WIAA considering new transfer rules at the high-school level

One of several amendments in front of the Washington Interscholastic Activity Association’s (WIAA) Rep Assembly could have big-time effects within the Federal Way School District.

The proposition, which will be voted on Friday at the Rep Assembly’s next meeting in Renton, will take control away from school districts regarding transfers from within the district. The WIAA currently doesn’t have a policy for intradistrict transfers and leaves the decisions up to individual institutions.

If the amendment passes next week, control will be given to one of nine statewide districts — the West Central District for the Federal Way schools. It would make all schools play by the same transfer rules.

“It would be huge,” said Greg Flynn, the district’s athletic liaison. “But I don’t think it will pass. Some people are opposed to it because it would be a huge work increase.”

In Federal Way, it would mean all intradistrict transfers of students who participate in sports would have to go through the West Central District eligibility committee. Currently, only student-athletes transferring from outside the district have to go through the district committee.

“The (committee) is already over-burdended and this would mean a massive increase in paper work,” Flynn said. “It would be a full-time job.”

Students transferring from one high school to another within the four Federal Way high schools is a very common practice because of a district policy called Choice Enrollment.

The policy was instituted well over a decade ago to give students a chance to attend a school that allows the best flexibility to succeed in their overall educational experience.

But questions have surfaced over the years about the Choice Enrollment policy being abused by athletes in the district.

The policy allows students living within the school’s assigned attendance area to have the first choice. Student requesting attendance in a school under the Choice provisions will be considered on a space-available basis.

The Federal Way School District’s policy on Choice Enrollment reads as follows: “The (board) supports the neighborhood school concept, but the board also recognizes the need for flexibility and increased options for students for whom attendance at another school is desirable. Therefore, students shall be allowed to make application to and attend the school of their choice based on space availability.”

The proposed WIAA amendment wouldn’t change Federal Way’s Choice policy, according to Flynn.

Other notable amendments that are scheduled to be voted on Friday include:

• A proposition that would change the current two-year classification cycle to four years. The amendment would alleviate some of the changes league’s make every two years and bring stability to leagues and districts. If approved, the amendment would take effect in the 2010-11 school year.

The South Puget Sound League and the Federal Way School District has been hit hard during the current two-year classification cycle. Two years ago, the league was forced to add a Class 3A division, which moved Federal Way, Decatur and Thomas Jefferson into the 4A SPSL North Division.

In the fall, Decatur will be moving back to the South, which includes Beamer, because Auburn and Auburn Riverside will be moving back into the North Division from 3A.

• Another amendment would make girls lacrosse a varsity sport. It would be the first new girls’ sport since bowling was introduced in 2001.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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