Policies regarding intradistrict/open enrollment and interdistrict/reciprocal agreement transfers are the responsibility of each local district governing board and are not within the jurisdiction of the California Department of Education (CDE). Each local district governing board has ultimate authority over general education processes such as district transfers. Parents/guardians shall work with their local school district administration to share their concerns and to determine what local processes their district has in place regarding district transfers. Contact information for California public schools, private schools, nonpublic and nonsectarian schools, County Offices of Education, and school districts can be found on the CDE California School Directory Web page.
California law requires school districts to provide an education to any student who resides within the district’s attendance area. Although students have the right under California law to a free, public education, the law does not guarantee that a student can attend the school of his or her choice, or even the neighborhood school.
California’s educational system relies on local control for the management of school districts on the theory that those closest to the problems and needs of each individual district are the best able to make appropriate decisions on behalf of the district. In allocating their resources among the schools of the district, school district governing boards and district administrators must follow the law, but they also have the additional task of setting the educational priorities for their schools and weighing the importance and urgency of all of their education needs.
An intradistrict transfer/open enrollment is when parents/guardians wish to register/admit/enroll their student(s) at a school other than the designated school that is in their attendance area within their district.
California Education Code Section 35160.5(b) permits parents to indicate a preference for the school which their child will attend, irrespective of the child’s place of residence within the district, and requires the district to honor this parental preference if the school has sufficient capacity without displacing other currently enrolled students.
Districts are encouraged to give preference to siblings attending the same school and to consider the location of parents’ places of employment or established child care arrangements in determining enrollment priority. Districts are allowed to make case-by-case exceptions in order to ameliorate harmful or dangerous situations.
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An interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement is when parents/guardians wish to register/admit/enroll their student(s) at a school other than the designated school that is in their attendance area outside of their district.
California Education Code sections 46600–46601 permits parents/guardians to request an interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement. The fundamental basis for this provision is the signing of an agreement between districts. Interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement must be approved by both the student’s original district of residence and the district to which the student seeks to transfer to. Both districts must approve the agreement before it becomes valid. The agreement may extend for a maximum of five consecutive years and may include terms or conditions. It is within the authority of either the home district or the receiving district to revoke an interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement at any time for any reason the local board or district superintendent deems appropriate.
If a request for an interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement is denied, the student’s parents/guardians may file an appeal to the county office of education in the student’s district of residence within 30 days of receipt of the official notice of denial of the transfer.
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California Education Code Section 48204(b)
permits a school district to deem a pupil to have complied with the residency requirements for school attendance in the district if at least one parent/guardian of the pupil is physically employed within the boundaries of that district. Once admitted to residency, the pupil’s transfer may be revoked only if the parent ceases to be employed within the boundaries of the district. As a resident, the student does not have to re-apply for the transfer to be valid.
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California Education Code Section 41850
provides annual funding to district for home-to-school transportation and special education transportation. Reimbursements are made to districts on a cost-per-mile traveled basis. However, participation in the home-to-school transportation program is wholly voluntary and some districts do not provide these services. Districts may choose to assess a fee for home-to-school transportation.
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Under the Federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, schools that do not meet their achievement targets must offer parents the choice of attending another school in the same district. This transfer is given under the option of Title I, Part A School Choice.
A Title I school will be identified for program improvement (PI) when, for each of two consecutive years, the Title I school does not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) in the same content area (English-language arts or mathematics) schoolwide or for any numerically significant subgroup, or on the same indicator (Academic Performance Index [API] or high school graduation rate) schoolwide.
Information about school choice can be found on the California Department of Education Title I, Part A School Choice Web page.
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