Pelham BOE accepts nonresident student policy

The Pelham BOE accepted a nonresident student policy during a May 27 meeting, allowing for certain non-resident students to enroll in Pelham schools, officials said. (File)

The Pelham BOE accepted a nonresident student policy during a May 27 meeting, allowing for certain non-resident students to enroll in Pelham schools, officials said. (File)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—The Pelham Board of Education voted to accept a nonresident student policy for the new Pelham City School System during a May 27 Board of Education meeting.

This policy will allow children of Pelham City Schools employees and children of employees of facilities serving Pelham students, such as the Linda Nolen Learning Center, to attend a Pelham school even if they do not live in Pelham.

Interim Superintendent Dr. Tim Alford noted such a policy was “common practice” in other school systems, and “not a departure from current practice” under the Shelby County School system.

Pelham Board of Education President Rick Rhoades said the School Board had received a number of questions regarding such a policy and it was “just a general statement” the School Board needed have in place.

“Every system has some sort of (nonresident student) policy,” Rhoades said during a May 30 phone interview. “Basically they’re very similar.”

Rhoades explained Pelham City Schools “looked at a lot of different policies” when drafting the one adopted on May 27.

This policy not only enables the children of employees to enroll in Pelham schools, it also gives the Board of Education flexibility to enroll nonresidents students in exceptional cases for “the best interest of the students,” Alford said during the May 27 meeting.

Alford offered the example of bullying as an exceptional circumstance that may necessitate one or more students to attend a school outside of their residential area.

“Extenuating circumstances that come before the board will be evaluated,” Rhoades said, adding the clause built in the “elasticity” the Board needed.

Although acceptance of the nonresident student policy is an important step for the new Pelham BOE, the Pelham City School System is still awaiting finalization of the separation agreement with the Shelby County School System.

“We’re hopeful (to reach an agreement) by the middle of June, but there’s nothing definite yet,” Rhoades said. “We want to make sure every ‘t’ is crossed and every ‘I’ is dotted.”