The Tracy Unified School District Board of Education denied the Price family’s request to send a visiting French student to Tracy High with his daughter during a June 25 board meeting.
Price said he hoped Emil Soler-My, 16, would attend Tracy High alongside 15-year-old Cameron.
“It’s a very, very old (board) policy,” Price said. “It made sense when there was only Tracy High School and West High School.”
The board upheld an earlier ruling by Paul Hall, TUSD director of student services and curriculum, who said Tracy High was overcrowded.
Price hoped to get the decision reversed before the start of school on Monday, Aug. 12.
However, the next school board meeting isn’t until Tuesday, Aug. 13.
Price said reasons for the request included the family’s familiarity with Tracy High’s campus and staff, assistance his daughter could provide to Soler-My, and the logistics of driving to two high schools each day, as well as a middle school for the Prices’ younger daughter.
Soler-My was expected to arrive Thursday, Aug. 8.
“My biggest concern is he’s coming to a foreign country away from his parents for a year and that’s enough stress,” Price said. “We want to make sure he has the best experience as possible.”
According to Hall, the issue is a simple numbers game.
“We review the first two to three weeks of school and make sure students going in the seats are there, and then after we can reassess what we can do and not do,” Hall said. “It’s based on numbers.”
Hall said TUSD has one or two foreign students scheduled this year, and both will go to West High.
Last year, another local resident, Robert Erler, said his family was denied the same request for a boy visiting from Slovakia.
He said his son was attending Tracy High and the family wanted to have both boys at the same school.
“We fought with the school board and had two special meetings,” Erler said. “The bottom line is they’re going to do what’s not necessary to make a point.”
Erler said the exchange student adapted and became a prominent member of West’s wrestling team. However, the process was “extremely stressful” and “painful” for his family, he said.
“I felt that it was an exception or consideration that should have been made,” Erler said. “I think it would be really good for the community, any high school, to have the ability to have foreign exchange students in their lives and learn from them.”
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