Info meetings set for transfer program

Published 10:12 pm Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The last two informational sessions for Suffolk Public Schools’ Majority-to-Minority program will be held Wednesday evening.

Three schools and 59 students currently participate in the program, which is meant to allow students zoned for a school where they are in the racial majority to attend a school where they will be in the minority.

The meetings on Wednesday will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Pioneer Elementary School and at 7 p.m. at Elephant’s Fork Elementary School.

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The school system adopted the program in 2014 when creating the new attendance zone for Pioneer Elementary School. The voluntary program helped the U.S. Department of Justice agree to the new zoning plan.

A fourth participating school, Elephant’s Fork Elementary School, will be added for the upcoming school year. Booker T. Washington and Mack Benn Jr. are the two current participants other than Pioneer.

Black students assigned to Booker T. Washington, Mack Benn Jr. and Elephant’s Fork will be given the opportunity to attend Pioneer, and white students assigned to Pioneer Elementary will be given the opportunity to attend Booker T. Washington, Mack Benn Jr. or Elephant’s Fork.

The division provides free transportation and ensures reasonable travel time for those students participating, according to division spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw. Students are allowed to complete their education at the school they start at under the transfer option. In addition, students will be given the option to attend the middle school where their elementary classmates are going — Forest Glen for Pioneer graduates and John F. Kennedy for the other three schools. Students could also attend the middle school they are zoned to attend.

Of the current 59 students who participate, 38 transferred from Booker T. Washington to Pioneer; 20 transferred from Mack Benn Jr. to Pioneer; and one transferred from Pioneer to Booker T. Washington.

Siblings of current participants are given preference in the case of a waiting list. Priority is also given to, in order, those who participated last year; Booker T. Washington; Mack Benn Jr.; and Elephant’s Fork.

A form to fill out to participate in the transfer option is available at