During the summer, Siyu's family moved out of the River School District into the neighboring Hills School District. Siyu is a model student who loves his school and has made many friends there over the years. His parents requested a nonresident transfer so he could continue to attend his same school. The Hills SD released Siyu but the River SD denied the request based on the lack of space in the school and grade requested. His parents filed an appeal.
Finding: The District can only accept a student if there is space. Even though Siyu previously attended school in the River SD, the River SD is first required to meet the needs of students who live in the district. The ALJ denied the parents' request because the district followed all nonresident transfer laws and school district policies.
Ian's guardian appealed the denial of his nonresident transfer request into the Blue School District. The Blue SD sent a letter to the guardian informing them of the denial. The letter did not provide a reason for the denial or explain the guardian's right to appeal to OSPI.
Finding: State regulation requires that a student be admitted when the school district does not comply with the standards and procedures set in law. The Blue SD had not informed the guardian of the reason for Ian's denial or the guardian's right to appeal to OSPI. The ALJ granted the guardian's appeal and ordered the Blue SD to admit the student.
Nara's family lives very close to the border of two neighboring school districts. Her parents want her to attend Landon High School, which is closer to their home. Landon HS is in the Carter School District, which is not their resident district.
Her parents apply for a nonresident transfer but are denied by the Carter SD. They are informed that the denial is based on lack of space in Nara's grade level at Landon HS. They are also informed of their right to appeal to OSPI. Nara's parents decide to appeal the decision to OSPI.
During the hearing, the parents explain that if Nara attended Landon HS, her schedule would allow her to care for a sibling after school. This would help their family financially. The parents also shared that they saw Landon HS as a better fit for their daughter because of its smaller size, greater number of course offerings, and more team sports than their neighborhood high school.
The Carter SD explained that they anticipated being over capacity in Landon HS with their resident students and showed how enrollment projections are determined. Carter SD must also consider their bargaining agreements with their teachers, which includes overload pay for each student that exceeds a class size limit. They have denied all nonresident transfer requests to Landon HS.
Finding: The ALJ acknowledged that the parents had important reasons for wanting their child to attend Landon HS, but that there was no legal basis to overturn the Carter SD's decision. The ALJ denied the parents' appeal request.
The ALJ cannot require a school district to accept nonresident students for reasons other than permitted by law. The school district must also follow its own policy not to admit nonresident students when there is no space available.