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Colorado’s Public School Open Enrollment Policies: Not Very Open

IP-10-2000 (November 2000)
Author: Pamela Benigno

PDF of full Issue Paper
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Executive Summary

The Colorado Public Schools of Choice Act provides for intra-district and inter-district student enrollment.  Many school districts, through school board policy, are discouraging parents from exercising their right of public school choice.  Clarifying the statute to protect parents from restrictive regulations is needed.

As the result of a survey of Denver Metro school board policies and from conversations with employees of several school districts the following changes are suggested:

  • Once open enrolled in a school, resident or nonresident students should be guaranteed enrollment for all the grades the school serves.
  • Open enrollment application timetables should be consistent throughout the state.
  • Districts should be required to accept open enrollment applications throughout the school year. A deadline for the first round of selection should be no earlier than February 15.
  • Students who open enroll in a school outside their attendance area should be guaranteed enrollment in their neighborhood school, if they choose to return.
  • Parents should be permitted to file an open enrollment application with an unlimited number of  schools.
  • Districts should be required to notify all parents of the district’s open enrollment policies and procedures as well as provide a list of optional schools and programs available in the district.