Open Enrollment

Open enrollment is the process by which parents or guardians residing in one school district may enroll their children in another school district at no cost. The process is subject to the terms and conditions of Iowa Code section 282.18 and the administrative rules of the Iowa Department of Education, 281 Iowa Administrative Code chapter 17.

Open Enrollment Process

Application Deadlines

Parents/guardians of students entering grades 1-12 this fall must complete and submit an Open Enrollment Application (2022-2023) to both the resident and receiving school district by March 1 prior to the school year for which open enrollment is desired. The deadline for prospective Kindergarten students is September 1.

Students who are moving out of district during the current school year, and are requesting open enrollment to continue with Indianola Schools, will need to complete and submit an Open Enrollment Application (2021-2022) to both the resident and receiving school district.

Hard copies of the Open Enrollment Application form are available in the Indianola CSD Central Office. Electronic copies can also be found at the Iowa Department of Education-Open Enrollment webpage.

Deadline Exceptions

Exceptions to the September 1 and March 1 deadlines may be granted under the following circumstances:


An open enrollment request for a prospective kindergarten student may be filed with the resident district up to the third Thursday in September of the school year the kindergarten seeks to enroll. (Iowa Code section 282.18(2); 281 IAC rule 17.7).

“Good Cause”

A student who experiences a change in residence or a change in the status of their district of residence may have “good cause” for a timeline waiver if the change occurred or began after the March 1 filing deadline. (Iowa Code Section 281.18(6).

Mutual Agreement of Districts

“An application for open enrollment may be granted at any time with approval of the resident and receiving districts.” (Iowa Code Section 282.18(14)) This is a local decision requiring approval by both districts. The resident or sending district must approve or act first.

Approval Process

When an open enrollment application is filed by March 1 or after March 1 with “good cause”, the receiving school district acts first to approve followed by the resident or sending district.  When parents/guardians allege pervasive harassment, serious health need or the application is filed after March 1 with no “good cause” the resident district must approve the open enrollment before the receiving district may take action.

Appeals of open enrollment decisions must be filed as a court action in Iowa District Court, unless the application claims pervasive harassment or serious health need. Indianola residents must file such appeals in the Warren County District Court (Judicial District 5).

Appeals regarding harassment or serious health condition may be filed with the Iowa Department of Education within 30 days of the board decision. 281-IAC 17.5(2)


Open enrollment terminates only when the student graduates, moves into the receiving district, moves out of state, moves into another Iowa district and chooses to attend the new resident district, attends an accredited nonpublic school, drops out of school, or parents notify the district that they wish to terminate open enrollment. If a student is temporarily placed in foster care, a juvenile detention center, a treatment facility, or similar placement, the open enrollment status is automatically reinstated when the student returns.


Questions regarding open enrollment may be directed to Denise Moss, District Enrollment Coordinator, at or 515.961.9500; ext. 1516.