A bill that would allow relatives other than parents or guardians to enroll children in local school systems is worrying some educators who fear the legislation would encourage "school shopping" across the state.
Sen. George Barker (D-Alexandria) introduced SB 217 to help children from troubled homes stay in school, Leesburg Today reported. For instance: a child whose parents disappear or go through a divorce could seek refuge at a relative's house and continue their education in that jurisdiction.
But the bill, expected to come up for a House vote in the next few days, also comes with unintended consequences, opponents say, the largest of which is families who could exploit the bill to place their children in better schools or programs.
Del. Mark Keam (D-35th) told Leesburg Today he's heard from constituents who worry that a star basketball player could go to live with a cousin or uncle to play on team more frequently visited by college scouts; a talented musician could live with a grandparent to take advantage of a better music program.
If the bill, which passed the Senate 23-17 on Feb. 14, is also passed by the House in the next week, it will likely get Gov. Bob McDonnell's signature.
The bill does include a sunset clause, which sets the act to expire on June 30, 2015.
“Even if bill passes, let's be diligent and make sure we're keeping an eye on this," Keam told Leesburg Today.
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