Open Enrollment Reminder to all Districts
Preschool students that are not age-eligible (5 years old by September 15) do not qualify for open enrollment. There is an exception to this rule. Students that are supported by an Individualized Education Program (IEP) have the option to open enroll.
Open Enrollment Reminder to Receiving Districts
Receiving districts that get an open enrollment application from a resident of one of the five districts that has a diversity plan (formerly known as a desegregation plan) are reminded not to act on such application. The resident district must examine the application to determine whether that enrollment or release of a pupil will adversely affect the district's implementation of its diversity plan, unless the transfer is requested by a pupil whose sibling is already participating in open enrollment. The five districts with a diversity plan are Davenport, Des Moines, Postville, Waterloo, and West Liberty.
Open Enrollment and Nonpublic School Students
Parents or guardians whose children are presently in a nonpublic school but who will attend a public school next year (2009-2010) have the open enrollment option available to them, but they must comply with open enrollment deadlines. Therefore, if parents want their child enrolled in a school district that is not their district of residence, they must file a request for open enrollment by March 1, 2009. The open enrollment request must be filed with both the district of residence and the receiving district by this deadline.
The open enrollment request form is posted on the Open Erollment page of the Department website.
Guidelines for Open Enrollment based on Serious Health Need
For several years now, Iowa Code section 282.18(5) has been the mechanism for families to use to open enroll out of a resident district after the March 1 deadline if their child has been the victim of repeated acts of harassment or if the child has a serious health condition that the resident district cannot adequately address. While the State Board of Education has dealt with cases involving repeated acts of harassment, it recently decided an appeal for the first time that involved a child with a serious health need.
As a reminder, the guidelines for districts to use (and that the State Board will use) to determine whether a late-filed open enrollment request based on a claim of repeated acts of harassment should be approved are:
- The harassment must have happened after March 1, or the extent of the problem must not have been known until after March 1;
- The harassment must be beyond typical adolescent cruelty;
- The evidence of harassment must be specific;
- The evidence must show that the harassment is likely to continue;
- School officials, upon notification of the harassment, must have worked without success to resolve the situation; and
- There must be reason to think that changing the student's school district will alleviate the situation.
And the NEW guidelines for districts to implement in determining whether to approve a late-filed open enrollment request based on a child's alleged serious health need are:
- The serious health condition of the child is one that has been diagnosed as such by a licensed physician, osteopathic physician, doctor of chiropractic, licensed physician assistant, or advanced registered nurse practitioner, and this diagnosis has been provided to the school district.
- The child's serious health condition is not of a short-term or temporary nature.
- The district has been provided with the specifics of the child's health needs caused by the serious health condition. From this, the district knows or should know what specific steps its staff can take to meet the health needs of the child.
- School officials, upon notification of the serious health condition and the steps it could take to meet the child's needs, must have failed to implement the steps or, despite the district's best efforts, its implementation of the steps was unsuccessful.
- A reasonable person could not have known before March 1 that the district could not or would not adequately address the child's health needs.
- It can be reasonably anticipated that a change in the child's school district will improve the situation.