7 Things Parents Should Know About Public School Open Enrollment

V1 Staff

In Wisconsin, parents are allowed to send their children to a school district other than the one they live in through a process known as open enrollment. For the 2018-19 school year, application for open enrollment began Feb. 5 and ends April 30 at 4pm sharp. (Sorry, this is one assignment you’re not allowed to turn in late.) Here are a few tips on how to prepare for the strict deadline:

1. Fill out the open enrollment application.

Parents and students can apply to up to three public school districts of their choice. According to the Department of Public Instruction, the online form is preferred; however, a paper form is available.

2. Submit the form online or mail it on time.

The DPI warns that any application received after 4pm on Monday, April 30, will not be accepted. 

3. Know the basic rules.

Children in kindergarten through 12th grade are eligible. So are students in 4-year-old kindergarten in some circumstances: To be eligible to attend 4K, students applying must be 4 years old by Sept. 1, and their school districts of origin must offer a program equal to that of the nonresident school district. (Not every district offers 4K.)

4. Transportation is a must!

By law, the nonresident school district doesn’t need to provide transportation to and from school unless stated in a child’s Individualized Education Plan. Low-income parents may be eligible for partial transportation reimbursement through the DPI.

5. Wait for an answer.

Nonresident school districts must mail notices of approval or denial by June 8. If a student is approved, the district sends information on the specific school or program that accepted the student. If denied, parents who want to appeal must do so within 30 days of receiving the notice.

6. Accept the application first, then celebrate!

Acceptance letters must be sent to the nonresident school districts by June 29 as a way to notify them that the student accepts that open enrollment spot. If this doesn’t happen, the student could lose the spot, ultimately resulting in a lot of tears.

7. Keep trying.

Although it may be tough if your child is not selected at first, some school districts create waiting lists if spaces open up.

Learn more about open enrollment at https://dpi.wi.gov/open-enrollment.

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