As a school superintendent, I have been asked about Bill Nemitz’s Sept. 2 column that criticized Commissioner Stephen Bowen for overruling superintendents on student transfer requests (“New twist on school shopping season”). Mr. Nemitz’s wrath could be directed toward the Legislature, but not the commissioner.

Maine law allows students to transfer if both sending and receiving superintendents find it “in the student’s best interest.”

When I first became superintendent Down East, my colleagues quickly educated me that child care was not a valid consideration. I routinely denied requests based on child care.

Once I became Lewiston superintendent, my opinion changed. Lewiston has school choice among its elementary schools. My office receives 500 such requests yearly. Overwhelmingly, requests are because a relative or child care is available in another of our six districts. Often, it makes a difference in whether a parent be employed or continue their education.

While Commissioner Bowen is viewing the law differently from his predecessors, I support his interpretation. The Legislature can change the law during the next session, if it wishes.

Superintendents are rightly concerned about the impact on local funding if districts are increasingly forced to accept out-of-district students. The Legislature needs to decide if we are a local control state where opportunities and local dollars for students stop at municipal borders; or if we are a state with equal opportunity for all, regardless of where students live.

Here, school funding should essentially be a state function, perhaps, with a statewide property assessment. I am concerned about a system where per-pupil expenditures from wealthy communities can be $20,000, and for poorer communities less than $10,000.

Whatever path chosen, I cannot fault parents for wanting the best for their children.