1. It is the goal of the general assembly to permit a wide range of educational choices for children enrolled in schools in this state and to maximize ability to use those choices. It is therefore the intent that this section be construed broadly to maximize parental choice and access to educational opportunities which are not available to children because of where they live.
For the school year commencing July 1, 1989, and each succeeding school year, a parent or guardian residing in a school district may enroll the parent's or guardian's child in a public school in another school district in the manner provided in this section.
2. By January 1 of the preceding school year, the parent or guardian shall send notification to the district of residence, on forms prescribed by the department of education, that the parent or guardian intends to enroll the parent's or guardian's child in a public school in another school district. If a parent or guardian fails to file a notification that the parent intends to enroll the parent's or guardian's child in a public school in another district by the deadline of January 1 of the previous year, and one of the criteria defined in subsection 16 exists for the failure to meet the deadline or if the request is to enroll a child in kindergarten in a public school in another district, the parent or guardian shall be permitted to enroll the child in the other district in the same manner as if the deadline had been met.
The board of directors of a school district may adopt a policy granting the superintendent of the district authority to approve open enrollment applications that are timely filed. However, the board of directors shall not grant the superintendent authority to deny open enrollment applications, except as provided in subsection 3. The board of the district of residence, or the superintendent with the board's authority to only approve applications, shall take action on the request no later than February 1 of the preceding school year and shall transmit any approved request within five days after board action on the request. The parent or guardian may withdraw the request at any time prior to the start of the school year. The board of the receiving district, or the superintendent with the board's authority to approve applications only, shall take action to approve or disapprove the request no later than March 1 of the preceding school year. The board of the receiving district shall enroll the pupil in a school in the receiving district for the following school year unless the receiving district does not have classroom space for the pupil. If the request is granted, the board shall transmit a copy of the form to the school district of residence within five days after board action.
3. In all districts involved with voluntary or court-ordered desegregation, minority and nonminority pupil ratios shall be maintained according to the desegregation plan or order. The superintendent of a district subject to voluntary or court-ordered desegregation may deny a request for transfer under this section if the superintendent finds that enrollment or release of a pupil will adversely affect the district's implementation of the desegregation order or plan. If, however, a transfer request would facilitate a voluntary or court-ordered desegregation plan, the district shall give priority to granting the request over other requests.
A parent or guardian, whose request has been denied because of a desegregation order or plan, may appeal the decision of the superintendent to the board of the district in which the request was denied. The board may either uphold or overturn the superintendent's decision. A decision of the board to uphold the denial of the request is subject to appeal under section 290.1.
4. If, however, a request to enroll a child in another district is denied by the board of the child's district of residence for failure to show good cause for not meeting the request deadline, the parent or guardian shall be permitted to appeal the decision of the board either directly to the director of the department of education or to the state board under chapter 290, but not to both. Notwithstanding chapter 17A, in an appeal arising from the denial of a parent's or guardian's request for open enrollment, where the denial was for failure to show good cause for not meeting the request deadline, the director or designee assigned to hear the appeal on behalf of the director or state board may, with the agreement of the parties to the appeal, issue an oral decision at the conclusion of the hearing on the appeal. The oral decision shall comport with previously established decisions of the director and state board. However, any party to the appeal may request a written decision and the director or state board shall issue a written decision. The department shall recommend, and the state board shall adopt, rules to implement this subsection.
5. Each district shall provide notification to the parent or guardian relating to the transmission or denial of the request. A district of residence shall provide for notification of transmission or denial to a parent or guardian within three days of board action on the request. A receiving district shall provide notification to a parent or guardian, within fifteen days of board action on the request, of whether the pupil will be enrolled in that district or whether the request is to be denied.
6. A request under this section is for a period of not less than one year. If the request is for more than one year and the parent or guardian desires to have the pupil enroll in a different district, the parent or guardian may petition the current receiving district by January 1 of the previous school year for permission to enroll the pupil in a different district for a period of not less than one year. Upon receipt of such a request, the current receiving district board may act on the request to transfer to the other school district at the next regularly scheduled board meeting after the receipt of the request. The new receiving district shall enroll the pupil in a school in the district unless there is insufficient classroom space in the district or unless enrollment of the pupil would adversely affect the court- ordered or voluntary desegregation plan of the district. A denial of a request to change district enrollment within the approved period is subject to appeal under section 290.1. However, a pupil who has been in attendance in another district under this section may return to the district of residence and enroll at any time, once the parent or guardian has notified the district of residence and the receiving district in writing of the decision to enroll the pupil in the district of residence.
7. A pupil participating in open enrollment shall be counted, for state school foundation aid purposes, in the pupil's district of residence. A pupil's residence, for purposes of this section, means a residence under section 282.1. The board of directors of the district of residence shall pay to the receiving district the state cost per pupil for the previous school year, plus any moneys received for the pupil as a result of the non-English speaking weighting under section 280.4, subsection 3, for the previous school year multiplied by the state cost per pupil for the previous year. The district of residence shall also transmit the phase III moneys allocated to the district for the previous year for the full-time equivalent attendance of the pupil, who is the subject of the request, to the receiving district specified in the request for transfer.
8. If a request filed under this section is for a child requiring special education under chapter 256B, the request to transfer to the other district shall only be granted if the receiving district maintains a special education instructional program which is appropriate to meet the child's educational needs and the enrollment of the child in the receiving district's program would not cause the size of the class in that special education instructional program in the receiving district to exceed the maximum class size in rules adopted by the state board of education for that program. For children requiring special education, the board of directors of the district of residence shall pay to the receiving district the actual costs incurred in providing the appropriate special education.
9. If a parent or guardian of a child, who is participating in open enrollment under this section, moves to a different school district during the course of either district's academic year, the child's first district of residence shall be responsible for payment of the cost per pupil plus weightings or special education costs to the receiving school district for the balance of the school year in which the move took place. The new district of residence shall be responsible for the payments during succeeding years.
If a request to transfer is due to a change in family residence, change in the state in which the family residence is located, a change in a child's parents' marital status, a guardianship proceeding, placement in foster care, adoption, participation in a foreign exchange program, or participation in a substance abuse or mental health treatment program, and the child, who is the subject of the request, is not currently using any provision of open enrollment, the parent or guardian of the child shall have the option to have the child remain in the child's original district of residence under open enrollment with no interruption in the child's educational program. If a parent or guardian exercises this option, the child's new district of residence is not required to pay the amount calculated in subsection 7, until the start of the first full year of enrollment of the child.
Quarterly payments shall be made to the receiving district.
If the transfer of a pupil from one district to another results in a transfer from one area education agency to another, the sending district shall forward a copy of the request to the sending district's area education agency. The receiving district shall forward a copy of the request to the receiving district's area education agency. Any moneys received by the area education agency of the sending district for the pupil who is the subject of the request shall be forwarded to the receiving district's area education agency.
A district of residence may apply to the school budget review committee if a student was not included in the resident district's enrollment count during the fall of the year preceding the student's transfer under open enrollment.
10. Notwithstanding section 285.1 relating to transportation of nonresident pupils, the parent or guardian is responsible for transporting the pupil without reimbursement to and from a point on a regular school bus route of the receiving district. However, a receiving district may send school vehicles into the district of residence of the pupil using the open enrollment option under this section, for the purpose of transporting the pupil to and from school in the receiving district, if the boards of both the sending and receiving districts agree to this arrangement. If the pupil meets the economic eligibility requirements established by the department and state board of education, the sending district is responsible for providing transportation or paying the pro rata cost of the transportation to a parent or guardian for transporting the pupil to and from a point on a regular school bus route of a contiguous receiving district unless the cost of providing transportation or the pro rata cost of the transportation to a parent or guardian exceeds the average transportation cost per pupil transported for the previous school year in the district. If the cost exceeds the average transportation cost per pupil transported for the previous school year, the sending district shall only be responsible for that average per pupil amount. A sending district which provides transportation for a pupil to a contiguous receiving district under this subsection may withhold from the district cost per pupil amount, that is to be paid to the receiving district, an amount which represents the average or pro rata cost per pupil for transportation, whichever is less.
11. Every school district shall adopt a policy which defines the term "insufficient classroom space" for that district.
12. The board of directors of a school district subject to voluntary or court-ordered desegregation shall develop a policy for implementation of open enrollment in the district. The policy shall contain objective criteria for determining when a request would adversely impact the desegregation order or plan and criteria for prioritizing requests that do not have an adverse impact on the order or plan.
13. A pupil who participates in open enrollment for purposes of attending a grade in grades ten through twelve in a school district other than the district of residence is ineligible to participate in interscholastic athletic contests and athletic competitions during the pupil's first ninety school days of enrollment in the district except that the pupil may participate immediately in an interscholastic sport if the district of residence and the other school district jointly participate in the sport, if the sport in which the pupil wishes to participate is not offered in the district of residence, if the pupil chooses to use open enrollment to attend school in another school district because the district in which the student previously attended school was dissolved and merged with one or more contiguous school districts under section 256.11, subsection 12, if the pupil participates in open enrollment because the pupil's district of residence has entered into a whole grade sharing agreement with another district for the pupil's grade, or if the parent or guardian of the pupil participating in open enrollment is an active member of the armed forces and resides in permanent housing on government property provided by a branch of the armed services. A pupil who has paid tuition and attended school, or has attended school pursuant to a mutual agreement between the two districts, in a district other than the pupil's district of residence for at least one school year prior to March 10, 1989, is also eligible to participate immediately in interscholastic athletic contests and athletic competitions under this section, but only as a member of a team from the district that pupil had attended. For purposes of this subsection, "school days of enrollment" do not include enrollment in summer school.
14. If a pupil, for whom a request to transfer has been filed with a district, has been suspended or expelled in the district, the pupil shall not be permitted to transfer until the pupil has been reinstated in the sending district. Once the pupil has been reinstated, however, the pupil shall be permitted to transfer in the same manner as if the pupil had not been suspended or expelled by the sending district. If a pupil, for whom a request to transfer has been filed with a district, is expelled in the district, the pupil shall be permitted to transfer to a receiving district under this section if the pupil applies for and is reinstated in the sending district. However, if the pupil applies for reinstatement but is not reinstated in the sending district, the receiving district may deny the request to transfer. The parent or guardian of the pupil shall be permitted to appeal the decision of the receiving district to the director of the department of education. If the director rules in favor of permitting the transfer, the pupil shall be permitted to transfer, but the transfer shall be conditioned upon the expiration of the expulsion period without the pupil incurring a new violation.
15. If a request under this section is for transfer to a laboratory school, as described in chapter 265, the student, who is the subject of the request, shall not be included in the basic enrollment of the student's district of residence, and the laboratory school shall report the enrollment of the student directly to the department of education, unless the number of students from the district attending the laboratory school during the current school year, as a result of open enrollment under this section, exceeds the number of students enrolled in the laboratory school from that district during the 1989-1990 school year. If the number of students enrolled in the laboratory school from a district during the current year exceeds the number of students enrolled from that district during the 1989-1990 school year, those students who represent the difference between the current and the 1988-1989 school year enrollment figures shall be included in the basic enrollment of the students' districts of residence and the districts shall retain any moneys received as a result of the inclusion of the student in the district enrollment. The total number of students enrolled at a laboratory school during a school year shall not exceed six hundred seventy students. The regents institution operating the laboratory school and the board of directors of the school district in the community in which the regents institution is located shall develop a student transfer policy designed to protect and promote the quality and integrity of the teacher education program at the laboratory school, the viability of the education program of the local school district in which the regents institution is located, and to indicate the order in which and reasons why requests to transfer to a laboratory school shall be considered. A laboratory school may deny a request for transfer under the policy. A denial of a request to transfer under this paragraph is not subject to appeal under section 290.1.
16. For purposes of this section, "good cause" means a change in a child's residence due to a change in family residence, a change in the state in which the family residence is located, a change in a child's parents' marital status, a guardianship proceeding, placement in foster care, adoption, participation in a foreign exchange program, or participation in a substance abuse or mental health treatment program, or a similar set of circumstances consistent with the definition of good cause; a change in the status of a child's resident district, such as removal of accreditation by the state board, surrender of accreditation, or permanent closure of a nonpublic school, the failure of negotiations for a whole- grade sharing, reorganization, dissolution agreement or the rejection of a current whole-grade sharing agreement, or reorganization plan, or a similar set of circumstances consistent with the definition of good cause. If the good cause relates to a change in status of a child's school district of residence, however, action by a parent or guardian must be taken to file the notification within forty-five days of the last board action or within thirty days of the certification of the election, whichever is applicable to the circumstances.
17. The director of the department of education shall recommend rules to the state board of education for the orderly implementation of this section. The state board shall adopt rules as needed for the implementation of this section.
18. Notwithstanding the general limitations contained in this section, in appeals to the state board from decisions of school boards relating to student transfers under open enrollment, the state board shall exercise broad discretion to achieve just and equitable results which are in the best interest of the affected child or children.
88 Acts, ch 1113, §1; 89 Acts, ch 12, §1; 89 Acts, ch 319, §81; 90 Acts, ch 1182, § 1, 5; 90 Acts, ch 1233, § 10; 91 Acts, ch 97, §62; 91 Acts, ch 202, § 1; 92 Acts, ch 1135, § 3-5; 92 Acts, ch 1163, § 64; 93 Acts, ch 149, § 1; 94 Acts, ch 1091, §24; 94 Acts, ch 1131, §8; 94 Acts, ch 1175, §10; 96 Acts, ch 1157, §1-3; 97 Acts, ch 23, §31, 32
Referred to in § 85.20, 85.61, 257.6, 275.15, 290.1, 321.194
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© 2001 Cornell College and League of Women Voters of Iowa
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