Interdistrict Attendance Provisions Amended for 2019
Assembly Bill 2826, approved by the Governor in September 2018, made significant changes to the interdistrict transfer process. Primarily, consistent with a continuing trend, AB 2826 requires school districts to post a link to their interdistrict attendance policies, along with other information, on their official websites.
The bill amended Education Code sections 46600, 46601, 46602, and 46603 and added two new sections: 46600.1 and 46600.2. These amendments, described below, modify definitions, timelines, and other provisions. The amendments took effect on January 1, 2019.
Website Posting and Link to Policy
Each school district of residence and school district of proposed enrollment must post on its website procedures and timelines and a link to the district’s policy regarding requests for interdistrict transfer permits. The information and policy link must be accessible to the public without a password. The information posted on the website must include:
- The date the school district will begin accepting and processing interdistrict transfer requests for the next school year.
- The reasons the school district may approve or deny a request, and any information or documents that must be submitted as supporting evidence.
- If applicable, the process and timelines for appealing the denial of a request before the district renders a final decision.
- A statement that a parent’s failure to meet any timelines established by the district is deemed an abandonment of the request.
- Timelines for processing a request, including statements that the school district will (a) notify a parent submitting a current year request of its final decision within 30 calendar days from the date the request was received and (b) notify a parent submitting a future year request of its final decision as soon as possible, but no later than 14 calendar days after the beginning of instruction in the school year for which interdistrict transfer is sought.
- A “current year request” is an interdistrict transfer request received starting 15 days before school begins for the school year. (Education Code § 46600.1(c).)
- A “future year request” is a request received up until 15 days before school begins for the school year. (Education Code § 46600.1(e).)
- The conditions under which an existing interdistrict transfer permit may be revoked or rescinded.
A school district that denies a request for interdistrict transfer must advise the parent, in writing, of the right to appeal the denial to the county board of education within 30 calendar days from the date of the district’s final denial.
Any written notice to parents about a district’s decision must conform to the translation requirements in existing law. Written notices to parents may be provided by (a) regular mail, (b) electronic format if the parent provides an email address, or (c) any other method normally used to communicate with parents in writing.
AB 2826 imposes a timeline for parents to appeal a district’s decision within 30 calendar days; the prior law included only a timeline for school districts to advise a parent of the right to appeal.
Appeals may now be accepted by a county office of education only upon verification that appeals to the school districts have been exhausted within established timelines. As before, the decision by the county board of education must be rendered within 10 calendar days of receiving the decision recommended by a hearing officer. County boards must follow the same notification requirements, as to translation and methods of transmission, that apply to school districts.
A student is now eligible for provisional attendance only upon providing reasonable evidence that a final decision on the request for interdistrict transfer is pending with the school district of residence, the school district of proposed enrollment, or the county board of education.
Provisional attendance begins on the first day of the student’s attendance in school. If the school district and county board are complying with the prescribed timelines, but no decision has been made at the end of two school months, the student can no longer provisionally attend the school of proposed enrollment. In that event, the student must enroll at their school of residence or another educational program.
AB 2826 specifies that provisional attendance does not guarantee that a school district or county board will approve an interdistrict transfer request.
AB 2826 also made these miscellaneous changes to the interdistrict transfer provisions:
- Transitional kindergarten is added to the grades for which school districts have authority to enter into interdistrict transfer agreements.
- A district may not revoke an interdistrict transfer permit for a student in grades 11 or 12, or any time after June 30 following the student’s completion of grade 10.
- References to the “supervisor of attendance” have been changed to the “designee of the superintendent.”
- The definition of “parent” for purposes of interdistrict transfers now includes a person who holds educational rights on behalf of a student.
- The school district in which a student desires to enroll is now referred to as the “school district of proposed enrollment.”
Immediate Action Required
The website posting requirement (Education Code § 46600.2) applies to districts of residence and districts of proposed enrollment. All school districts should ensure, without delay, the required information and link to the interdistrict transfer policy are posted on their district website.
Questions regarding these new provisions and requirements may be addressed to one of the authors or any attorney in our Education Law practice group.