Open enrollment period extended to April 30
Those hoping to open enroll in another school district now have more time to apply.
The law, signed by Gov. Scott Walker last week, will extend the application deadline from just three weeks to three months.
Traditionally, children in Wisconsin are assigned to school districts based on the location of their parents' home. Since legislation was passed allowing public school choice, interest in open enrollment has continued to grow. New Richmond currently enrolls 70 students who live in other districts; 74 students within the New Richmond school district limits enroll in other districts.
The open enrollment application period is the only tuition-free opportunity for most parents to apply for their children to attend public school in a school district other than the one in which they live.
After signing the law, Walker issued a statement saying the new application period will empower parents to offer more opportunities for their children.
"The extended open enrollment application period supports parental involvement and shared responsibility for educating children," said State Superintendent Tony Evers. "Parents who are involved in their children's education make a critical difference in the success of their students and the strength of local public schools. Wisconsin's open enrollment program is one way for parents to take an active role in their children's education."
Under the current open enrollment law, transportation, in most circumstances, is the responsibility of the parent. However, some school districts may provide partial transportation. Parents with questions should call the nonresident school district office to find out if any transportation will be provided. Reimbursement for a portion of transportation costs is available for families whose children are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches based on federal income guidelines.
Morrie Veilleux, district administrator, said he doesn't see the extension having too much of an impact on New Richmond.
He said it's unlikely it will change the number of families applying for open enrollment opportunities.
The application period is now open. The Department of Public Instruction provides the following guidance for parents who wish to apply for open enrollment.
Parents are urged to apply online directly from the open enrollment website http://dpi.wi.gov/sms/psctoc.html. The online application will be available from midnight Feb. 6 until 4 p.m. on April 30.
Paper applications can be obtained from the DPI or any public school district. Paper application forms must be received by the nonresident school district no earlier than Feb. 6 and no later than 4 p.m. on April 30. A postmark for paper forms will not meet the requirement.
Parents may submit applications to as many as three nonresident school districts for each child during the open enrollment application period.
Forms must be filled out completely and accurately. Contact the local school district office or the DPI if assistance is needed in completing the application.
Parents may request enrollment in a specific school or program in the nonresident school district; however, enrollment in the requested school or program is subject to space and other limitations and is not guaranteed.
Most students who attended a nonresident school district under open enrollment last year are not required to reapply for the 2012-13 school year. However, if the student will be entering middle school, junior high school, or high school in the 2012-13 school year, parents should call the nonresident school district to find out if reapplication will be required.
Parents may apply for their children to attend 4-year-old kindergarten under open enrollment only if the resident school district also offers a 4-year-old kindergarten program for which the child is eligible.
Senate Bill 2 makes other changes to the open enrollment program. The DPI is developing procedures to implement the bill and will post information on the open enrollment website as it becomes available.