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Petaluma City Schools |  BP  5116.1  Students

Intradistrict Open Enrollment   

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The Board of Education desires to provide enrollment options that meet the diverse needs and interests of district students. The Superintendent or designee shall establish procedures for the selection and transfer of students among district schools in accordance with law, Board policy and administrative regulation.

(cf. 5117 - Interdistrict Attendance)

The parents/guardians of any student who resides within district boundaries may apply to enroll their child in any district school, regardless of the location of residence within the district. (Education Code 35160.5)

(cf. 5111.1 - District Residency)

(cf. 5111.12 - Residency Based on Parent/Guardian Employment)

(cf. 5111.13 - Residency for Homeless Children)

The Board shall annually review this policy. (Education Code 35160.5, 48980)

Enrollment Priorities

Intradistrict transfer applications submitted between the first Monday in December and the last Friday in February ("Application Period") will be considered, and the parent/guardian will be notified of the district's decision.

Priority for attendance outside a student's attendance area shall be given as follows:

1. If a district school receiving Title I funds is identified for corrective action or restructuring in the school year immediately preceding the requested year of attendance, all students enrolled in that school shall be provided an option to transfer to another district school or charter school. (20 USC 6316)

(cf. 0420.4 - Charter Schools)

(cf. 0520.2 - Title I Program Improvement Schools)

(cf. 6171 - Title I Programs)

2. If while on school grounds a student becomes a victim of a violent criminal offense, he/she shall be provided an option to transfer to another district school or charter school. (20 USC 7912)

(cf. 0450 - Comprehensive Safety Plan)

3. If a student attends a school designated by the California Department of Education as "persistently dangerous," he/she shall be provided an option to transfer to another district school or charter school. (20 USC 7912; 5 CCR 11992)

(cf. 0450 - Comprehensive Safety Plan)

4. The Superintendent or designee may approve a student's transfer to a district school that is at capacity and otherwise closed to transfers upon finding that special circumstances exist that might be harmful or dangerous to the student in the current attendance area, including, but not limited to, threats of bodily harm or threats to the emotional stability of the student.

To grant priority under these circumstances, the Superintendent or designee must have received either: (Education Code 35160.5)

a. A written statement from a representative of an appropriate state or local agency, such as a law enforcement official or social worker, or a properly licensed or registered professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or marriage and family therapist

b. A court order, including a temporary restraining order and injunction

5. Priority may be given to siblings of students already in attendance in that school.

6. Priority shall be given to students whose parent/guardian is assigned to that school as his/her primary place of employment.

For all other applications for enrollment outside a school's attendance area, the Superintendent or designee shall use a lottery process, as specified in AR 5117, to determine who shall be admitted whenever a school receives admission requests that are in excess of the school's capacity. A school's capacity shall be calculated in a nonarbitrary manner using student enrollment and available space. (Education Code 35160.5)

Enrollment decisions shall not be based on a student's academic or athletic performance, except that existing entrance criteria for specialized schools or programs may be used provided that the criteria are uniformly applied to all applicants. Academic performance may be used to determine eligibility for, or placement in, programs for gifted and talented students. (Education Code 35160.5)

(cf. 6172 - Gifted and Talented Student Program)

No student currently residing within a school's attendance area shall be displaced by another student transferring from outside the attendance area. (Education Code 35160.5)

(cf. 5116 - School Attendance Boundaries)

Legal Reference:


35160.5 District policies; rules and regulations

35291 Rules

35351 Assignment of students to particular schools

48980 Notice at beginning of term


11992-11994 Definition of persistently dangerous schools


7912 Transfers from persistently dangerous schools


200.36 Dissemination of information

200.37 Notice of program improvement status, option to transfer

200.39 Program improvement, transfer option

200.42 Corrective action, transfer option

200.43 Restructuring, transfer option

200.44 Public school choice, program improvement schools


Crawford v. Huntington Beach Union High School District, (2002) 98 Cal.App.4th 1275


85 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 95 (2002)

Management Resources:


Unsafe School Choice Option, May 2004

Public School Choice, February 2004



California Department of Education, Unsafe School Choice Option:

U.S. Department of Education, No Child Left Behind:


adopted: June 25, 2002 Petaluma, California

revised: January 9, 2007

revised: February 10, 2009

revised: January 7, 2020