High School.
“By and large, the decision to end this agreement had to do more with the Alabama system losing students to Florida,” Arnold said.
“You had parents that lived in say Atmore that worked in Cantonment that enrolled their students in Florida. It was just more feasible for the families,” he said.
Arnold said it is a complicated decision, because many parents wish to send their children to Florida schools because they feel they have more to offer. But the influx of Alabama students into already crowded Florida schools has created problems with Florida’s class size restrictions.
There is still at least one circumstance where a student that lives in Alabama might still be able to attend school in Florida. The student of divorced parents could live with one parent or guardian during the week in Alabama while their legal custodial parent is in Florida.
Escambia County (Alabama) Superintendent of Education Billy Hines did not return NorthEscambia.com’s phone calls after we left messages Tuesday on his voice mail and with a secretary.
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Pictured above: Of the 100 students from Alabama allowed to attend school in Escambia County, Florida, 18 of them attend Ernest Ward Middle School. Once an agreement between the districts in the two states is revoked, they will be allowed to continue at Ernest Ward but not move on to Northview High School. NorthEscambia.com photo.