By Shrida Pandey, Online News Editor
// In 2018, the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) Governing Board voted to deny most interdistrict transfers due to budgetary concerns. The decision, which went into effect during the 2019-2020 school year, sparked controversy throughout the Lamorinda community.
Due to rising support against the policy, the Board agreed to revise it on Wednesday to allow more students outside of AUHSD to attend district schools.
Although the district still gives priority acceptance to AUHSD students and the children of partner-school districts’ employees, with the new policy, students outside of AUHSD can also apply to attend district schools. The district will enroll students in a specific school depending on school impaction, enrollment, and other financial concerns.
“I’m not totally in favor of the district assigning schools to students, but it could be an issue if [schools are] full to capacity because then, class sizes are too large and it becomes harder for students to learn,” junior Kyra Ariker said.
Other students understood the difficulty the Board faced when making their decision.
“I think it definitely is a tough call. I can see why people would be mad that people who don’t pay taxes can go to school here, but overall I think it was a good move [to pass the policy] on the district’s part,” senior Kylie Alfaro said.
During the meeting, more than 20 AUHSD students and parents highlighted the benefits of instating interdistrict transfers.
“AUHSD students were essential to this policy being passed. Additionally, students mobilizing also increased parent awareness and support, which the Board takes very seriously. This was a student and alumni-led effort from the very beginning, going all the way back to 2018,” the Acalanes Union Coalition for Transfer Students Digital Media Section Head Athena Davis said.
Students and parents pointed out that transfer students would bring greater diversity to the district both racially and socioeconomically.
“Interdistrict transfers will bring in different perspectives of students that are needed to our school. It is valuable for our district to have students who do not necessarily live here,” junior Caroline Crossland said.
Although some students and parents fully supported the policy being passed, others voiced their concerns about the effect it would have on neighboring districts
“The district these students leave will lose money because they are highly likely not Basic Aid schools and they will lose their income, so we are stripping another district of very needed funds by accepting their students,” Board member Kathy Coppersmith said at the meeting.
Overall, community members hope that the policy brings the district one step closer to granting equal opportunities for all students, regardless of their parents’ income.
“I think sometimes money can make people see in black and white, and I think situations like this definitely aren’t just black and white. Some people need different accommodations for school, and I think if our district can help them out, then why shouldn’t we?” Alfaro said.