Last Updated on July 28, 2022 by Michelle Ball
By Michelle Ball, Sacramento California Expulsion, Special Education, sports/CIF, College, Education and School Attorney/Lawyer for Students since 1995
Have you reapplied for an interdistrict (between two school districts) transfer and been denied? California schools are holding tight to their students due to monetary and other considerations. Do parents have to reapply if a student is already on an approved interdistrict transfer agreement? Maybe yes, maybe no– it depends.
There is one bright spot which could help students already on an approved interdistrict transfer: Education Code section 46600(a)(1).
Interdistrict Transfer Law
Education Code section 46600(a)(1) outlines some rules related to interdistrict transfers, and states:
“Once a pupil in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive, is enrolled in a school pursuant to this chapter [e.g. interdistrict transfer], the pupil shall not have to reapply for an interdistrict transfer, and the governing board of the school district of enrollment shall allow the pupil to continue to attend the school in which he or she is enrolled.” (emphasis added)
Section 46600(a)(1) is relevant for parents who have had their interdistrict transfer approved for any reason. Per this law, once approved, the interdistrict transfer supposedly continues until the terms of transfer are breached.
If no exceptions apply, an interdistrict transfer student should not have to reapply every year.
Problematic Exceptions to the Rule
There are exceptions to the above statement, in 46600 itself.
One exception requires reapplication when a student breaches the terms of the interdistrict transfer agreement. Reapplication could then be required.
Additionally, section 46600(a)(2) states that regardless of the above statement, two districts may basically contract to develop terms of reapplication. Hmmmm. This almost defeats the purpose of section 46600(a)(1) cited above!
This is a problem, as if two districts agree, they may potentially require readmission.
Juniors and Seniors Need Not Reapply
Per section 46600(a)(4), students entering eleventh or twelfth grade (e.g. sophomores or juniors moving up) do not have to reapply for an interdistrict transfer and their transfers cannot be rescinded.
Typical Interdistrict Transfer Terms
Interdistrict transfer terms and requirements vary, but usually students are required to attend school regularly, not receive certain discipline infractions, and follow other basic rules.
What Can a Parent Do If They Are Told They Have to Reapply?
If a school or district says a parent needs to reapply, parents are in a tough spot. Whether they have to reapply or not depends on whether the two districts in question have made an agreement between them that reapplication is required
If so, the parent may be out of luck.
If not, parents can approach the school or district before the reapplication deadline and argue the law, but ultimately, the school may not believe them as they are not attorneys.
Meanwhile, parents may have to complete the interdistrict paperwork temporarily just to ensure a slot. Then, if the student is rejected for the interdistrict transfer, parents can argue Section 46600(a)(1) upon appeal to the county board of education.
[originally published January 17, 2013]
Student interdistrict transfer and appeal lawyer Michelle Ball assists parents and students in California. As a transfer, CIF/sports, expulsion and special education attorney in Sacramento, she helps statewide, in places such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Roseville, Tahoe, Redding, Stockton, Elk Grove, Fresno, Bakersfield, Burbank and many other cities.