Last Updated on August 12, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Sometimes moving a student to a new school district is needed. Maybe the home school has too many bullies in it, or is too far away. Maybe the home district does not have a class in German, or maybe a student just needs a change. How does a student get an interdistrict transfer?
What Is an Interdistrict Transfer?
An interdistrict transfer occurs when a student is granted permission by his school district of residence to move to another school district. Both the home and receiving school districts must approve the student transfer. This approval gives the student an “interdistrict transfer permit.”
If a student lives in Sacramento City Unified School District and wants to attend a school in San Juan Unified School District, a parent must file an interdistrict transfer request. Then this interdistrict transfer request must be approved by both school districts to move the student.
Once this is achieved, the student has an interdistrict transfer permit, giving them permission to attend outside their home district.
Obtain an Interdistrict Transfer Form
How does this process work?
The first thing is to locate a valid interdistrict transfer form. A parent may usually obtain an interdistrict transfer application from their home school, school district, or on the school or district website.
Research the Interdistrict Transfer Bases
Next a parent needs to review the school district policies of both school districts and complete the transfer form based on the reasons listed in these policies.
Some examples of possible bases for interdistrict transfers are:
- Employment of parent in new district
- Sibling enrolled and attending new district
- Moving into new district
- Program in new district not at home district
- Court ordered placement
- Health reasons
- Safety of student/bullying
- Other reasons
As two school districts must approve the transfer, the policies of both districts should be researched in advance of any transfer request.
Are There Any Timelines for Submitting Request?
Often school districts have an interdistrict transfer application time period during the beginning of a calendar year (for example, January). However, many school districts will accept requests outside this limited window.
Documents Should Go Beyond Basics
Some interdistrict transfer forms will list documents required when submitting the request, which parents must include. However, parents may want to go beyond these minimum requirements, and include evidence to prove the student’s transfer bases. Good proof will increase the student’s chances of getting the requested interdistrict transfer.
For example, if past bullying is alleged, that student’s history of bullying can be provided. This may be more persuasive than just checking off “health and safety” and mentioning “bullying.” Other items may also be included such as letters from legal counsel, declarations, or other evidence.
Parents may be competing for spots with other students who have applied for transfers, so it never hurts to stand out in the crowd and give good proof.
Items Which May Tell the Student’s Story
As much proof of the transfer bases as possible should be submitted with the application. Some documents a parent may attach to an interdistrict transfer application, if relevant to the student’s specific transfer request, may include:
- History of involvement in community or other activities
- Past classes student has taken relevant to request
- Declarations from parents/students
- Letters from community groups or leaders
- Parents history of employment
- Past report cards
- Pictures showing involvement in certain activities
- Student awards
- Club involvement
- History of bullying/targeting
- Issues at prior school
- Mileage to/from schools
- Therapist letter
- Medical letter
- Child care history
- Current or future child care plans
- Identification of home district as failing by state
- Lawyer letter explaining how bases are met
- Anything that can tell the story of the student as it relates to the bases for the transfer.
What items should be attached will vary depending on the bases for the interdistrict transfer request.
Employment Transfers Are a Great Option, if Available
Not all school districts allow employment transfers. If a parent is seeking an interdistrict transfer based on their employment within the attendance area of the new school district, the interdistrict transfer form may or may not list employment on it. If it does not, the parent may want to see if there is another employment transfer form which exists, as sometimes school districts may still accept employment transfers, but require a special submission form.
The huge advantage in getting an employment transfer (often called Allen Bill transfers) is that when granted, the student will be able to remain in their new school district through graduation without having to reapply for a transfer. The parent may have to prove their ongoing employment anually, however, for the student to remain.
Due to the significant advantages of employment transfers, it is very important parent employment be raised in the student’s transfer form, if the school district accepts employment transfers.
As a student attorney and advocate, Michelle Ball assists parents with putting together transfer applications and transfer appeals. She is a lawyer in Sacramento California so she may represent students statewide in Meadow Vista, Suisun City, Beverly Hills, Tarzana, Clovis, Sonora and other California locations.