For Parents and Students
Student eligibility and application process
All New Jersey students are eligible to become choice students and cannot be selected on the basis of academic aptitude, athletic ability, behavior record, English language proficiency, or any basis prohibited by law. A choice district that offers a special program with a particular focus may evaluate prospective students on their interest in the program and must use the same enrollment criteria used for the resident students. Students interested in enrolling in a choice district must follow the student application process.
Student applicants fall into one of 3 categories: Tier 1 or Tier 2, or those with enrollment preference.
A Tier 1 student must be enrolled in a NJ public school in his or her resident school district for the entire year immediately preceding enrollment in a choice district. Charter school students are considered to be Tier 1. 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 and should be stated in their choice enrollment policy. 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 of students. Parents should contact their desired choice district to find out if they accept Tier 2 applications.
Students who may be given enrollment preference
Choice districts may give enrollment preference to students in the following circumstances: 1) students who have siblings currently attending the choice district, 2) students who attend a choice district with a send-receive agreement (or limited purpose regional districts) that terminates before 12th grade; and 3) resident students of the choice district who move out of the district during the course of the school year. If any of these circumstances apply to your student, please contact the choice district you are interested in attending to confirm their policies.
Transportation services of up to 20 miles will be provided to a student going to a choice school if the student meets the eligibility requirements of state law and the transportation will cost no more than $884. If the cost of the transportation will exceed that amount, the parent will be given the opportunity to pay the additional amount, or may choose to receive $884 as aid in lieu of transportation. Please be aware that decisions regarding transportation will not be received until August 1, 2014. If the school is outside of the 20-mile radius, transportation will be the responsibility of the student/parents/guardians. Information on choice school transportation, the definition of eligibility for transportation and procedures for applying for transportation services can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/education/finance/transportation/procedures/.