HB 1814 Modifies provisions relating to admission of nonresident pupils

     Handler: O'Laughlin

Current Bill Summary

- Prepared by Senate Research -


HCS/HB 1814 - This act modifies provisions related to admission of nonresident pupils.

This act allows school districts that operate a magnet school as part of a master desegregation settlement to not be considered inefficient related to state aid for transportation of students and shall not receive a financial penalty in the overall transportation budget. (Section 163.161)

This act allows, beginning after July 1, 2023, any person or a beneficiary of a trust that owns residential or agricultural real property in any school district, and pays a school tax of at least $3000 in that district and has owned property for at least three years, to send up to four children to that district without a tuition payment, upon notification to the district at least thirty days prior to enrollment. The student shall count in the district’s average daily attendance. (Section 167.151)

PUBLIC SCHOOL OPEN ENROLLMENT ACT (Section 167.1200 to 167.1230)

This act establishes the "Public School Open Enrollment Act".

This act establishes a public school open enrollment program for students beginning kindergarten or a student in kindergarten to grade twelve to attend a school in a non-resident district. School districts are not required to participate in the public school open enrollment program.

A school district shall, before October first of each year, indicate whether the district will participate in the public school open enrollment program in the school year beginning on July first of the following year.

For school years 2023-24 and 2024-25, a district may restrict the number of students who may transfer to a nonresident district to a maximum of five percent of the previous school year's enrollment for the district.

For school years 2023-24 and 2024-25, a provisionally accredited district with a school population of enrolled students between four thousand five hundred and five thousand five hundred and that is located in a county with more than seven hundred thousand but fewer than eight hundred thousand inhabitants may restrict the number of students who may transfer to a nonresident district.

A school district will not be required to add teachers, staff, or classrooms or to in any way exceed the requirements and standards of existing law or the nonresident district.

A school district will not be required to provide special education services for children with disabilities who are three years of age or older who do not reside in the school district if the nonresident district determines that the school district is unable to provide appropriate special educational services. The determination shall be made by the nonresident district, as outlined in the act.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, or other entity skilled in policy development, shall develop a model policy for determining the number of transfers available for a district and the standards for acceptance and rejection of transfer applications. A model policy shall be adopted by the board of education of each school district, by resolution, regardless of whether a school district participates in the public school open enrollment policy.

The model policy's determination of the number of transfers available shall require each school district to define the term "insufficient classroom space" for that district. Further model policy standards and requirements are outlined in the act.

Students who wish to attend nonresident schools that have an academic or competitive entrance process shall furnish proof that they meet the admission requirements.

A school district may deny a transfer to a student who, in the most recent school year, has been suspended from school two or more times or who has been suspended for an act of violence. Students can transfer on a provisional basis as a probationary transfer student upon approval of the district's superintendent.

Students that participate in open enrollment in high school may not participate in varsity sports during the first three hundred sixty-five days of enrollment in a non-resident district with exceptions outlined in the act. (Section 167.1205)

APPLYING FOR TRANSFER

Any student that applies for a transfer may only accept one transfer per school year. The student may return to their resident district and must complete a full semester before applying for another transfer. Students may complete all remaining school years in their nonresident district and any sibling may enroll in the nonresident district if capacity allows and there is no discipline issues as outlined in the act. (Section 167.1210)

The transferring student or the student's parent is responsible for the transportation of the student to and from the school in the nonresident district or to an existing bus stop location convenient to the school district, if capacity allows. The nonresident school district is not required to provide transportation as a related service under a student's individualized education program (IEP). (Section 167.1210)

For the purposes of determining federal and state aid, the student shall be counted as a resident pupil of the nonresident district, except for federal calculations of military impact aid. Any transferring student who qualifies for free and reduced price meals and transfers to a nonresident district sharing a border with the student's resident district shall be reimbursed by the "Parent Public School Choice Fund" for the costs of transportation. (Section 167.1210)

The act allows districts to receive funding from the "Parent Public School Choice Fund" for special education services up to three times the current expenditure per average daily attendance.

(Section 167.1211)

PARENT PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE FUND

This act establishes the "Parent Public School Choice Fund" with a $60 million appropriation from the General Assembly. The State Treasurer shall be custodian of the fund. (Section 167.1212)

NUMBER OF TRANSFER STUDENTS

This act requires that each school district set the number of transfer students the district is willing to receive for the following school year before October first annually. The school district shall develop criteria for the acceptance of students, as outlined in the act.

Each school district shall publish the number of transfer students they are willing to receive, notify the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and shall not be required to accept any transfer students that would exceed that number.

Each school district shall develop a method of forming and operating a waiting list for applications for transfer students. Priority acceptance can be given to applications for siblings of students already enrolled in the district, children of an active duty member of the Armed Forces, children of school district employees, students who had previously attended school in the district but whose parents have moved out of the district, and students whose parents present an employment circumstance for which the transfer would be in the student’s best interest. (Section 167.1215)

APPLICATION PROCESS

The transfer application process and parental notification of acceptance or denial of the application are outlined in the act.

The superintendent shall review and make a determination on each application in the order in which the application was received. If a superintendent rejects an application, the reasons for the rejection shall be presented to the school board.

"Good cause", as defined in the act, allows for consideration of applications submitted after the December first deadline. The school board of the receiving district shall provide a copy of the decision to the parents of the student and the district of residence within five days after school board action. A denial of a request by the school board due to "good cause" is not subject to appeal.

The superintendent of the nonresident district shall inform parents and the resident district, in writing, as to whether the student's application has been accepted or rejected before February first of the school year before the school year in which the student seeks to enroll. If the application is rejected, the reason for the rejection shall be included in the notification letter. The letter shall include a reasonable deadline for the student to enroll, after which the acceptance notification is void, and instructions for renewing enrollment in the nonresident district each year.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall publish an annual report that provides data to analyze trends regarding the reasons students participate in the public school open enrollment program. (Section 167.1220)

ALLOWED EXEMPTIONS

A school district may annually declare an exemption to the provisions of this act if the school district is subject to a desegregation order or mandate of a federal court or agency remedying the effects of past racial segregation or subject to a settlement agreement remedying the effects of past racial segregation.

A student unable to transfer due to a school district’s desegregation settlement or program shall have priority for transfer in the following year. (Section 167.1225)

A student whose transfer application is rejected may appeal to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to reconsider the transfer, as outlined in the act. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall collect data from school districts on the number of applications for student transfers and shall study the effects of public school open enrollment program transfers. The Department shall report the findings from this study to the Joint Committee on Education, the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Senate Committee on Education, and any other education committee designated by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall annually audit a random selection of ten percent of the school districts participating in the public school open enrollment program. Any school district found improperly implementing or administering the transfer process shall have state aid withheld until the school district corrects its deficiencies. (Section 167.1230)

Provisions of this act have a delayed effective date of July 1, 2023.

This act is similar to SB 1010 (2020), HB 2426 (2022) and HS/HCS/HB 543 (2021).

JAMIE ANDREWS


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