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May12

Policy Alert: Open Enrollment

ASBSD Policy Alert will be your source for the latest updates, commentary and information on school board policy.

 

HB 1033: Revises open enrollment provisions regarding the application review process of siblings of open enrolled students.

 

An Open Enrollment statute, SDCL 13-28-43, was amended by HB 1033 to ensure that students from the same family all be given the opportunity to attend school in the same nonresident school district.

 

ASBSD has amended sample policy JECB:  Open Enrollment (See below).

 


 

OPEN ENROLLMENT

 

State law provides nonresident parents and students an opportunity to apply for enrollment within the District.  It also allows resident parents and students an opportunity to apply for enrollment in an attendance center within the District other than that to which the student has been assigned.

 

The parent or legal guardian of a South Dakota kindergarten through twelfth grade student, or a student who is at least 18 years old, and resides in another school district (i.e., nonresident student), and who wishes to enroll the student in the District, or the parent or legal guardian of a South Dakota kindergarten through twelfth grade student, or a student who is at least 18 years old, and resides within the District and wishes to enroll the student at an attendance center within the District other than that to which the student has been assigned, must apply to open enroll in the School District.

 

  1. Nonresident student open enrollment:  The District shall grant a request for a transfer into the district of a child who is a resident of another school district unless the transfer would result in an inability to provide a quality educational program based on criteria established by the District pursuant to statute and this policy.
  1. Nonresident alternative instruction student open enrollment:  The District shall grant a request to admit into the district a child who is a resident of another school district and who is receiving alternative instructionin the resident district pursuant to law, unless admitting the nonresident child would result in an inability to provide a quality educational program based on criteria established by the District pursuant to statute and this policy.
  1. Resident student open enrollment to different attendance center:  The District shall grant a request from a resident of the District for a student transfer to an attendance center within the District other than that to which the student has been assigned unless the transfer would result in an inability to provide a quality educational program based on criteria established by the District pursuant to statute and this policy.

 

A copy of this policy will be provided to parents, guardians and emancipated students who wish to submit an open enrollment application.  It shall also be provided to any other interested person upon request.

 

A.  General Rules:

 

  1. Transfers from another school district into the District may only take place prior to the last Friday in September during the first semester of any school year, and prior to the last Friday in January during the second semester of any school year. If the District approves an application for such a transfer after the deadline in the first semester, the transfer will occur at the start of the second semester. If the District approves an application for such a transfer after the deadline in the second semester, the transfer will occur at the start of the following school year. The deadlines for transfer do not apply if:
  • (1) A student is seeking to transfer to an alternative school or a specialized nonpublic educational program;
  • (2) A student enrolls in a school district after the deadline in either semester; or
  • (3) The District’s Superintendent determines that special circumstances exist and allows a student to transfer into the District after the deadline.
  1. All nonresident requests for open enrollment into the District must be submitted to the District’s Superintendent on the official application form provided by the South Dakota Department of Education.
  1. Nonresident student open enrollment applications to attend school within the District will be reviewed and acted upon in the order in which they are received. However, if the applicant is a sibling of a student accepted into and currently enrolled in the District, that student’s application shall take priority over all other applications.
  1. The Superintendent shall either approve or deny the application for open enrollment.  A decision of the Superintendent to deny an open enrollment application may be appealed to the School Board.  A decision of the School Board to deny student’s application for open enrollment may be appealed to the circuit court pursuant to State Law. (a)
  1. Decisions to accept or reject open enrollment applications will be based on the criteria listed in “Open Enrollment Application Standards” (Section C).
  1. The applicant and the resident school board will be notified within five days of the decision.
  1. An application may be withdrawn by the applicant prior to the approval of the request and upon written notification to the District’s Superintendent.
  1. Once approved by the District, the approved application serves as the applicant’s notice of intent to enroll in the District and obligates the student to attend school within the District during the school year, unless the affected school board or boards agree in writing to allow the student to transfer back to the resident district or assigned school, or unless the parents, guardians, or emancipated student change residence to anther district.  A decision by either school board to deny a request to return to the resident school district may be appealed to circuit court pursuant to law.
  1. Once enrolled under open enrollment in the District, the student may remain enrolled and is not required to resubmit annual applications.
  1. The parent or legal guardian of a student who has been accepted for transfer under open enrollment is responsible for transporting the student to and from school without reimbursement. (b)
  1. The District shall accept credits for any course completed in any other accredited school district but shall award a diploma to a nonresident student only if the student satisfactorily meets the District’s graduation requirements.
  1. If two or more nonresident students from the same family, residing in the same household, request open enrollment into the District, all requests from that family must be either approved or denied and the District shall not deny an application if doing so would result in children from the same household enrolling in different school districts.  However, if the District cannot provide an appropriate education for a child in need of special education or special education and related services, the District may deny that child’s application for open enrollment.
  1. Any student under long term suspension or expulsion will not be allowed to open enroll until the suspension or expulsion is completed. (c)
  1. The rules of the South Dakota High School Activities Association will govern eligibility for participation in activities.

 

B.   Resident Student Transfers:

 

The provisions of this policy apply to resident student transfers (applications to attend an attendance center different than that to which the student is assigned) except at modified below:

 

  1. Resident student open enrollment applications to attend an attendance center within the District other than that to which the student has been assigned will be reviewed and acted upon in the order in which they are received. However, if the applicant is a sibling of a student accepted into and currently enrolled in the attendance center to which the applicant is wishing to enroll, that student’s application shall take priority over all other applications.
  1. If a student is transferred from one attendance center to another attendance center within the District at the request of the student’s parent or guardian, the District shall not provide transportation services to the student. (d)

 

C.  Open Enrollment Application Standards: (e)

 

The following standards will be used to accept or reject nonresident student open enrollment applications to enroll within the District and resident student applications to attend an attendance center within the District other than that to which the student was assigned:

 

Open enrollment requests will be granted on a space available basis at the time the request is considered.  The approval of an open enrollment request may not result in exceeding the average student to teacher ratio, program capacity, or building capacity criteria listed below.  The ratios listed for grade level student to teacher ratios are for open enrollment purposes only and actual class sizes may be greater than the capacity listed below because of students residing within the school district and school attendance center area.

  • Kindergarten through grades five:  The student to teacher ratio shall not exceed ____ students in each grade as a result of open enrollment.
  • Grade six through grade eight:  The student to teacher ratio for core classes may not exceed ____ students in each gradeas a result of open enrollment.
  • Grade nine through grade twelve:  Enrollment may not exceed attendance center building capacity.
  • An open enrollment transfer may not cause a building or program to exceed capacity, including special education programs.
  • Open enrollment of a special education student will not be approved if the students cannot be accommodated at current staffing levels or the program is at capacity.

 

D.  Open Enrollment of Special Education Students:

 

  1. A request to transfer a student in need of special education or special education and related services may be granted only if, after a review of all relevant student education records and direct communication with the student’s parent or guardian and representatives of the resident district, the School District determines that the district can provide an appropriate instructional program and facilities, including transportation if required as a related service, to meet the student’s needs. If the request to transfer is granted, the district is responsible for the provision of a free appropriate public education for the student in need of special education or special education and related services.  If the student requires transportation as a related service, the district shall provide or ensure the provision of transportation within the boundaries of the District.
  1. If the District is not able to confirm that the District can provide an appropriate instructional program, facilities, and transportation if necessary, based on the records review and communication with the student’s parent or guardian and representatives of the resident district, the District shall initiate an individual education program team meeting consisting of representatives from the District, the resident school district and the parents or guardians, to determine whether the District can provide an appropriate instructional program, facilities, and transportation necessary.
  1. A request to transfer a student in need of special education or special education and related services may be denied only pursuant to the “Open Enrollment Application Standards” (Section C) or if the individual education program team as set forth in “Open Enrollment of Special Education Students” (Section D.2.) determines that the District cannot provide an appropriate instructional program and facilities, including transportation, to meet the student’s needs.
  1. If a parent or guardian of a student in need of special education or special education and related services request to transfer the student back to the resident district, the affected school boards must agree in writing to allow the student to transfer back to the resident district or unless the parents, guardian, or emancipated student change residence to another district.
  1. If two or more students from the same family residing in the same household request open enrollment and the District determines it can provide an appropriate special education or special education and related services for the special education student(s), the applications shall be approved subject to consideration of the Open Enrollment Application Standards (Section C).  However, if the District cannot provide appropriate special education or special education and related service for one or more of the students in need of special education or special education and related services, the District may deny the application for open enrollment related to the individual special education student(s).
  1. If it is determined that a parent or guardian of a student, or an emancipated student, in need of special education or special education and related services submitted a request for an open enrollment transfer, but did not indicate on the application that the student has an IEP and needs special education services, as required on the form, any approval by the District of the open enrollment transfer application will be deemed void.

Notes:

(a)  SDCL 13-28-43 says the School Board or the Board’s designee may approve or disapprove the application.  ASBSD recommends that the Superintendent be designated by the Board as most school boards meet only once a month on the second Monday of the month.

(b)  For nonresident open enrollments, SDCL 13-28-45 states that the parents/guardians are

responsible for transportation, without reimbursement, of the student but the District may provide the transportation, and if provided, the District may charge a reasonable fee if the student uses District provided transportation. SDCL 13-28-45 also says school boards of both the receiving school district and the resident school district must annually approve the pick-up locations for those students within any incorporated municipality but this requirement does not apply to any school district defined as a sparse school district pursuant to § 13-13-78.

(c)  SDCL 13-32-4.3 states that if a student is under suspension or expulsion in a South Dakota school district, the student may not enroll in any other school district until the suspension or expulsion has expired, and also that the superintendent of a school district may prohibit a student from enrolling in that school district if the student is under suspension or expulsion in a school in another state or in a nonpublic school in this state.

(d)  SDCL 13-28-41.1.   School district not required to provide transportation to student transferred within district. If a student is transferred from one school to another school within a school district at the request of the student’s parent or guardian, notwithstanding any other provision of law, the school district is not required to provide transportation services to the student.

(e)  SDCL 13-28-44 states that “Standards shall be limited to the capacity of a program, class, grade level, and school building operated by the board and the pupil/teacher ratio. Discrimination based on race, gender, religious affiliation, or disability is prohibited” a school board may or may not want to have capacity of the program, class or grade level specifically identified in the school district policy.

 

See more sample policies at the ASBSD Policy Reference Manual website.

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