A. School district governing boards shall establish policies and shall implement an open enrollment policy without charging tuition.  Tuition may be charged to nonresident pupils only if the tuition is authorized under section 15-764, subsection C, section 15-797, subsection C, section 15-823, subsection A, section 15-824, subsection A or section 15-825 or if two school districts have entered into a voluntary agreement for the payment of tuition for certain pupils. These policies shall include the information required by subsection I of this section, basic information that is needed to request enrollment and that is consistent with guidance and state and federal law regarding pupil privacy and civil rights, and information regarding the provision of transportation or resources for transportation. The policies must be easily accessible from the home page on each school’s website and be available in English and in Spanish or in any other language used by a majority of the populations served by the school or school district. A school district shall update on each school’s website the school’s capacity and whether the school is currently accepting open enrollment students, by grade level, at least once every twelve weeks unless there are no changes to report for the individual school. If a school has any other separate capacity by specialized program, the information required pursuant to this subsection shall also be posted by specialized program. Schools shall accept pupils throughout the school year as capacity allows. Pupils who are denied access due to capacity shall be informed that they are on a wait list and of the details regarding the process prescribed in subsection E of this section.  Pupils shall be selected as seats become available.

Terms Used In Arizona Laws 15-816.01

  • enrollment: means that a pupil is currently registered in the school district. See Arizona Laws 15-901
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Governing board: means a body organized for the government and management of the schools within a school district or a county school superintendent in the conduct of an accommodation school. See Arizona Laws 15-101
  • including: means not limited to and is not a term of exclusion. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Open enrollment: means a policy that is adopted and implemented by a school district governing board to allow resident transfer pupils to enroll in any school within the school district, to allow resident pupils to enroll in any school located within other school districts in this state and to allow nonresident pupils to enroll in any school within the district pursuant to Section 15-816. See Arizona Laws 15-816
  • Process: means a citation, writ or summons issued in the course of judicial proceedings. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • public school: means any public institution established for the purposes of offering instruction to pupils in programs for preschool children with disabilities, kindergarten programs or any combination of elementary grades or secondary grades one through twelve. See Arizona Laws 15-101
  • Resident pupil: means a pupil whose residence is within the attendance area of a school. See Arizona Laws 15-816
  • School district: means a political subdivision of this state with geographic boundaries organized for the purpose of the administration, support and maintenance of the public schools or an accommodation school. See Arizona Laws 15-101
  • Subject: means a division or field of organized knowledge, such as English or mathematics, or a selection from an organized body of knowledge for a course or teaching unit, such as the English novel or elementary algebra. See Arizona Laws 15-101
  • United States: includes the District of Columbia and the territories. See Arizona Laws 1-215

B. A school district shall enroll at any time any resident pupil who applies for enrollment to the school district pursuant to this section. A school district shall give enrollment preference to and reserve capacity for all of the following:

1. Resident pupils.

2. Pupils returning to the school from the prior year.

3. Siblings of pupils already enrolled.

C. A school district may give enrollment preference to children who:

1. Are in foster care.

2. Meet the definition of unaccompanied youth prescribed in the McKinney-Vento homeless assistance act (P.L. 100-77; 101 Stat. 482; 42 United States Code section 11434a).

3. Attend a school that is closing.

D. A school district may give enrollment preference to and reserve capacity for all of the following:

1. Pupils who are children of persons who are employed by or at a school in the school district. 

2. Resident transfer pupils and their siblings.

3. Pupils who meet additional criteria established and published by the school district governing board pursuant to subsection A of this section.

E. If remaining capacity at a school, as determined by the school district governing board, is insufficient to enroll all pupils who submit a timely request, the school or school district shall select pupils through an equitable selection process such as a lottery, except that preference shall be given to the siblings of a pupil selected through an equitable selection process such as a lottery.

F. Except as provided in subsections A through E of this section, a school that is operated by a school district may not limit admission based on any of the following:

1. Ethnicity or race.

2. National origin.

3. Sex.

4. Income level.

5. Disability.

6. Proficiency in the English language.

7. Athletic ability.

G. The governing board of the district educating the pupil may provide transportation limited to not more than thirty miles each way to and from the school of attendance or to and from a pickup point on a regular transportation route or for the total miles traveled each day to an adjacent district for eligible nonresident pupils who meet the economic eligibility requirements established under the national school lunch and child nutrition acts (42 United States Code sections 1751 through 1793) for free or reduced-price lunches.

H. The governing board of the district educating the pupil shall provide transportation limited to not more than thirty miles each way to and from the school of attendance or to and from a pickup point on a regular transportation route or for the total miles traveled each day to an adjacent district for nonresident pupils with disabilities whose individualized education program specifies that transportation is necessary to fulfill the program.

I. The state board of education shall adopt a model format that school districts may use for describing open enrollment options to ensure clarity and consistency for parents in understanding their enrollment options as described in this section and enrollment capacity at each school, including the ability to choose any school within the school district of residence or any other school district in this state. The state board of education shall adopt rules, policies and guidance consistent with state and federal law for school districts to use while enrolling students pursuant to this article.  Pursuant to the supervisory duties of the superintendent of public instruction, the department of education shall investigate and enforce any complaints that the department receives or substantiated claims of unlawful or inappropriate enrollment practices by school districts pursuant to state and federal law and shall refer any complaints received regarding charter schools to the state board for charter schools to investigate and enforce. The department of education shall regularly update the state board of education on its investigations pursuant to this subsection.

J. The department of education shall provide an annual report that informs the public and policymakers of the open enrollment participation rate by school district, school and county, including the number of pupils, by student subgroup designation, in each school and school district that are open enrolled as resident pupils, resident transfer pupils or nonresident pupils for each school district and the school districts and zip codes from which students are enrolling.  By fiscal year 2022-2023, this participation report shall also include the number of pupils enrolled in charter schools and the school districts from which those pupils are enrolling.

K. Subject to the availability of appropriated monies, each January the state board of education shall design a public awareness effort to distribute materials that do all of the following:

1. Communicate to the public the ability to choose any public school in this state.

2. Direct the public to resources to learn about school choice options in this state.

3. Instruct the public how to request enrollment for pupils.

L. The state board of education may include other options in its informational materials and messaging developed under subsection K of this section.

M. In designing the public awareness effort and distributing materials under subsection K of this section, the state board of education may collaborate with both:

1. Public and private partners to assist the state board in achieving the objectives prescribed in subsection K of this section.

2. The department of education in providing parents and the public with informational resources.