Arkansas School Choice
The Public School Choice program was established to give parents and students more options with respect to where students attend public school and to enable any student to attend a school in a district in which the student does not reside, subject to the restrictions contained in ARKANSAS PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE ACT of 2015.
PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE ANNOUNCEMENT
This is a public announcement. With some limitations, the Public School Choice law in Arkansas allows students to attend a public school in a district other than the one in which they reside. Applications for students in the following counties: Clark, Grant, Hot Spring, Pike, and Saline, (must be made by May 1, 2022, to qualify for provisions under the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015.)
Pursuant to standards adopted by a non-resident school board, a non-resident district may reserve the right to accept and reject applicants based on capacity of programs, class, grade level, or school building. School districts are not required to add teachers, staff, or classrooms in order to accommodate school choice transfers. School districts may deny school choice transfers based upon a lack of capacity if the school district has reached at least ninety percent (90%) of the maximum authorized student population in a program, class, grade level, or school building.
However, a non-resident district’s standards shall not include an applicant’s academic achievement, athletic or other extra-curricular ability, English proficiency level, or previous disciplinary proceedings, except that an expulsion from another district may be included as a reason for rejection of the application pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-510. School districts receiving school choice transfers will not discriminate on the basis of gender, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, or disability.
Priority will be given to applicants with siblings or step-siblings who reside in the same household and who are already enrolled in the non-resident district by school choice. The non-resident district shall accept credits toward graduation that were awarded by another district and award a diploma to a non-resident student if the student meets the non-resident district’s graduation requirements. Applications must be postmarked or delivered to the non-resident district no later than May 1 for a child to be able to enroll for the fall semester. By July 1, 2022, the superintendent of the non-resident district will notify the parent and the resident district in writing as to whether the student’s application has been accepted or rejected. Students who have been accepted and enrolled in previous years, and who are still in attendance in the non-resident district, do not have to apply again as approved transfers remain valid for as long as the student attends that public school.