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Voluntary and Involuntary Transfers

Information on the voluntary and involuntary transfer of pupils to continuation classes, programs, and schools.


Per California Education Code (EC) Section 48200, all pupils between the age of six and eighteen, not otherwise exempted, are subject to compulsory education.

Per EC Section 48200, pupils age sixteen and under eighteen must be enrolled in continuation education unless they are exempt from continuation education per EC Section 48410. Exemptions include enrollment in full-time educational programs, completion of an equal amount of education or graduation from a private school or from a private tutor.

Per EC Section 48200, each person subject to compulsory full-time education and each person subject to compulsory education, not exempt under EC Section 48400, shall attend the full-time day school OR continuation school or classes and for the full time designated as the length of the school day by the board of the school district.

The California Department of Education (CDE) is occasionally asked whether local educational agencies (LEA) are permitted to either involuntarily transfer a pupil or allow a pupil to voluntarily transfer to a continuation education school or classes when the pupil has not yet reached age sixteen. While the CDE believes that continuation education was intended by the Legislature to be a program for pupils between ages sixteen and eighteen, the EC does not specifically address this question.

In 1971, the Attorney General (AG) issued a published Opinion No. CV 71-232–December 10, 1971, that LEAs could transfer pupils under the age of sixteen to a continuation education program or class when the pupil had more than 20 suspensions and an opportunity school or class was not available. Please see the AG Opinion at Attorney General Opinion (PDF). An accessible version of the document also can be found at Accessible Alternative Version of Attorney General Opinion.

Years later, in 1986, the CDE issued a Program Advisory acknowledging that a pupil under age sixteen could be transferred to a continuation education program if the pupil was age fifteen and assigned to a vocational education program pursuant to EC Section 48277 but, other than in those unique situations, for public policy reasons LEAs should not permit pupils under the age of sixteen to participate in continuation education. Please see the CDE Program Advisory at Program Advisory (PDF). An accessible version of the document also can be found at Accessible Alternative Version of Program Advisory.

This CDE Program Advisory was advisory in nature. Therefore, it was not binding on LEAs.


The Overuse and Improper Use of Voluntary and Involuntary Transfers (DOCX) memorandum addresses the legal requirements and recommended best practices governing voluntary and involuntary transfers. The guidance itself is non-binding and does not have the effect of law.


The CDE still believes that continuation education is most appropriate for pupils between the ages of sixteen and eighteen years. However, whether LEAs should involuntarily transfer or allow pupils to voluntarily transfer to a continuation education program prior to the age of sixteen is a decision incumbent upon the LEA to make in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, pursuant to EC sections 48430, 48432, 48432.3 (enacted in 2013 per Assembly Bill 570, regarding voluntary enrollment in a continuation school), and 48432.5.

Questions: Dan Sackheim | | 916-445-5595 
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 8, 2023