At the last BISD board meeting, Thomas accused outlying districts of only accepting students with high grades when they apply for transfer.
She said that BISD was losing 500-600 students to outlying districts — specifically to Pettus and Skidmore-Tynan, although she did not mentioned them directly.
Were those students attending BISD schools, Thomas said, the district’s STAAR scores would have been higher.
She said she had filed freedom of information requests asking each district to list the names and addresses of each BISD student attending class in their district, noting that as of Feb. 19, Skidmore-Tynan and Pawnee had not yet responded.
As of Tuesday, Pawnee has sent in its list but Skidmore still has not responded, Thomas says.
The Bee-Picayune was in error in reporting that Pettus had not responded.
“We received her request Feb. 14 and responded the next day,” Thompson says. “We have 43 students from BISD.”
At issue is what criteria outlying districts use to accept students.
Thomas says they only take students who have better grades — a practice that some BISD officials say is illegal.
While not denying that he checks students’ grades if they apply for transfer, Thompson says he also checks their behavior (discipline) record and their attendance record.
“Attendance is very important,” he says. “A student who does not attend school affects our state funding. “Grades are not the only thing we look at.”
Guidelines the PISD uses to accept students, he says, are posted on the district’s website.
If Thompson is outspoken about Thomas’ statements, Skidmore-Tynan Superintendent Dr. Brett Belmarez is laconic.
“I would welcome a conversation with Dr. Thomas,” Belmarez said, “but the newspaper is not the appropriate place to have a discussion with colleagues.”
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.