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Open Enrollment to Open Soon

Wisconsin’s public school open enrollment application period – which allows parents an opportunity to send their children to any public school district in the state – runs from February 1st to April 29th for the 2016-2017 school year.

Traditionally, children in Wisconsin are assigned to public school districts based on the location of their parents’ home. Open enrollment is a tuition-free opportunity for parents to apply for their children to attend a public school in a school district other than the one in which they live.

Under public school open enrollment, parents may apply during the 3-month application period to the school district they wish their children to attend using the on-line application website. Application deadlines are firm. Early and late applications are not accepted. Districts will notify parents by June 10 whether their open enrollment applications have been approved or denied. Although an alternate application procedure allows parents to apply for open enrollment outside of the three-month application period, there are more restrictions associated with the alternate procedure.

This is the first year provisions are in place to improve access to open enrollment for students with disabilities. Those changes include a new transfer amount of $12,000 for students with disabilities. The regular education student transfer amount is calculated on a formula based on the prior year’s amount. For the 2015-16 school year, the transfer amount was $6,639 per student. Along with the higher transfer payment for special education students, resident districts will no longer be able to deny a student’s open enrollment application for cost reasons.

The state’s open enrollment program is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and began in the 1998-99 school year with 2,400 students transferring to a non-resident district. During the 2014-15 school year, more than 53,000 students took advantage of open enrollment.