By Candace Birkelbach
Killeen Daily Herald
Students at 831 schools in Texas will have the option to transfer to a different school or another district because of low performance on the TAKS test.
Three schools from the Killeen Independent School District were among those listed under the Public Education Grant program. Those schools were Fairway and Smith middle schools and Shoemaker High School.
Schools listed by the PEG program are those in which 50 percent or more of the students did not pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test in any two of the preceding three years or were rated Academically Unacceptable in 2005, 2006, or 2007 under the statewide accountability system, according to the Texas Education Agency Web site.
Houston led all districts with 89 schools on the list, while Dallas came in second with 74. More than 10 percent of the state's schools made the list, but the total number decreased from 924 last year, according to TEA.
Students at these schools have the option of transferring within the district or to another district for the 2008-09 school year.
Districts must notify parents at these schools of their transfer options by Feb. 1, 2008.
Intra-district transfers are explicitly permitted, although no additional funding is provided for this type of transfer.
Inter-district transfers may be refused or accepted by the district receiving the transfer request, the TEA Web Site states.
Supplemental funding will be provided for the new district if costs exceed state aid benefits.
DeEtta Culbertson, TEA spokesperson, said that when the Education Code was re-written, this program was put in place to give students the opportunity to leave chronically low-performing schools.
Culbertson said the PEG program has been in place since the mid-1990s.
Under the Public Education Grant program, schools that accept transfer students receive an extra 10 percent in funding per pupil.
"Math and science were the most common reasons for a school to be unacceptable," said Debbie Ratcliffe, a TEA spokeswoman.
Education officials estimated that as many as 500,000 students are enrolled at the 831 schools.
The number of students who take advantage of the transfer option is expected to be low, because the program doesn't provide funding for transportation to a new school. Fewer than 3,000 students have used the program to transfer since the program was implemented.
KISD Superintendent Dr. Jim Hawkins could not be reached for comment by press time.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Contact Candace Birkelbach at email@example.com or call (254) 501-7553