February through August • Feb – applications submitted • Apr – approvals and denials • June – intent to attend • Parents notify nonresident district • Nonresident districts notify resident districts • Apr to Aug – waiting lists • September 1 – school starts….
Where are the kids? • Are the students where you expect them to be? • If they were approved for open enrollment (and indicated intent to attend), did they show up to school in the nonresident district? • Did they show up for school in the resident district? • Did they show up anywhere?
If an approved or continuing open enrollment student… • has not attended the nonresident district by the third Friday of September, the open enrollment is void. • attends any public or private school other than the nonresident district, in or out of Wisconsin, the open enrollment is void.
If an approved or continuing open enrollment student has registered and attended a home-based private educational program, the open enrollment is void. • A number of parents whose children are open enrolled to virtual charter schools believe they need to file home-based forms. They should not file them.
Where are the kids? • Are they where they are supposed to be? • If a new applicant has moved to a resident school district, other than the district indicated on the application form, the open enrollment is void. • If the student’s open enrollment was denied by either district, the student may not open enroll.
Students who did not apply for open enrollment may not open enroll: • A student who recently moved into the area, but did not apply during the February application period, may not open enroll. • Siblings of currently attending students must have applied during February, or they may not open enroll.
Tuition waivers don’t last forever: • Any student who moved out of a district before an open enrollment application period, must have applied for open enrollment during that application period. If the student did not apply, the student may not open enroll.
There are no exceptions to the application period (period!). • Students who are not eligible to open enroll may only attend a nonresident district if: • the student moves into the district. • the parent pays tuition to the nonresident district (same as OE amount). • the resident school district pays tuition to the nonresident district (resident district then counts the student).
Nonresident districts are required to charge tuition to nonresident students. • Tuition may not be waived, except as provided in the statute. • Nothing in the statute permits a resident and nonresident district to agree that: • a student may attend a nonresident district without tuition, and/or • the resident district may count the student even though the nonresident district is educating the student.
Where are the kids--virtually? • Students who are open enrolled to virtual charter schools must be residents of Wisconsin, and must be eligible to be counted in membership. • The student must be physically located in the state and attending school on the count date; or at least one day before and one day after the count date.
Absences from the state (for traveling or competition, etc) must be temporary. The temporary absence should be pre-approved, and the student must continue “attending” the virtual school and keep the school informed as to her or his location.
Persons who are not Wisconsin residents who wish to attend a virtual charter school (or any Wisconsin school) must pay tuition. Owning land or maintaining a “home” does not qualify as residence if the student is not physically present in the state.
Some parents believe open enrollment to a virtual school is home-schooling: • They file home-schooling forms with the department. • They refuse to register their children in their resident school district. • They believe they are entitled to take up to two courses in their resident school district.
No Flip Flops • A student may return to the resident district at any time, but once the student returns to the resident district, the student may not go back to the nonresident district without reapplication. • If the student begins the school year in the resident district, but doesn’t like it, the student may not attend the nonresident district.
A student may not switch school districts from week to week under open enrollment (sometimes requested by parents sharing placement). Once a student has enrolled in another school district, the open enrollment ends.
Full-time isn’t Part-time • Students who are participating in full-time OE are not entitled to any education in their resident school districts, nor are they entitled to participate in any extra-curricular activities in their resident school districts, nor to use any resident school district facilities or resources…
…there does not appear to be any law restricting resident districts from allowing students to take a course, or participate in an activity, but once the student is open enrolled-out, the district has no further obligation unless the student re-enrolls in and attends the resident district.
Foreign Exchange Students • A school board may permit a foreign exchange student to attend school in the school district without payment of tuition. • A district may accept a foreign exchange student, even if the student is placed in a different school district. • The school district of attendance counts the student in membership.
“9-week waiver” • Declaration that parent will establish residency in district by specified date. • District may charge tuition for 9 weeks or may waive tuition for 9 weeks. • If parent establishes residency within 9 weeks, tuition for that 9 weeks is refunded. • Applies only to Wisconsin residents.
Communication is Key • Nearly every open enrollment issue involves at least two school districts. • Communicate early and often. • Forward tuition waiver requests promptly. • Forward change of status forms promptly.
If there’s a question, talk with each other before calling DPI. Saves a step or two. • Then remember to keep DPI (Scott) in the loop.
Try to develop procedures that will catch errors early: • Student shows up who should not be there should be caught early at the school level, if possible. • Special education team will know which children are OE, and that the resident district must be notified of referrals and appoint a member to the IEP team.
Open Enrollment Web Site & List Serve Open Enrollment Web Site • http://dpi.wi.gov/sms/psctoc.html Open Enrollment List Serve • receive information and announcements • printed information rarely used • to sign up, send email to: • L.email@example.com
Department of Public Instruction Elizabeth Burmaster, State Superintendent November, 2006 Department of Public Instruction125 S. Webster StreetP.O. Box 7841Madison, WI 53707-7841http://dpi.wi.gov