Inter-District Transfers

The law allows two or more districts to enter into an agreement for the transfer of one or more students for a period of up to five years.  New agreements may be entered into for additional periods of up to five years each.  The agreement must specify the terms and conditions under which transfers are permitted.  There are no statutory limitations on the kinds of terms and conditions districts are allowed to place on transfers.  All transfers are granted on a space availability basis.  The law on inter-district transfers provides for the following:
1) Both the school district a parent/guarding is requesting a transfer to and the one a parent/guardian is transferring from must take into consideration the child care needs of the student.  If the transfer is approved based on child care needs, the student may be allowed to stay in the new district or the high school district to which it feeds through the 12th grade, subject to certain conditions.
  • If either district denies a transfer request, a parent/guardian may appeal that decision to the County Board of Education.  There are specified timelines in the law for filing an appeal and for the County Board of Education to make a decision.
  • No district is required to provide transportation to a student to transfers into the district.
2)  The law provides that if one or both parents/guardians of an elementary school student are employed in the boundaries of a school district other than the one in which they live, the student may be considered a resident of the school district in which his/her parents or guardians work.  This code section does not require that a school district automatically accept a student requesting a transfer on this basis, but a student may not be rejected on the basis of race/ethnicity, sex, parental income, academic achievement, or any other “arbitrary” consideration.  Other provisions of the EC 48204(f) include:
  • Either the district in which the parent/guardian lives or the district in which the parent/guardian works may prohibit the transfer if it is determined that there would be a negative impact on it.
  • The district in which the parent/guardian works may reject a transfer if it determines that the cost of educating the student would be more than the amount of government funds the district would receive for educating the student.  This limitation might particularly apply to any special needs student that would require extra services from the district for which the district believes the state aid it would receive would not fully pay.
  • There are set limits (based on total enrollment) on the net numbers of students that may transfer out of a district under this law, unless the district approves a greater number of transfers.
  • There is no required appeal process for a transfer that is denied.  However, the district that declines to admit a student must provide in writing to the parent/guardian the specific reasons for denying the transfer

See Below for Downloadable Inter-District Transfer Form


Intra-District Transfers

The law requires the school board of each district to establish a policy that allows parents/guardians to choose the schools their children will attend, regardless of where the parent/guardian lives in the district on a space available basis.  The law limits choice within a school district as follows:
  • Student who live in the attendance area of a school must be given priority to attend that school over students who do not live in the school’s attendance area.
  • In cases in which there are more requests to attend a school than there are openings, the selection process must be “random and unbiased”, which generally means students must be selected through a lottery process rather than on a first come, first-served basis.  A district cannot use a student’s academic or athletic performance as a reason to accept or reject a transfer.
  • Each district must decide the number of openings at each school which can be filled by transfer students.  Each district also has the authority to keep appropriate racial and ethnic balances among its schools, meaning that a district can deny a transfer request if it would upset this balance or would leave the district out of compliance with a court-ordered or voluntary desegregation program.  
  • A district is not required to provide transportation assistance to a student that transfers to another school in the district under these provisions.    
  • If a transfer is denied, a parent/guardian does not have an automatic right to appeal the decision.  A district may, however, voluntarily decide to put in place a process for parents/guardians to appeal a decision.

See Below for Downloadable Intra-District Transfer Form



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