Open Enrollment Information

All public school districts in South Dakota have available to the public, upon request, written policies setting the standards by which students may be accepted for open enrollment in that school district. The standards address capacity of programs, classes, grade level and school buildings and may set student-teacher ratios.

A three-part application form (to download the Open Enrollment Application, please click here) for open enrollment is available from any convenient public school district business office in South Dakota or may be downloaded and printed from the South Dakota Department of Education website.

Parents or guardians must submit the completed application form to the "choice" district.

The school board of the "choice" district acts on the applications of students who want to transfer in. (No action is required by the resident district from where the student plans to transfer; however, a copy of the application will be provided to the home district for informational and planning purposes.)

Within five days after school board action on the application (either to approve or disapprove), the "choice" district sends a signed copy of the form (white copy) back to the parent or guardian.

Families with students in need of special education who wish to transfer to another district through open enrollment should be aware of the requirements that must be addressed prior to be accepted for enrollment. The district is which the family is seeking to enroll must conduct review of relevant educational records of the student and speak with the family and sending district to determine if they have an appropriate educational program for the student. If the receiving district confirms they can provide appropriate services, the open enrollment process continues with board approval.

If the district is unable to confirm they can serve the student through the records review and consultation, a joint IEP team meeting with the sending and receiving district must be held. The intent of the joint IEP team meeting is to verify whether or not the receiving district has an appropriate program for the student who is seeking to enroll. After the determination is made, the receiving district will proceed accordingly with regards to accepting or declining the student for open enrollment.

Once approved, the open enrollment application serves as the student’s notice of intent to enroll in the desired school or district. The student is obligated to attend that school during the next school year, unless the affected school boards agree in writing to allow the student to transfer back to the resident district or assigned school, or unless the parents or guardians change residence to another district.

The Legislature created a special provision for children in the same family or household; if one child can be admitted within the "choice" district’s capacity standards, all children from the family will be admitted, if the family wishes them to be educated in the same district.

The parent or guardian of the open enrolled student is responsible for transporting the student without reimbursement. However, either the admitting or the home district MAY agree to provide transportation.

Once enrolled in the new school, the student does not have to resubmit annual applications.

(Information republished with permission from the South Dakota Department of Education. For more information on Open Enrollment in South Dakota, please click here.)


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