The following circumstances are considered “good cause” and are acceptable conditions for a timeline waiver if the change occurred or began after March 1.
- Change in family district of residence
- Change in the marital status of the student’s parents resulting in a change in resident district
- Placement of the child in foster care resulting in a change of residence
- Participation in a foreign exchange program
- Participation in a substance abuse or mental health treatment program resulting in a change of residence
- Serious health need
- Pervasive Harassment Failure of district negotiations to reorganization or rejection of a proposed reorganization plan after March 1. Open enrollment request must be filed within 45 days of the last board action or within 30 days of certification of an election, whichever is applicable. This is only applicable to affected students.
- Failure of district negotiations for whole grade sharing or rejection of a whole grade sharing agreement after March 1. Open enrollment request must be filed within 45 days of last board action or within 30 days of certification of an election, whichever is applicable. This is only applicable to affected students.
- Loss of accreditation or permanent closure of a private school after March 1.
The resident district determines if the applicant qualifies under the criteria of repeated and pervasive harassment. The following guidelines are used to determine if an applicant qualifies under the “good cause” provision. A parent or guardian who files an application for open enrollment after the March 1 deadline and alleges repeated acts of harassment is entitled to a hearing before the resident school board to prove the application should be granted. In re Hannah T., 25 D.o.E. App. Dec. 26 (2007).
The harassment must have occurred after March 1 or the student or parent is able to demonstrate that the extent of the harassment could not have been known until after March 1.
The harassment must be specific electronic, written, verbal, or physical acts or conduct toward the student which created an objectively hostile school environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:
- Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or property.
- Has a substantially detrimental effect on the student’s physical or mental health.
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s academic performance.
- Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
The evidence must show that the harassment is likely to continue despite the efforts of school officials to resolve the situation.
It can be reasonable anticipated that the changing the student’s school district will alleviate the situation.
The school board must be provided with the facts and circumstances of the case before making a decision. (In re 27 D.o.E. App. Dec. 960 (2016)).
Severe Health Need
An applicant may qualify under the severe health need provision if all of the following exists. An official in the resident district determines if the applicant qualifies under the criteria of severe health need. (In re Anna C., 24 D.o.E. App Dec 5)
- The serious health condition of the child is one that has been diagnosed by an appropriate healthcare provider, and the diagnosis has been provided to the district of residence.
- The serious health condition is neither short-term nor temporary.
- The district has been provided with the specifics of the child’s health needs caused by the serious health condition and knows, or should know, what specific steps its staff must take to meet the child’s needs.
- School officials, upon notification of the serious health condition and the steps to be taken to meet the child’s needs, must have failed to implement such steps or, despite the district’s efforts, its implementation of the steps was unsuccessful.
- A reasonable person could not have known before March 1 that the district could not, or would not, adequately address the child’s health needs.
- It can be reasonably anticipated that a change in the child’s school district will improve the situation.
Each case must be decided on its own merits and according to the best interests of the child. When no clear distinction can be made, the benefit of the doubt must be given to the child.
Content is taken directly from the Open Enrollment Handbook 2020-2021. Iowa Department of Education.