Title 16: Education
Chapter 21: MAINTENANCE OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS
16 V.S.A. § 822a. Public high school choice
[Section 822a shall apply to enrollment in the 2013-2014 academic year and after
[Section 822a shall apply to enrollment in the 2013-2014 academic year and after.]
§ 822a. Public high school choice
(a) Definitions. In this section:
(1) "High school" means a public school or that portion of a public school that offers grades 9 through 12 or some subset of those grades.
(2) "Student" means a student's parent or guardian if the student is a minor or under guardianship and means a student himself or herself if the student is not a minor.
(b) Limits on transferring students. A sending high school board may limit the number of resident students who transfer to another high school under this section in each year; provided that in no case shall it limit the potential number of new transferring students to fewer than five percent of the resident students enrolled in the sending high school as of October 1 of the academic year in which the calculation is made or 10 students, whichever is fewer; and further provided that in no case shall the total number of transferring students in any year exceed 10 percent of all resident high school students or 40 students, whichever is fewer.
(c) Capacity. On or before February 1 each year, the board of a high school district shall define and announce its capacity to accept students under this section. The commissioner shall develop, review, and update guidelines to assist high school district boards to define capacity limits. Guidelines may include limits based on the capacity of the program, class, grade, school building, measurable adverse financial impact, or other factors, but shall not be based on the need to provide special education services.
(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, if more than the allowable number of students wish to transfer to a school under this section, then the board of the receiving high school district shall devise a nondiscriminatory lottery system for determining which students may transfer.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (f) of this section, if more than the allowable number of students wish to transfer from a school under this section, then the board of the sending high school district shall devise a nondiscriminatory lottery system for determining which students may transfer; provided, however:
(A) a board shall give preference to the transfer request of a student whose request to transfer from the school was denied in a prior year; and
(B) a board that has established limits under subsection (b) of this section may choose to waive those limits in any year.
(e) Application and notification.
(1) A high school district shall accept applications for enrollment until March 1 of the school year preceding the school year for which the student is applying.
(2) A high school district shall notify each 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) An accepted student shall notify both the sending and the receiving high schools of his or her decision to enroll or not to enroll in the receiving high school by April 15 of the school year preceding the school year for which the student has applied.
(4) After sending notification of enrollment, a student may enroll in a school other than the receiving high school only if the student, the receiving high school, and the high school in which the student wishes to enroll agree. If the student becomes a resident of a different school district, the student may enroll in the high school maintained by the new district of residence.
(5) If a student who is enrolled in a high school other than in the school district of residence notifies the school district of residence by July 15 of the intent to return to that school for the following school year, the student shall be permitted to return to the high school in the school district of residence without requiring agreement of the receiving district or the sending district.
(f) Continued enrollment. An enrolled nonresident student shall be permitted to remain enrolled in the receiving high school without renewed applications in subsequent years unless:
(1) the student graduates;
(2) the student is no longer a Vermont resident; or
(3) the student is expelled from school in accordance with adopted school policy.
(g) Tuition and other costs.
(1) Unless the sending and receiving schools agree to a different arrangement, no tuition or other cost shall be charged by the receiving district or paid by the sending district for a student transferring to a different high school under this section; provided, however, a sending high school district shall pay special education and technical education costs for resident students pursuant to the provisions of this title.
(2) A student transferring to a different high school under this section shall pay no tuition, fee, or other cost that is not also paid by students residing in the receiving district.
(3) A district of residence shall include within its average daily membership any student who transfers to another high school under this section; a receiving school district shall not include any student who transfers to it under this section.
(h) Special education. If a student who is eligible for and receiving special education services chooses to enroll in a high school other than in the high school district of residence, then the receiving high school shall carry out the individualized education plan, including placement, developed by the sending high school district. If the receiving high school believes that a student not on an individualized education plan may be eligible for special education services or that an existing individualized education plan should be altered, it shall notify the sending high school district. When a sending high school district considers eligibility, development of an individualized education plan, or changes to a plan, it shall give notice of meetings to the receiving high school district and provide an opportunity for representatives of that district to attend the meetings and participate in making decisions.
(i) Suspension and expulsion. A sending high school district is not required to provide services to a resident student during a period of suspension or expulsion imposed by another high school district.
(j) Transportation. Jointly, the superintendent of each supervisory union shall establish and update a statewide clearinghouse providing information to students about transportation options among the high school districts.
(k) Nonapplicability of other laws. The provisions of subsections 824(b) and (c) (amount of tuition), 825(b) and (c) (maximum tuition rate), and 826(a) (notice of tuition change) and section 836 (tuition overcharge and undercharge) of this chapter shall not apply to enrollment in a high school pursuant to this section.
( l ) Waiver. If a high school board determines that participation under this section would adversely affect students in its high school, then it may petition the commissioner for an exemption. The commissioner's decision shall be final.
(m) Report. Notwithstanding 2 V.S.A. § 20(d), the commissioner shall report annually in January to the senate and house committees on education on the implementation of public high school choice as provided in this section, including a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the program's impact on the quality of educational services available to students and the expansion of educational opportunities. (Added 2011, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 34.)