What is Open Enrollment and how is it different than regular enrollment?
Regular enrollment is attending the local school you are assigned to based on your home address. This is also referred to as attending your default school or school of residence. Schools must ensure there is enough classroom space for these students (A.R.S. § 15-816.01).
Open Enrollment allows parents to apply for admission to any public school in the state as long as there is classroom space available (capacity). This also includes capacity in Special Education and specialized programs offered.
What types of Open Enrollment are there?
Open enrollment allows students who live:
- Within the WESD attendance boundaries, to attend a different WESD.
- Outside the WESD attendance boundaries, to attend a school in the district.
Parents choose open enrollment for their child for many reasons, such as unique program offerings, teaching philosophy, extracurricular activities, or closer proximity to work. Regardless of the reason, open enrollment is an option for parents if there is space.
How to Apply for Open Enrollment
In order to be considered for open enrollment, parents must obtain an open enrollment application from the district or school website or in person at any school or district office. Completed applications for open enrollment should be submitted to the WESD Welcome and Registration Center.
Schools with available space accept students throughout the school year (A.R.S. § 15-816.01)
Open Enrollment Procedures and Timelines
Applications for the following school year should be submitted on or before March 15 to be given priority.
Approval of open enrollment will be based on school, grade level, and program capacity. Using current enrollment, the District determines each school’s student enrollment, projected growth, and available space.
Families will be notified if their completed application has been approved or placed on a waitlist.
If there is no capacity, the application will be waitlisted. As space becomes available, applications that have been wait-listed will be approved and the parent/guardian will be notified of the acceptance decision.
Applications will not be considered if they are incomplete.
False information submitted on the application will be considered a breach of the agreement and open enrollment will be revoked.
Open Enrollment Priorities
WESD will give open enrollment preference to and reserve capacity for students who fall into any of the following categories:
- Students in foster care.
- Students who 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).
- Students who attend a school that is closing.
- Students who are children of persons who are employed by or at a school in the School District.
- Resident transfer students and their siblings.
- Students who meet additional criteria established and published by the School District Governing Board.
Open Enrollment applications may be approved at the WESD Welcome and Registration Center, for students not receiving Special Education services. Approval is based on available space.
The District/school staff will notify you of the decision concerning your child's open enrollment.