Student Application Process for Choice Districts
To initiate the student application process, the parent/guardian obtains and submits a Student Application for Enrollment to the choice district(s). Each district supplies its own unique application for its choice program. A student application template is available to assist in the application development. All student application forms must be made available on the choice district's website. The information provided on the application will determine a student's enrollment category. Student applicants fall into one of three categories: Tier 1 or Tier 2, or those with special enrollment preference.
- To be eligible as Tier 1, a student must be enrolled in a NJ public school in his or her resident school district for the entire year (2013-14) immediately preceding enrollment in a choice district. Tier 1 students also include students in the following circumstances:
- Charter school students
- If a student moved during the year but attended the public school of both the old and new resident districts
- If applying for kindergarten, a student must be attending his or her resident district's public and free preschool or, if that district does not offer a public and free preschool, have a sibling currently attending the choice district.
Choice districts must first fill their available seats with Tier 1 students. If the number of Tier 1 applications exceeds the number of choice seats available, the choice district must hold a lottery to randomly select students.
- Tier 2 students include NJ residents who have not attended their resident public school for the entire year immediately prior to enrollment in the desired choice district and do not otherwise meet the requirements for Tier 1.
Choice districts are not obligated to accept Tier 2 students. If a choice district accepts Tier 2 applicants, they may do so only after all of the qualified Tier 1 applicants have been accepted. If the number of Tier 2 applications exceeds the number of choice seats available, the choice district must hold a lottery to select students. Parents should contact their desired choice district to find out if they accept Tier 2 applications.
- Choice districts may give enrollment preference to students in the following circumstances (the district must post its enrollment policies on its website):
- Students who have siblings currently attending the choice district
- Choice students who attend a choice district with grades that terminate before 12th grade and has a send-receive agreement with a high school or limited purpose regional district; and resident students of the choice district who move out of the district during the course of the school year and want to continue in the choice district the following year.
The application must be received by the choice district by December 2.
Also by December 2, students who are currently registered with their resident districts must complete the Notice of Intent to Participate form and submit it to their resident districts. By law, a resident district must be informed if a student intends to participate in the choice program. The resident district is not required to respond to the notification. Students who are not registered with their resident districts do not need to complete this step.
The choice district must review all submitted applications.
The information requested on the application will indicate whether or not a student is to be considered Tier 1. To confirm Tier 1 eligibility, the choice district must submit the applicant's information to his/her resident district, which then will verify whether or not that student has attended public school in the district for the entire 2013-2014 school year. The choice district must complete a Confirmation of Enrollment spreadsheet for each resident district from which it received student applications, listing each student's name, the school currently attending, and the current grade level.
The Confirmation of Enrollment spreadsheets must be submitted to every resident district by December 6.
The resident district will confirm whether or not each student was counted in the 2013 October ASSA and whether or not the student continues to be enrolled in the district. This confirms Tier 1 eligibility.
NOTE: If a student moved during the year but attended the public school of both the old and new resident districts, both districts must be contacted to confirm enrollment during the respective time periods. These students are also considered Tier 1.
The choice district must determine which applicants will be accepted and rejected and if a lottery is necessary.
- If an application is rejected (see the associated statute for circumstances allowing for rejection), the district must inform the parent/guardian by December 20 with a Notice of Rejection that includes a reason for the rejection.
- If by December 2 the Tier 1 applications number no more than the seats available, the choice district must send a Notice of Conditional Acceptance to each eligible applicant. The Notice of Conditional Acceptance should include a Notice of Intent to Enroll Form for the parent/guardian to complete. The choice district must deliver the Notice of Conditional Acceptance to the parent/guardian by December 20.
If by December 2 the eligible applications number more than the seats available, the choice district must conduct a public lottery for those grades or programs in which the number of applications exceeds the number of available seats. The results of the lottery will determine which students will be accepted as choice students for the following school year and which students will be placed on the waiting list.
- The parent or guardian of each child who has submitted an application must be informed of the date and time that the lottery will take place.
- Each participant in the lottery must be assigned a number reflecting the student's place on the list of accepted students or on the waiting list.
- Upon completion of the lottery, the choice district must send to the parent or guardian of each student who has been accepted for enrollment into the district the Notice of Conditional Acceptance and a Notice of Intent to Enroll Form. These must be received by the parent or guardian by December 20.
- Upon completion of the lottery, the choice district also must notify the parent/guardian of each student placed on the waiting list as a result of the lottery. This notice must include information about the student's position on the waiting list and must be received by the parent or guardian by December 20.
Accepted students must complete the Notice of Intent to Enroll Form and return it to the choice district by January 6, 2014.
Each resident district must be informed if any of their resident students are participating in the choice program. If they are not already registered in the resident district, students must register with their district prior to January 17.
The choice district must send a copy of each student's Notice of Intent to Enroll to the respective resident district by January 17 to serve as notification.
To receive the correct amount of choice aid funding for choice students, the choice district must inform the Department of Education of its choice enrollment for 2014-15.
Submit the enrollment data to the Department of Education by January 24. This enrollment is final and cannot be adjusted after this deadline. If accepted students decline the offer to enroll in a choice program (by not sending in the Notice of Intent to Enroll Form by Jan. 6) and the district selects students from a wait list, this process must be completed by January 24 in order that an accurate final enrollment count can be submitted.
The resident district is responsible for the transportation of all eligible choice students. Visit the transportation procedures for more information. The choice district must send the resident district Transportation Requests for those students. If the student is currently in the terminal grade of their resident district, the request for transportation is sent to the receiving school with which the resident district has a send/receive agreement because it will be responsible for the student's transportation (as this is the school the student would have attended if he/she did not attend the choice school).
The requests must be received by March 15.
THIS COMPLETES THE STUDENT APPLICATION PROCESS
Late applications: Choice districts may accept late applications after December 2. Late applicants may be added to the district's waitlist (if one exists) and may be accepted if seats become available, provided the district does not exceed its approved enrollment maximum. Choice districts may accommodate late applicants until all approved seats have been filled. Any applicants who apply AFTER the NJDOE data collection (1/24/14) will not be funded.
Waiver of the student application deadline: Once a choice district has filled all of its approved seats, a late applicant must apply for a waiver of the student application deadline from the Commissioner. A waiver may also be applied for if a student needs an immediate transfer. A student who can show good cause for an immediate transfer will be given priority through the waiver process over any existing waitlisted students.