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Open enrollment period runs Feb. 4-22

Wisconsin's open enrollment application period for the 2008-09 school year will be held Feb. 4-22.

"Open enrollment provides an important option that enhances parental involvement and supports our shared responsibility to educate children," said State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster in announcing the three-week open enrollment application period.

In Wisconsin, children are assigned to school districts based on the location of their parents' home.

February's 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. Since the 1998-99 school year, the first year of the program, participation in open enrollment has grown from 2,464 students transferring to another school district to 23,406 during the 2006-07 school year.

Under the full-time public school open enrollment program, parents must apply during the application period to the school district they wish their children to attend. Early and late applications are not accepted. Parents will be informed by April 11 whether their open enrollment applications have been approved or denied.

In most circumstances, transportation is the responsibility of the parent. However, some school districts may elect to provide partial transportation.

Parents with questions about transportation should call both the resident and nonresident school district offices to find out if any transportation will be provided. Reimbursement of some transportation costs is available for low-income parents whose children are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches under the federal school lunch program.

The DPI provides the following guidelines for parents who wish to apply for open enrollment.

• For the first time, parents will have the opportunity to apply online directly from the open enrollment Web site The online application will be available from midnight Feb. 4 until 4 p.m. on Feb. 22. Paper applications can be downloaded from the same Web site or obtained from any public school district.

• Open enrollment deadlines are firm. Paper application forms must be submitted to the non-resident school district no earlier than Feb. 4 and no later than Feb. 22. Early and late applications will be returned. The paper forms are due in the non-resident school district no later than 4 p.m. on Feb. 22; a postmark for paper forms will not meet the requirement. Hand-delivery of paper application forms to the non-resident school district is strongly recommended.

• Parents may submit applications to no more than three non-resident school districts for each child during the open enrollment application period. Submitting more than three applications to non-resident school districts will result in all applications being invalidated.

• Forms must be filled out completely and accurately. Contact the local school district office or the Department of Public Instruction if assistance is needed in filling out the form. An inaccurate or incomplete form may result in denial of an application.

• Parents may request enrollment in a specific school or program in the non-resident 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 non-resident school district under open enrollment last year are not required to reapply for the 2008-09 school year. However, if the student will be entering middle school, junior high school, or high school in the 2008-09 school year, parents should call the non-resident 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.

Open enrollment application forms may be obtained from any public school district, from the Department of Public Instruction, or from the DPI's open enrollment Web site at

To assist parents in submitting open enrollment applications, a directory of public school districts is available on the DPI Web site at More information is available from local school districts or from Mary Jo Cleaver, DPI, 888-245-2732 (toll-free), or