If you want your child to attend a school that you are not zoned for, you have options. Many school choices now exist for students. The Florida Department of Education provides students with the ability to attend public, charter, or virtual schools. They also offer a school choice option for out-of-zone or out-of-district students wanting to attend a different public school than assigned. The New Jersey Department of Education provides students a choice option to attend schools in participating districts. In both Florida and New Jersey, an application process must be completed. However, many parents either intentionally or unintentionally enroll their child out-of-zone without completing the appropriate application procedure.
What happens if you enroll a child in an out-of-zone school?
If you enroll your child in a school that you are not zoned for, several things could happen.
- The school district could remove your children from school.
The school is not under any obligation to continue educating a student that is out-of-zone without the appropriate application and review process. This can lead to an immediate disruption of your child’s education and present a hardship to you.
- They could charge you tuition for the time that your child was enrolled.
Schools can charge you for tuition if you were found to have improperly enrolled your child out-of-zone. This could leave you on the hook for thousands of dollars.
- They could make an exception based on one of their rules for out-of-zone students.
Even though you enrolled your child out-of-district, the school could still be open to allowing your child to stay. Many times there are procedural guidelines that schools follow to assess whether you child can stay in school, even if they are out-of-zone. You may fall into one of those categories.
- You may be able to negotiate an agreement for your child to remain in the out-of-zone school.
Even if you do not fall under one of the exception categories, you may still be able to negotiate a way to keep your child in school. These may be creative arguments and exceptional circumstances that the school would consider on a case by case basis.
Which choice is right for you?
That depends on the school district and your unique situation. Many times an education attorney can negotiate on your behalf directly with the district. An education lawyer may be able to formulate an argument that presents your specific set of circumstances and lead to a more persuasive presentation – all aimed at keeping your child in the out-of-zone school. Richard Asselta is an award-winning education lawyer. We specialize in the area of school law and all issues that surround students. Call The Education Lawyers today and we will fight for you. (855) 338-5299.