SB 5
Allows the enrollment of nonresident students in public school districts
LR Number:
Last Action:
5/12/2023 - Informal Calendar S Bills for Perfection
Journal Page:
Effective Date:

Current Bill Summary

SCS/SB 5 - This act establishes provisions allowing enrollment of nonresident students in public school districts and modifies provisions regarding transportation costs for certain school districts.

MAGNET SCHOOLS (Section 163.161)

Under this act, any school district that operates magnet schools as part of a master desegregation settlement agreement shall not be considered inefficient for purposes of state aid for transportation of pupils attending such magnet schools and shall not receive a financial penalty for the magnet school transportation portion of the overall transportation budget.

PUBLIC SCHOOL OPEN ENROLLMENT ACT (Sections 167.1200 to 167.1230)

The act establishes the "Public School Open Enrollment Act" to enable students to transfer from their district of residence ("resident district") to a nonresident district. The Act shall become effective on July 1, 2024. These provisions are similar to HCS/HB 253 (2023), SB 1010 (2022), HB 1814 (2022), and HS/HCS/HB 543 (2021).


This act establishes the Public School Open Enrollment Act to enable K-12 students to attend school in a nonresident school district or charter school ("nonresident district"). On or before December 1st of each year, each school district and charter school shall indicate whether it will participate in the open enrollment program during the subsequent school year. Participating districts and schools may accept transferring nonresident students from any other school district. For the 2024-25 and 2025-26 school years, a district may restrict the number of students who may transfer away from the school district to a maximum of 5% of the district's enrollment for the prior year. The act shall not be construed to require any school to add teachers, staff, or classrooms.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education shall develop a model policy for districts and charter schools to determine such standards and the number of transfers they may accept. The model policy shall be adopted by all districts and charter schools, whether or not they participate in the program, and may be modified to meet each district's and charter school's particular needs. The model policy shall require each district and charter school to define "insufficient classroom space" and may provide additional standards for evaluating transfer applications.

Nonresident districts shall accept credits toward graduation from other districts and shall award a diploma to any transferring student who meets the nonresident district's graduation requirements.

Superintendents shall cause information regarding the open enrollment program to be posted on the school district's or charter school's website and in the district's or charter school's student handbook.

A student seeking to transfer to a magnet school, an academically selective school, or a school with a competitive entrance process shall submit proof that the student meets all admission requirements. A student may be denied transfer if, in the most recent school year, he or she has been suspended from school two or more times; has been suspended for an act of school violence; has been expelled for acts that school administrators are required to report to law enforcement under current law; or has been found guilty of an offense specified in the act, regardless of whether such offense was committed on school property. Such student may alternatively be permitted to transfer on a provisional, probationary basis subject to no further disruptive behavior based on standards that shall be developed by the nonresident district. Students denied transfer shall have the right to an in-person meeting with the nonresident district's superintendent.

A 9th-12th grade transfer student shall be ineligible to participate in varsity sports during the first 365 days of such student's enrollment, unless the student meets certain conditions as provided in the act. A statewide activities association may provide additional penalties if the student was unduly influenced to transfer for reasons related to participation in sports.

APPLYING FOR TRANSFER (Section 167.1210)

Students may transfer into only one nonresident district per school year. Transferring students shall commit to attending and taking all courses through the nonresident district for at least one school year, and at least one such course shall be in-seat. Students who transfer back to their resident districts shall reapply in order to transfer back into a nonresident district and shall first remain in the resident district for at least one full semester.

Siblings of transferring students may also enroll in the same nonresident district to which their sibling transfers, subject to limitations based on school capacity and the student's disciplinary record.

Except for students who qualify for reimbursement of transportation costs as described in the act and for agreements allowing such student to be picked up at an existing bus stop, transferring students or their parents shall be responsible for transportation to and from nonresident districts. By agreement with the nonresident district, parents of transfer students may waive requirements for such district to provide transportation required under the student's Individualized Education Program.

Any student who qualifies for free and reduced price lunch and transfers to an adjacent school district or charter school shall be reimbursed quarterly by the Parent Public School Choice Fund established in this act, based on calculations described in the act.

PARENT PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE FUNDS (Sections 167.1211 and 167.1212)

Nonresident districts shall receive reimbursement for the costs of certain special educational services for transferring students. Such reimbursement shall not exceed the district's current expenditure per average daily attendance. The reimbursement shall come from the Parent Public School Choice Fund established in the act. The Fund shall consist of an appropriation of $60 million and any subsequent appropriations. The Department shall annually evaluate the availability and use of moneys from the fund. If additional moneys are needed to fulfill the purposes of the act, the Department shall request such moneys by a specific line item appropriation.


By December 1st annually, each school district and charter school shall set the number of transferring students such district or charter school is willing to accept for the following school year. The district or charter school may set criteria, including limits on the number of students to be accepted to particular buildings, grades, classrooms, or programs. Districts and charter schools shall publish and notify the Department of such information.

Each district and charter school shall develop a procedure for creating a waiting list for all transfer applications when applications exceed the district's or charter school's maximum. In accepting students from the waiting list, nonresident districts shall give additional priority to students in the following order: siblings of transfer students, students who previously attended school in the district or charter school as resident students, children of active duty military personnel, children of district or charter school employees, and students whose parents' employment circumstances would cause transfer to be in the student's best interest. Nonresident districts may also include other priority factors. Parents of applicants shall be informed of how the waiting list shall operate and may be required to reapply to remain on the waiting list.

APPLICATION PROCESS (Section 167.1220)

Transfer applications shall be submitted to the nonresident and resident districts on a form approved by the Department before February 1st in the year prior to the school year in which the student seeks to transfer. Nonresident districts shall mark the date and time of receipt on each such application. Applications shall be reviewed and decided upon by the superintendent. Reasons for any rejection shall be submitted to the school board or charter school governing body for review. Rejection decisions may be finalized only by a majority vote of the board or governing body.

School boards and governing bodies of charter schools may adopt a policy granting the superintendent authority to approve transfer applications submitted after the February 1st deadline if conditions described in the act are met, including a finding of good cause. The act provides additional procedures related to the timing of late applications. Resident districts may appeal the decisions of nonresident districts for suspected violations of the late application provisions of the act. The Commissioner of Education or a three member panel selected by the Missouri Charter Public School Commission shall mediate such disputes and shall conduct a hearing if the mediation is unsuccessful. A decision shall be issued within 10 days of such hearing and may be appealed within 5 days.

The superintendents of nonresident districts shall review and make a determination on each application within thirty days of their receipt. If a superintendent rejects an application, the superintendent shall present the rejected application with the reasons for the rejection to the school board or governing body of the charter school for review. The school board or governing body may accept or reject such application, but no rejection shall be final without a majority vote of the school board or governing body to confirm the superintendent's rejection of the application.


The provisions of the Public School Open Enrollment Act shall not supercede any provision of an enforceable desegregation court order or a court-approved desegregation plan. A school district may declare an exemption from the Act if the district is subject to such an order or desegregation plan, or if the district is subject to a settlement agreement to remedy past segregation. Such an exemption is irrevocable for one year from the date the district gives notice to the Department. Notice of an exemption or to resume participation in the Act for the next school year shall be issued to the Department by April 1st.

By June 1st of each year, the Department shall report to each school district the maximum number of transfers under the Public School Open Enrollment Act for the next school year.

When students are unable to transfer due to an exemption declared by a school district due to a court order, desegregation plan, or segregation-related settlement agreement, such students shall be given priority for any transfers in the subsequent school year by the resident district in the order application notices were received from such students.

Students transferring to nonresident districts pursuant to provisions of current law allowing transfer if the resident district does not offer high school instruction, under the Elementary and Secondary School District Enrollment Option Act, or through the Metropolitan Schools Achieving Value in Transfer Corporation, shall not be subject to the requirements of the Open Enrollment Act. School districts participating in such programs shall also not be subject to such requirements. Students transferring pursuant to the Open Enrollment Act shall not be considered transfer students for purposes of other provisions of current law allowing transfer.

APPEAL PROCEDURE (Section 167.1230)

A student whose transfer application is rejected may file an appeal with the Department or a three member panel selected by the Missouri Charter Public School Commission. The appeal shall be sent in writing within 10 business days after the student or the student's parent receives notice of rejection. A copy shall also be sent to the superintendent of the nonresident district where the applicant seeks to transfer. The appeal shall state the basis for appeal, shall include a copy of the notice of rejection, and may include documentation to show that transfer would be in the student's best interest. The nonresident district may submit additional documentation or arguments supporting the rejection decision to the Department or the three member panel, and shall submit copies of any such response to the student or student's parent, no later than 10 days after receiving a copy of the appeal. The Department or the three member panel shall notify the parent, nonresident district, and resident district of the basis for the Department's or panel's decision if it overturns the rejection.

The Department shall collect data from school districts and each charter school sponsor shall collect data from each sponsored charter school on the number of applications made under the act to study its effects. The Department shall consider the maximum number of transfers and exemptions for up to two years to determine whether a significant racially segregative impact has occurred in any district. Before October 1st of each year, the Department and each charter school sponsor shall report its findings to the Joint Committee on Education, the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education, the Senate Committee on Education, and any other education committee designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.



No Amendments Found.