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Tuesday

April 2014

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Open enrollment period starts Feb. 4

Wisconsin's three-month open enrollment application window for the 2013-14 school year opens Feb. 4, allowing parents an opportunity to send their children to any public school district in the state.

Traditionally, children in Wisconsin are assigned to school districts based on the location of their parents' home. The state's open-enrollment program began in the 1998-99 school year and has experienced steady growth over the years. The open-enrollment application period is the only tuition-free opportunity for most parents to apply for their children to attend a public school in a school district other than the one in which they live, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.

Under the full-time public-school open-enrollment program, parents must apply during the Feb. 4-April 30 application period to the school district they want their children to attend. Online application is encouraged. Application deadlines are firm. Early and late applications are not accepted. Districts will notify parents by June 7 whether their open-enrollment applications have been approved or denied.

Under the current open-enrollment law, transportation, in most circumstances, is the responsibility of the parent. However, some school districts may provide partial transportation.The Department of Public Instruction provides the following guidance for parents who want to apply for open enrollment.

Parents are encouraged to apply online directly from the open-enrollment website, sms.dpi.wi.gov/sms_psctoc. The online application will be available from midnight Feb. 4 until 4 p.m. April 30.

Paper applications can be obtained from the DPI or any public school district. Paper application forms must be received by the nonresident schooldistrict no earlier than Feb. 4 and no later than 4 p.m. April 30. A postmark for paper forms will not meet the requirement.

Parents may submit applications to up to three nonresident school districts for each child.

Parents may request enrollment in a specific school or program in the nonresident 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 nonresident school district under open enrollment last year are not required to reapply for the 2013-14 school year. However, if the student will be entering middle school, junior high school or high school in the 2013-14 school year, parents should call the nonresident school district to find out whether 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.

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