Thursday, January 17, 2013

Once Approved On An Interdistrict Transfer- Do Parents Have To Reapply?

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

Have you reapplied for an interdistrict (between two school districts) transfer and been denied?  California schools are holding tight to their students due to monetary and other considerations.  However, there is one bright spot which could help parents already on an approved interdistrict transfer: Education Code section 46600(a)(1).

Section 46600(a)(1) outlines some rules related to interdistrict transfers and states:

"Once a pupil in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, is enrolled in a school pursuant to this chapter [e.g. interdistrict transfer], the pupil shall not have to reapply for an interdistrict transfer, and the governing board of the school district of enrollment shall allow the pupil to continue to attend the school in which he or she is enrolled." (emphasis added)

One exception (excluding students entering eleventh or twelfth grade in the upcoming year) requiring reapplication includes a breach of the terms of the interdistrict attendance agreement by the student.  Reapplication would then be required.  Interdistrict transfer terms vary, but usually include a requirement that the child attend school regularly, not receive certain discipline infractions, and other basic rules.  

This section is relevant for parents who have had their interdistrict transfer approved for any reason.  Per this section, once approved, the interdistrict transfer continues until breached.  

However, most parents and districts think that a reapplication is necessary yearly. Section 46600 contradicts this presumption and reapplication may be unnecessary.

The reason I say "may" when the code seems so clear is that Districts can be slow to recognize  legal change (this change went into effect in 2011) and this means there may be some "disagreement" among them on whether a new application is needed yearly.  Districts may also try to do an end run around the code and make reapplication a "condition" of continued attendance.

If a parent wishes to be absolutely certain that his/her child may continue attending without reapplication, they should obtain confirmation from the districts involved.  Or, if they reapply and are "rejected," may try to use this section (among others) to lodge an appeal.  

Best,
Michelle Ball
Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-444-9064
Fax: 916-444-1209
Email: help@edlaw4students.com


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