Introduced by Senator Collins of Franklin District
Subject: Education; public high school transfer regions
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to continue and expand the public high school choice provisions of No. 150 of the Acts of the 1999 Adj. Sess. (2000).
AN ACT RELATING TO CONTINUING AND EXPANDING VERMONT’S SCHOOL CHOICE OPTIONS
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL TRANSFER REGIONS
(a) This section applies to a high school district which maintains a high school.
(b) In this section:
(1) “High school” means a school or that portion of a school which offers grades 9, 10, 11, or 12;
(2) “High school district,” unless the context indicates otherwise, means a school district which maintains a high school; and
(3) “Student” refers to the student if the student is not a minor and the student’s parent or guardian if the student is a minor or under guardianship.
(c) If a school district board determines that participation in a public high school transfer region would adversely affect students in its high school, it may petition the commissioner for an exemption. The commissioner’s decision shall be final.
(d) On or before September 1, 2007, the school board of each high school district shall enter into a regional agreement with the school boards of at least three other high school districts to establish a public high school transfer region. A high school district may belong to more than one public high school transfer region. On or before October 15, 2007, the commissioner of education shall assign any high school district which has not entered into an agreement to form a public high school transfer region by September 1 to a transfer region or regions, and the assigned school shall comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement entered into by the districts in that transfer region. The commissioner’s decision regarding assignment to a transfer region shall be final.
(e) The commissioner of education, upon request of the superintendents of two or more school districts in a transfer region, shall provide technical assistance in developing a regional agreement.
(f) Beginning on July 1, 2007, a student may transfer from the high school of residence to another high school in its transfer region in accordance with this section.
(g) School district boards within a transfer region may agree to charge or pay tuition or other costs for a student who transfers under this section except for special education or technical education costs pursuant to provisions of Title 16. Funds for international education experiences may be allowed if tuition and all other costs are part of any regional agreement.
(h) With respect to a student with disabilities who transfers under this section:
(1) For a student eligible for special education, the district of residence shall be the local education agency and be responsible for compliance with all special education laws, including development or revision of and payment for the individualized education program. Upon request of the district of enrollment, the district of residence shall: determine the eligibility of a student for special education services, consider revising an individualized education program, convene meetings regarding the special education program of the student, provide notice about meetings to the district of enrollment, and provide the district of enrollment an opportunity to be represented during and to participate in decision-making.
(2) For a student not eligible for special education but eligible for supports and services pursuant to Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, or eligible for support under other federal or state laws, the district of enrollment shall be responsible for compliance with the laws.
(i) A district of residence may restrict the number of students who transfer in any year under this section to five percent of its grades 9 – 12 enrollment in the prior year, or 10 students, whichever is fewer.
(j) Annually, each public high school district school board shall determine its capacity to accept students. The commissioner shall develop capacity guidelines which address program, class, grade and school building capacities, and measurable adverse financial impact.
(k) If the number of students applying under this section to transfer to or from a high school exceeds the limits or capacity established, the high school shall devise a nondiscriminatory lottery system for determining which students may transfer.
(l) A school is not required to provide services to a student during a period of suspension or expulsion imposed in another school district.
(m) The superintendents of a district within a transfer region shall jointly develop plans to assure that transportation is provided between the student’s residence and the school of enrollment in a timely and safe fashion for a student who transfers under this section. The commissioner shall pay for the cost of transportation provided under this subdivision and shall provide information to superintendents to assist them in meeting the transportation needs of transferring students.
(n) The state board of education may adopt rules as necessary to implement this section.
(o) Unless the districts in a transfer region agree otherwise, they shall use the following procedures for implementing this section:
(1) Acceptance of applications through March 1 of the school year preceding the school year for which the student is applying.
(2) Notification to the student of acceptance or rejection of the application by April 1 of the school year preceding the school year for which the student is applying.
(3) A requirement that the student notify the sending and receiving schools of a decision to enter the receiving school district by April 15 of the school year preceding the school year for which the student has applied. Following notification, the student may enter a different public high school only if the student and both schools agree. However, if the student becomes a resident of a different school district, the student may enroll in the school of the new district of residence at the time of the move.
(4) A student who has transferred may re-enroll in the school of residence for the next school year by notifying it no later than July 15.
The Vermont General Assembly
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