CHAPTER 17OPEN ENROLLMENT28117.1(282) Intent and purpose. It is the intent of Iowa Code section 282.18 to maximize parental choice in providing a wide range of educational opportunities which are not available for pupils because of where they live. It is the purpose of this chapter to give guidance and direction to parents/guardians, public school district administrators and boards in making quality decisions regarding school district choice for the education of pupils.28117.2(282) Definitions. For the purpose of this chapter the indicated terms are defined as follows:
"Alternative receiving district" means a district to which a parent/guardian petitions for the open enrollment of a pupil from a receiving district. An alternative receiving district could be the district of residence of the parents/guardians.
"Attendance center" means a public school building that contains classrooms used for instructional purposes for elementary, middle, or secondary school students.
"Court-ordered desegregation plan" means a plan that is under direct court order to avoid racial isolation in the district.
"Department" means the department of education.
"Director" means the director of the department of education or the director’s designee.
"Diversity plan" "voluntary diversity plan" means a plan that is voluntarily adopted by a local school board to promote diversity and to avoid minority student isolation in the district.
"Eligible district" means a school district whose board had adopted a voluntary desegregation plan under this chapter prior to June 28, 2007.
"Minority student" shall be defined by a local school board in its diversity plan, and may include consideration of any one characteristic or a combination of any of the following characteristics except that race may not be either the sole or the determinative characteristic: socioeconomic status, ethnicity/national origin, English language learner status, or race.
"Open enrollment" is the procedure allowing a parent/guardian to enroll one or more pupils in a public school district other than the district of residence at no tuition cost.
"Receiving district" is the public school district in which a parent/guardian desires to have the pupil enrolled or the district accepting the application for enrollment of a pupil under the provisions of Iowa Code section 282.18.
"Resident district" is the district of residence for school purposes of the parent/guardian and the district in which an open enrollment pupil shall be counted for the purpose of generating state aid regardless of the district in which the pupil is enrolled.
"Sending district" is synonymous with the term resident district.
"Sibling" means a child residing primarily in the same household as the child for whom an open enrollment request is filed and who is related by adoption, blood or marriage to the child for whom an open enrollment request is filed. “Sibling” also includes a foster child who is placed in the same household as the child for whom an open enrollment request is filed.
"Socioeconomic status" means the income level of a student or the student’s family, and shall be measured by whether a student or the student’s family meets the financial eligibility criteria for free meals or reduced price meals offered under the Child Nutrition Program.28117.3(282) Application process. The following procedure shall be used by parents/guardians and school districts in processing open enrollment applications. 17.3(1) Parent/guardian responsibilities. On or before March 1 of the school year preceding the school year for which open enrollment is requested, a parent/guardian shall formally notify both the district of residence and the receiving district of the request for open enrollment. The request for open enrollment shall be made on forms provided by the department of education. Failure by the parent to send the form to the resident district and receiving district by the deadline may cause the application to be considered untimely. The parent/guardian is required to indicate on the form if the request is for a pupil requiring special education, as provided by Iowa Code chapter 256B. The forms for open enrollment application are available from each public school district and area education agency and from the state department of education. 17.3(2) School district responsibilities. a. The board of the resident district shall take no action on an open enrollment request except for a request made under rule 281—17.5(282) or 281—17.14(282). b. The board of the receiving district shall act on an open enrollment request no later than June 1 of the school year preceding the school year for which the request is made. (1) The receiving district superintendent shall provide notification of either approval or denial of the request to the parent/guardian and to the resident district within five days of board action. (2) As an alternative procedure, the receiving board may by policy authorize the superintendent to approve, but not deny, applications filed on or before March 1. The board of directors of a receiving school district may adopt a policy granting the superintendent of the school district authority to approve open enrollment applications submitted after the March 1 deadline, but the board of the receiving district shall take action to approve the request if good cause exists. The board shall have the discretion to determine the scope of the authorization. The authorization may be for regular applications filed on or before March 1, good cause applications, and kindergarten applications filed on or before September 1, or any combination that the board determines. The same timelines for approval, forwarding, and notification shall apply. c. The parent/guardian may withdraw an open enrollment request anytime prior to the first day of school in the resident district. After the first day of school, an open enrollment request can only be changed during the term of the approval by the procedures of subrules 17.8(4), 17.8(5), 17.8(6), and 17.8(7). d. The board of the receiving district shall comply with the provisions of rule 281—17.11(282) if the application for open enrollment is for a pupil requiring special education as provided by Iowa Code chapter 256B. e. Notification to parents. (1) By September 30 of each school year, all districts shall notify parents of the following:
- Open enrollment deadlines;
- Transportation assistance;
- That within 30 days of a denial of an open enrollment request by a district board of education, the parent/guardian may file an appeal with the state board of education only if the open enrollment request was based on repeated acts of harassment or a serious health condition of the pupil that the district cannot adequately address; and that all other denials must be appealed to the district court in the county in which the primary business office of the district is located; and
- Possible loss of athletic eligibility for open enrollment pupils.