senior transfer

From left, Joanna Hendricks, Derek Hendricks and Allyson Hendricks.

For the past three years, Derek Hendricks has commuted from Banning to attend Beaumont High School, where he has been playing football and baseball, and has been a member of the wrestling team. He has his sights on trying out for the water polo team.

The Banning school district signed off on waivers all through high school in order to allow him to transfer between districts.

Until this year.

According to a May 21 letter sent to the Hendricks family, signed by Banning’s director of Child Welfare & Attendance, Bryan Astrachan, their request was denied because it did “not meet the criteria for an Interdistrict Attendance Permit.”

His mother is confused and concerned at this unexpected response from the district, and is not pleased with the way she feels Banning has been handling the situation.

“I’m being told those previous requests shouldn’t have been approved,” by Banning School District Superintendent Robert Guillen, Christy Jo Hendricks said. “In the five minutes we met, he was adamant about not authorizing an interdistrict transfer. He told me that he was willing to authorize a transfer to Palm Springs. What’s up with that?”

She was livid. “I said to him, ‘You’re willing to allow him to transfer to Palm Springs, but not five minutes up the road to Beaumont? He said, ‘Yup.’ I couldn’t believe how I was treated. I was embarrassed for our district.”

Her three children, including one who is going to be an eighth-grader this year, and one who is supposed to be a sophomore at Beaumont High School this coming year, have been home schooled and enrolled in charter schools in years past.

They chose to send Derek to Beaumont High School so that he could take advantage of public school athletic opportunities, among several reasons.

Hendricks points out, “Beaumont’s schools had better performance, 100 percent of their teachers are full-time, and they have a high teacher retention rate” compared to Banning, which is hiring more than 12 teachers going into the school year that begins Aug. 7. She claimed that Banning High School has been an underperforming school for “several” years, criticized Banning for what she felt was a high student drop out rate, and praised Beaumont for having a higher college-going rate. She also expressed concerns over security issues in Banning.

“The way I was treated between Beaumont and Banning was night and day,” Hendricks said. “Beaumont says ‘Kids are our priority,’” and added, “If this is how Banning treats people, I can only imagine how they treat kids.”

She said that she suspects Banning wants to keep her children there in order to receive the state’s Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding that they would bring in.

Hendricks said that she has been contemplating her next move with the help of an attorney.

Superintendent Guillen told the Record Gazette on Tuesday that money was not a factor in determining whether or not it grants interdistrict transfers, considering that there are eight seniors who are vying for transfers from Banning to Beaumont High School, and at least one eighth-grader.

“I think it would be one thing if they moved to Banning after the start of the school year, and had already started their senior year at Beaumont,” Guillen said. “I would understand that. But this request is happening before they start their senior year,” and explained that, according to Guillen, the state’s education code states that a school district “may” approve interdistrict transfers, but does not require them to do so.

He also felt that the district’s current education policy is stricter than the state’s education code.

“We’ve given them the opportunity to appeal, and we will let the county decide whether to override our denial,” Guillen said. “There are rules, and they need to be followed. I can’t speculate why prior administrations allowed these transfers,” even though a few of them would have gotten through under his administration. He points out, “Approvals for transfers are for one year and one year only. They are not ongoing. Based on the ed code, students should finish school in the district where they are residing.”

According to the letter sent by director Astrachan, among the criteria the district may consider when determining approval of an interdistrict transfer include: a specialized high school program that is needed, but not provided at Banning High School, but is available at their target school; whether or not a parent of the student is employed by the district in which they wish to transfer to; childcare is available for a student younger than eighth-grade; and whether or not the student has started their senior year by the time of the request.

“Your reason for requesting transfer is not sufficient in order to warrant an approval,” Astrachan’s letter states. “When you move to a new school district, you must start the new year in your district of residence,” and advised the family to register their children with the Banning school district.

Guillen has said that he is consulting with his school board to see what the district might be able to do to curtail state education code requirements for the eight senior student interdistrict transfer requests it has received for this coming year.

Hendricks said that, if she exhausts all of her family’s appeal efforts, she will consider finding someone in Beaumont to sign over legal guardianship for Derek in order to let him finish his senior year there, or homeschool her children.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net.

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(15) comments

chaosnrasta

Actually, I never received a response from the school board either. I had heard that by law if you address the board at a meeting they have two weeks to respond to you. I never received anything. I am very disappointed with the process. Being elected officials, I am surprised by the way it was handled.

chaosnrasta

My transfer was denied for both of my children. My children will start 11th grade this year and 6th grade. They have always been granted transfers. They have always attended Beaumont Schools. This is the first year they were denied. I was shocked and disappointed by the way I was treated by the Superintendent of Banning. In fact I went to the School Board Meeting in May and informed the School Board about the way I was treated by Mr. Guillen. I had an appeal hearing in Riverside with the Office of Education today. Both denials were overturned. My children can attend their same schools now. I want everyone to know that I was so nervous when I attended that meeting. It was such an amazing experience. I was treated with the utmost respect at the Office of Education. It was such a positive experience. Good luck to all that have pending appeals.

Christy Jo

Thanks for the encouragement and congrats on your victory. What did the school board say to you when you went to speak to them in May? I did not receive any responses from my emails to them.

Summer

That's typical.

Christy Jo

So much information has come to light from this news reporting! I received notice today that the ruling has been overturned and my son MAY attend Beaumont. I still have to appear before the RCOE to appeal the decisions for my girls. Thanks for all the community support. I received this message from a "stranger" that shared in our same situation with her child, "Thank you for allowing your story to go public and shining some light on this situation. I truly believe the change of heart from the Banning school district had to do with your story and the response and support from other parents in the community." --Thanks Record Gazette for bringing this story to the people.

HollyB

ChristyJo My Senior daughter has been denied as well and we are to appear before the RCOE in August the day school starts. When we met with the superintendent last week, he told us that to allow our daughter this transfer, would not be fair to those he has previously denied. As of yesterday our daughters boyfriend's denial was overturned which adds more fuel to the fire, so to speak. So with this new information you've shared about your son's denial being overturned too, we are planning on meeting with the superintendent to give it another try. Praying for wisdom[beam]

Summer

Also, most parents are not aware that if Banning is a program improvement district (which we are), by law not only are we required to allow students to attend other districts, I believe we are also obligated to provide transportation to other districts.

Christy Jo

It seems like the law is on our side, but the law is being ignored. Thanks for posting, and keeping this topic "alive" we are not through fighting yet. So sorry employees are not treated better, they are on the front lines.

Summer

Christy Jo and SuburbanMumof4 - Sadly this is the way in which most employees are treated as well. [sad]

Christy Jo

I am so disappointed at the way the superintendent has responded to our request. I wonder if he treads adults with contempt and disrespect, how he probably treats students who are subordinates. When transfers are granted (no questions asked) for three consecutive years, then, in a students SENIOR year, they want to uproot him, along with his siblings, something is inherently wrong with his judgement. I am equally disappointed with the school board who has not returned any of my correspondence. I did get a call back from Mrs. Franklin's office, when I requested dialogue about how this situation is affecting the view of our city and making our community seem insensitive and flippant when seeking the best interest of the student. This injustice is infuriating as a parent. Beaumont has granted transfers to Banning, why won't Banning cooperate in the best interest of our kids?

Nikki Allen Attorney at Law

The Banning School District is violating its own policies by denying these children the right to attend the same school that hey have attended for 3 years. The oldest child has played 3 sports, including Varsity football for his entire high school career. Now, they want him and his sisters to switch schools, which would be a devestating experience for these children. I am working with the parents to fight this injustice. We are taking this to the Riverside Board of Education to appeal this decision. Any questions, feel free to contact me at nikki@nbadesertlaw.com.

lorr

http://pub.schoolwisepress.com/smart/browse/hein3.html

Christy Jo

Thank you, I'm sharing this with my Attorney!

Joseph Parker

If the Kern High School District can transfer one from Delano to Southwest Bakersfield this district can accommodate the transfer. under Dr. Donald Carter KHSD has held to their mission but this district got off track on theirs.

SuburbanMumof4

Once a child has been admitted to a school the deal has been made. This young man has been been a student at Beaumont HS for the last 3 years and should remain so until he graduates. I can't believe School District Superintendent Robert Guillen states he doesn't know how the mistake happened! Really?? You don't know your own procedures and processes?? Robert Guillen knows nothing about about the developmental and social needs of a teenager if he intends to force this young man to change schools in his Senior Year of High School. Banning proves over and over that children are not a priority.

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