Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) gives parents of students enrolled in Title I schools that have been identified for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring the opportunity to transfer their children to a public school that has not been identified. This requirement applies whether the school in which a student is enrolled administers Title I as a school-wide program [§ 1114] or as a targeted assistance program. [§ 1115]. [§ 1116(b)(1)(E), 1116(b)(5)(A), 1116(b)(7)(c)(i), and 1116(b)(8)(A)(i); 34 C.F.R. § 200.44(a)(1)]
A local education agency (LEA) must notify parents of eligible children of public school choice options at least 14 calendar days prior to the start of the school year by direct mail. The LEA should also provide this information through broader means, such as newspapers and school Web site. LEAs should give parents a minimum of 14 calendar days to choose a school after receiving notice of options. Parents must receive information on public school choice options with sufficient time to make a choice of school by the start of the school year, however, a LEA could also allow parents to make a choice of school after the school year has begun.
The LEA is responsible for providing or paying for the provision of transportation necessary for students to attend the new school.
If all public schools within an LEA to which a student may transfer are identified for school improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, the LEA must, to the extent practicable, establish a cooperative agreement with other LEAs in the area that are willing to accept its students as transfers. [§ 1116(b)(11)]
In implementing the option to transfer certain circumstances may require a LEA to give priority to the lowest-achieving students from low-income families. For example, if not all students can attend their first choice of schools, a LEA would give first priority in assigning spaces to the lowest-achieving low-income students. The statute requires that LEAs determine which students are from low-income families using the same data used in allocating Title I funds to schools. Similarly, if an LEA does not have sufficient funds to provide transportation to all students who wish to transfer, it would apply this priority in determining which students receive transportation. [§ 1116(b)(1)(E)(ii); 34 C.F.R. § 200.44 (e)]
A LEA is REQUIRED TO PROMINENTLY DISPLAY ON THE LEA's WEB SITE the following information regarding public school choice:
1. beginning with date from the 2007-2008 school year, and for each subsequent school year, the number of students eligible for and participated in the public school choice option; and,
2. for the current school year, a list of available schools to which students eligible to participate in public school choice may transfer. [34 C.F.R. § § 200.39(c)(1)(iv); 200.42(b)(5); 200.43(b)(5); 200.43(c)(1)(iii)]
Another educational option exists for parents when the child attends a school that has been identified as persistently dangerous, or when a student has been the victim of a violent crime on school property [§ 9532]. Such students have the option of transferring to a different, safer public school. State educational agencies (SEAs) must identify schools that are persistently dangerous in time for LEAs to notify parents and students at least 14 calendar days prior to the start of the school year that the school has been so identified [68 Fed. Reg. 35671 (June 16, 2003)]. For more information on the unsafe school choice option in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, go to: http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/unsafeschoolchoice.doc.
Attached is a one-page guide that further outlines public school choice requirements. Other helpful resources on public school choice include the United States Department of Education (USDOE) Public School Choice Non-Regulatory Guidance found at: http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/schoolchoiceguid.doc and Arkansas Department of Education Commissioner’s Memo: Parent Notification of School Improvement Status and Transfer Options (LS-10-012).
For more information visit http://arkansased.org/acsip/index.html or contact Deborah Bland or Bernice Martin-Russell at 501-682-4372.