Albany is losing more students to Lebanon schools this year so far than it usually does, likely because of a popular fifth-year college program that Albany also is investigating.
Frank Caropelo, assistant superintendent for Greater Albany Public Schools, gave that information Jan. 14 in an annual transfer report to the Albany school board.
The report also included in-district transfer figures showing the number of students who transfer from South Albany to West Albany High School is down, but still more than twice as many as the number of students making the return trip.
Transfer reports reflect the number of approved transfer applications. Currently, students leaving or entering the Albany school district must file a new transfer application each year, even if they have attended a different school for many years.
Still, the number of applications to leave the district are on the rise. Caropelo’s report shows 217 transfer requests had been approved as of Dec. 1 for students leaving Albany for other school districts, and only 91 had transferred in from other districts. That’s consistent with a three-year trend of losing students to other districts.
Most of the departing students enroll in Corvallis schools, but Lebanon is second-highest on the list and steadily rising.
Twenty-nine Albany students transferred to Lebanon in 2009-10, and 45 transferred back. The following year, 36 went to Lebanon and 33 came back, and last year, 39 went to Lebanon and 42 came back.
As of Dec. 1 this year, 47 students had left Albany for Lebanon, with 37 Lebanon students transferring back. GAPS Superintendent Maria Delapoer said 22 of the outgoing requests specifically cited Lebanon’s “Beyond LHS” college credit program as their reason for leaving.
“This is something we’re investigating as well,” she told board members. “We’re hoping to recapture these students.”
Corvallis has received 106 students from Albany schools so far this year and transferred just 13 back. Last year, Corvallis received 98 students and transferred eight back.
Students leave Albany for a variety of reasons, but three-quarters of them tell the district it’s because a parent’s job changed or because of child care availability in the new location, Delapoer said.
Within the Albany district, the report showed 78 students so far this year have received approval to transfer from South Albany High School to West Albany High School, and 28 have received approval to go the other direction.
Last year, 93 students total received approval to leave South for West, with 34 receiving approval to go from West to South. That was down from the year before, when 101 left South for West and 32 went from West to South.
District officials say they believe the number of students who leave South will continue to go down. Timber Ridge School will graduate its second class of eighth-graders this spring, all of whom are considered to be in South’s enrollment boundary. Over time, this is expected to help swing the balance.
West Albany High School currently has 1,380 students and South has 1,287. However, many transfer requests come in at the semester change, which is Friday.