Ooltewah High leads county with 101 hardship transfer students - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Ooltewah High leads county with 101 hardship transfer students

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Questions have arisen recently about hardship transfers within Hamilton County schools.  In the wake of the assault/rape allegations at Ooltewah High School, some have asked about “out of zone” students in various schools.  Some who identify themselves as Ooltewah parents have expressed concern that a disproportionate number of students who attend the school do not live in the Ooltewah zone. Ooltewah High School has one of the highest percentage of students who are not zoned for that school. Nearly 7% of the school population is actually zoned to attend another school.

Channel 3 Eyewitness News has obtained the list of Hamilton County high school hardships on file for the 2015-16 school year.

Ooltewah leads all other schools with 101 hardship requests granted, with 12 requests denied. But Ooltewah is one of the largest schools in the county.

East Hamilton is in second place with 87 requests granted, and only 3 denied.

Those two schools are well ahead of all other Hamilton County high schools. 

Here is the complete list.  The first number after each school’s name is the hardships granted.  The second number is hardships denied. The third number is the percentage of the student body that comes from “hardship” requests.

Lookout Valley has the highest proportion of “hardship” students at 17.6% of the student body. Second is East Hamilton with 8.3% followed by Ooltewah with 6.9%. Red Bank (6.5%) and Hixson (5.4%) round out the top five.

Here is the complete list.  The first number after each school’s name is the hardships granted.  The second number is hardships denied. The third number is the percentage of the student body that comes from “hardship” requests.

Ooltewah  101 – 12  (6.9%)

East Hamilton  87- 3  (8.3%)

Red Bank  50- 13 (6.5%)

Hixson  48- 7  (5.4%)

Soddy-Daisy  38- 4  (3.0%)

Lookout Valley  36- 7   (17.6%)

Central  35 – 4  (3.7%)

East Ridge 35 – 18  (8.3%)

Signal Mtn. 34 – 0  (4.8%

Sale Creek  8- 0  (2.6%)

Howard  2- 2   (0.3%)

Tyner  1 – 3  (0.1%)

Brainerd  0- 0  (0%)

Opinions vary on the reasons hardship transfers are granted or denied, and why there are large gaps in the number requested for each school.

Assistant Supt. Dr. Lee McDade told Eyewitness News that many students who live in the Birchwood area request transfers to Ooltewah for transportation and convenience purposes.  He said that East Hamilton’s requests are high due to rezoning changes that took place when the school opened six years ago.

One former teacher who has worked in Ooltewah area schools claims that Ooltewah High has long “recruited” star athletes and good students from other Hamilton County schools.  The former teacher, who asked not to be named, said that Ooltewah administrators and coaches would identify classes offered by Ooltewah that were not available at a student’s zoned school.  They would then advise the student on how to fill out the hardship form, indicating that the particular class was the reason for the transfer request.

McDade, former assistant principal at Ooltewah, said he was not aware of so-called recruiting or other unfair practices by school administrators in luring good students or athletes to the school.

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