5100.3: Enrollment of Students - Nonresident Students: Enrollment Option Program

I. General Statement. 

A. Nebraska law enables any kindergarten through twelfth grade Nebraska student who resides in the Learning Community to attend a school in a Learning Community public school district in which the student does not reside pursuant to the Nebraska option enrollment laws and subject to limitations and standards authorized by law and adopted by the public school district. The option is only available once to each student prior to graduation. Provided however, that an option does not count toward such limitation if such option meets, or met at the time of the option, one of the following criteria: 

1. The student relocates to a different resident school district; or 

2. The option school district merges with another district; or 

3. The option school district is a Class I district; or 

4. The student will have completed either the grades offered in the school building originally attended in the option school district or the grades immediately preceding the lowest grade offered in the school building for which a new option is sought; or 

5. The option would allow the student to continue current enrollment in a school district; or 

6. The option would allow the student to enroll in a school district in which the student was previously enrolled as a student; or 

7. The student is an open enrollment option student. 

B. Option enrollment shall be administered under the direction of the District’s Superintendent and the Superintendent shall serve as the designee of the District’s Board of Education for any matters involving option enrollment to be acted upon by the Board, except as otherwise required by law or hereinafter provided. 

II. Standards for Acceptance, Rejection, Transportation, and Capacity. 

A. Acceptance, Rejection, Transportation and Capacity. The Board shall adopt a resolution setting forth its specific standards for acceptance and rejection of applications as an option school district, for providing transportation for option students, and for acceptance or rejection of a request for release of a resident or option student submitting an application to an option school district after March 15 as provided in subsection III(A) of this Rule. The Board's adoption of a resolution does not preclude the Board from adopting a subsequent resolution with specific standards partially or wholly different from its previous resolution(s). The standards may include the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or school building, or the availability of appropriate special education programs and, in addition shall take into consideration any unique circumstances having an impact on enrollment capacity. Such unique circumstances having an impact on enrollment capacity shall include, but shall not be limited to, planned expansion and increases of enrollment, projected future enrollments, growth issues pertaining to instructional staff, class size and unassigned instructional space, housing construction projections, and planned accommodations for future enrollment growth. To facilitate option enrollment in the Learning Community, the District shall annually establish and report a maximum capacity for each District school building pursuant to procedures, criteria and deadlines established by the Learning Community Coordinating Council, and provide a copy of the standards for acceptance and rejection of applications and transportation policies for option students to the Learning Community Coordinating Council. Standards shall not include previous academic achievement, athletic or other extracurricular ability, disabilities, proficiency in the English language, or previous disciplinary proceedings except as provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. §79-266.01. Standards for acceptance or rejection of a request for release shall not include that a request occurred after the deadline set forth in subsection III(A) of this Rule. The District may by resolution declare a program, class, grade level, or school building unavailable to option students due to a lack of capacity. 

B. Priorities for Option Enrollment. Priority for acceptance of applications received shall be as follows: 

1. For applications received on or before the March 15th deadline: 

a. First priority for option enrollment shall be for siblings of option students enrolled in the District. 

b. Second priority shall be for enrollment of students who have previously been enrolled in the District as an open enrollment student. 

c. Third priority shall be for enrollment of students who reside in the Learning Community and who contribute to the socioeconomic diversity of enrollment at the school building to which the student will be assigned. 

d. Fourth priority shall be for enrollment of other students who reside in the Learning Community. 

e. The District shall not be required to accept a student meeting the priority criteria if the program, class, grade level, or school building is at capacity, except as provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-240 and subsection III(D)(7) of this Rule. 

2. In the event there are fewer spaces available than the number of applications in a given priority category, the selection shall be determined on a random basis. If the applications received for a school building exceed the remaining capacity of a school building, the District shall establish a wait list for all excess applications in the order of selection priority as hereinbefore provided, and option enrollment slots which become available shall be filled from the wait list in order. All wait lists will become null and void prior to the first day of school. 

3. For applications received after the March 15th deadline and for which space is available in the program, class, grade level, or school building, selection shall be based upon the date and time of submittal of the application to the District with the earliest date and time of submittal receiving priority. 

III. Application and Cancellation Process. 

A. Application. To attend an option school district, the student's parents or legal guardian shall submit an application to the board of education of the option school district between September 1 and March 15 for enrollment during the following school year. If the District is the option school district, the application shall be delivered to the office of the Superintendent or Superintendent's designee. Applications submitted after March 15 shall contain a release approval from the resident school district on the application form prescribed and furnished by the Department of Education. The option school district may not accept or approve any applications submitted after such date without such a release approval. The option school district shall provide the resident school district with the name of the applicant on or before April 1 or, in the case of an application submitted after March 15 as provided in subsection III(A)(9) of this Rule, within forty-five days after submission. 

1. The student’s parents or legal guardian shall use the application and cancellation forms furnished by the Department of Education. 

2. A separate application is required for each student. 

3. Applications shall be accepted for the immediately following school year only. 

4. Siblings of option students shall make their own independent application for attendance as an option student. 

5. A particular school within a school district may be requested, but the school assignment of the option student shall be determined by the option school district except as provided in subsection III(G)(1) of this Rule for open enrollment option students and Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-2110(3) for students attending a focus school, focus program, or magnet school. 

6. A parent or guardian may provide information on the application regarding the applicant’s potential qualification for free or reduced-price lunches. Any such information provided shall be subject to verification and shall only be used for the purposes of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-238(4). Nothing in this subsection requires a parent or guardian to provide such information. Determinations about an applicant’s qualification for free or reduced-price lunches for purposes of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-238(4) shall be based on any verified information provided on the application. If no such information is provided, the student shall be presumed not to qualify for free or reduced-price lunches for the purposes of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-238(4). Each year the District shall randomly select at least three percent of the option enrollment applications accepted, for verification of free or reduced-price lunch status. The District may, in its discretion, audit to verify the free and reduced-price lunch status of all such applications. 

7. Applications for students who do not actually attend the option school district may be withdrawn in good standing upon mutual agreement by both the resident and option school districts. 

8. False or substantially misleading information submitted by a parent or guardian on an application to an option school district may be cause for the option school district to reject an application or to reject a previously accepted application if the rejection occurs prior to the student’s attendance as an option student. 

9. Students who relocate to a different resident school district after February 1, or whose option school district merges with another district effective after February 1, may submit an application to an option school district for attendance during the current or immediately following and subsequent school years. Such application does not require the release approval of the resident district and the option school district shall accept or reject such application within forty-five days. 

B. Cancellation. No option student shall attend an option school district for less than one (1) school year unless the student relocates to a different resident school district, completes requirements for graduation prior to the end of the student's senior year, transfers to a private or parochial school, or upon mutual agreement of the resident and option school district to cancel the enrollment option and return to the resident school district. Except as provided in the preceding sentence or, for open enrollment option students as provided in subsection III(G) of this Rule, the option student shall attend the option school district until graduation unless the student relocates in a different resident school district, transfers to a private or parochial school, or chooses to return to the resident school district. In case of cancellation, the student's parents or legal guardian shall provide written notification to the school boards of the option and resident school districts on forms prescribed and furnished by the Department of Education in advance of such cancellation. 

C. Waiver of Deadlines. Upon agreement of the school boards of the resident and option school districts, the deadlines for application and approval or rejection may be waived. 

D. Acceptance by District. 

1. The District shall accept or reject applications based on the capacity of the school building, the eligibility of the applicant for the school building program, the number of such applicants that will be accepted for a given school building, and in the order of selection priority as hereinbefore provided. 

2. The selection process shall be conducted on a “building by grade” basis. In the event the applications to a building exceed the capacity of such building, the selection shall be in the order of selection priority as hereinbefore provided. 

3. If all school buildings identified on an application are at maximum capacity but the District has buildings offering the same grades which have remaining capacity, the District may communicate with the student, parent or legal guardian and identify those school buildings within the District which have capacity, which the applicant may substitute for one or more school buildings identified on the submitted application. 

4. If the applications received for a school building exceed the remaining capacity of a school building, the District shall establish a wait list for all excess applications in the order of selection priority as hereinbefore provided, and option enrollment slots which become available shall be filled from the wait list in order. All wait lists will become null and void prior to the first day of school. 

5. The District may, in its discretion, accept option enrollment applications in excess of the maximum capacity of a school building, in the order of selection priority as hereinbefore provided. 

6. The District shall notify, in writing, the parent or legal guardian of the student and the resident school district whether the application is accepted or rejected on or before April 1 or, in the case of an application submitted after March 15 as provided in subsection III(A)(9) of this Rule, within forty-five days after submission. 

7. The following students shall be automatically accepted and the deadlines prescribed in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-234 shall be waived: 

a. Students who relocate in a different school district but want to continue attending the original resident school district and who have been enrolled in the original resident school district for the immediately preceding two (2) years. 

b. Option students who relocate in a different school district but want to continue attending the option school district. 

c. An option student who subsequently chooses to attend a private or parochial school and who is not an open enrollment option student shall be automatically accepted to return to either the resident or option school district upon the completion of the grade levels offered at the private or parochial school. If such student chooses to return to the option school district, the student’s parents or legal guardian shall submit another application to the option school district’s board of education which shall be automatically accepted, and the application deadlines shall be waived. 

E. Completion of Enrollment Processes. 

1. The parents or legal guardians of a student who has been accepted by the District for an option enrollment placement, must complete the District’s defined enrollment processes by May 15. Failure to complete the District’s defined enrollment processes by May 15 shall result in the forfeiture of the option enrollment slot by the applicant, and, if applicable, shall be filled from the District’s wait list. 

F. November Application Process. The District may accept option enrollment applications for enrollment to start second semester of the then current school year, in accordance with the following November application process. 

1. Such applications must be delivered between November 1 and December 1 to the office of the Superintendent or Superintendent’s designee. Such applications shall contain a release approval 

from the resident school district on the application form prescribed and furnished by the Department of Education. The District may not accept or approve any such applications without such a release approval. The District shall provide the resident school district with the name of the applicant on or before December 15. 

2. The application requirements as provided in subsections III(A)(1), (2), (4), and (6) through (9) of this Rule must be complied with. 

3. Such applications shall only be received for the program, class, grade level, or school building which the District has determined to have space available for second semester option enrollment. 

4. The District shall accept or reject such applications based on the number of option enrollment slots which the District has determined are available for second semester option enrollment, the eligibility of the applicant for the school building program, and in the order of selection priority as provided in subsections II(B)(1)(a) through (d) of this Rule. If such option enrollment slots still exist after the completion of the selection priority process, then those slots shall be filled on a random drawing basis from the existing applications on file. The District shall not establish a wait list for any excess applications. 

5. The District shall notify, in writing, the parent or legal guardian of the student and the resident school district whether the application is accepted or rejected on or before December 15. 

6. The parent or legal guardian of a student who has been so accepted for second semester option enrollment must complete the District’s defined enrollment processes by December 30. Failure to complete the District’s defined enrollment processes by December 30 shall result in the forfeiture of the second semester option enrollment slot by the applicant and such slot shall go unfilled. 

G. Open Enrollment Option Students. 

1. Each student attending a school building of the District as an open enrollment student pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-2110 for any part of the 2016-2017 school year shall be automatically approved as an open enrollment option student beginning with the 2017-2018 school year and allowed to continue attending such school building as an open enrollment option student without submitting an additional application. 

2. Except as provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-2110(3) for students attending a focus school, focus program, or magnet school, such approval as an open enrollment option student pursuant to this subsection does not permit the student to attend another school building within the District at the same grade level unless an application meeting the requirements prescribed in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-237 and this Rule is approved by the District. 

3. Upon approval of an application meeting the requirements prescribed in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-237, a student previously enrolled as an open enrollment student in the District shall be treated as an option student of the District without regard to his or her former status as an open enrollment student. 

4. In December of each year, the District shall mail to the parent or guardian of a student who is currently attending a District school building or program, except a magnet school, focus school, or focus program, as either an open enrollment option student or an option student, and who will complete the grades offered at such school building prior to the following school year, a notice stating the District school building that the student has been assigned to attend the following school year. If the student resides in the District, the assigned school shall be the school in the attendance area where the student resides. 

5. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection and Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 79-234, 79-235, 79-237, 79-238 and 79-2110(3), open enrollment option students shall be treated as option students of the District. 

IV. Notification of Rejection of Application or Request for Release and Right to Appeal. If an application or request for release is rejected by the District in its capacity as an option or resident school district, the District shall provide written notification sent by certified mail to the parent or guardian stating the reasons for the rejection and the process for appealing such rejection to the State Board of Education. The parent or legal guardian may appeal the rejection to the State Board of Education within thirty (30) days after the date the notification of the rejection was received by the parent or legal guardian. 

V. Treatment of Option Students. For purposes of all duties, entitlements, and rights established by law, including special education as provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-1127, except as provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-241 and, for open enrollment option students, except as provided in subsection III(G) of this Rule, option students shall be treated as resident students of the option school district. 

VI. Accepting Credits. If the District is the option school district, it will accept credits toward graduation that were awarded by the resident school district. Further, the District shall award diplomas to option students if the student meets the District's graduation requirements. 

VII. Transportation or Reimbursement. This section constitutes the District’s specific standards for providing transportation for open enrollment option student and for option students for the 2017-2018 school year and the school years thereafter. 

A. Except as otherwise provided by law, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-611 and District Rule 3811.1 do not apply to the transportation of option students. 

B. The parent or legal guardian of the option student shall be responsible for transportation except as herein provided. 

C. Option students who qualify for free lunches shall be eligible for transportation reimbursement as described in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-611 from the District, except that they shall be reimbursed at the rate of one hundred forty-two and one-half percent of the mandatorily established mileage rate provided in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 81-1176 for each mile actually and necessarily traveled on each day of attendance by which the distance traveled one way from the residence of such student to the schoolhouse exceeds three miles. 

D. For open enrollment option students who received free transportation for the 2016-2017 school year pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-611(2), the District shall continue to provide free transportation for the duration of the student’s status as an open enrollment option student or for the duration of the student’s enrollment in a pathway pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-2110(3) unless the student relocates to a resident school district that would have prevented the student from qualifying for free transportation for the 2016-2017 school year pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-611(2). A student’s duration as an open enrollment option student and such free transportation thus end when a student has completed the grades offered in the open enrollment school building attended during the 2016-2017 school year, or the student is expelled and disqualified pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-266.01, or transportation services are suspended or revoked pursuant to District Policy 3817 for serious or repeated violations of the District’s Standards for Student Conduct, or the student discontinues enrollment in the District, or the student’s application for option enrollment is accepted by the District, or the student relocates to a resident school district that prevents the student from qualifying for free transportation. 

E. For option students verified as having a disability as defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-1118.01, the transportation services set forth in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-1129 shall be provided by the resident school district. 

VIII. Definitions. 

A. "Department of Education" shall mean the Nebraska State Department of Education. 

B. "Enrollment Option Program" shall mean the program established in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-234. 

C. “Learning Community” shall mean the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties. 

D. “Open enrollment option student” shall mean a student who resides in a school district in the Learning Community, who attended a school building in another school district in the Learning Community as an open enrollment student, and who is allowed to continue to attend such school building as an open enrollment option student without submitting an additional application for option enrollment until the student completes the grades offered in such school building or unless the student has been expelled and is disqualified pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-266.01. 

E. "Option school district" shall mean the public school district that a student chooses to attend other than the student's resident school district. 

F. "Option student" shall mean a student that has chosen to attend an option school district, including an open enrollment option student or a student who resides in the Learning Community and began attendance as an option student in an option school district in such Learning Community prior to the 2009-2010 school year, but for school years prior to the 2017-2018 school year does not include a student who resides in the Learning Community and who attends another school district in the Learning Community as an open enrollment student. 

G. "Parents" shall mean, in the case of parents who are divorcing or divorced, the custodial parent. 

H. "Resident school district" shall mean the public school district in which a student resides or the school district in which the student is admitted as a resident of the school district pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-215. 

I. "Siblings" shall mean all children residing in the same household on a permanent basis who have the same mother or father or who are stepbrother or stepsister to each other. 

J. “Student who contributes to the socioeconomic diversity of enrollment” shall mean a student who does not qualify for free or reduced-price lunches when based upon the certification pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-2120, the school building the student will be assigned to attend either has more students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches than the average percentage of such students in all school buildings in the Learning Community or provides free meals to all students pursuant to the community eligibility provision, or a student who qualifies for free or reduced-price lunches based on information collected voluntarily from parents and guardians pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat § 79-237 when, based upon the certification pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-2120, the school building the student will be assigned to attend has fewer students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches than the average percentage of such students in all school buildings in the Learning Community and does not provide free meals to all students pursuant to the community eligibility provision. 

Date of Adoption
January 8, 1996
Date of Revision
August 5, 1996
August 21, 2000
August 6, 2001
June 1, 2015
September 19, 2016
February 19, 2018
Reaffirmed
April 7, 2008