Regular Open Enrollment Application Period
February 3 - May 29, 2020 for the 2020-21 School Year
Due to COVID-19, the regular open enrollment application processing dates have been extended. The application period ends May 29, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. Nonresident school districts have until July 2, 2020 to notify parents of approval or denial. Parents have until July 31, 2020 to inform the nonresident district of their intent to attend.
There are two ways to apply for open enrollment:
- The regular application period is used to apply for the following school year.
- The alternative application procedure is used to apply for the current school year.
More information on alternative application procedures can be found on the alternative application procedures page.
Regular Application Period
The regular application period occurs during a 3-month application period each year from February to April for the following school year. It is a parent’s first and best opportunity to apply for open enrollment for a particular school year.
The preferred method to apply for open enrollment is using the Department of Public Instruction’s online application form. This form is “active” only during the application period and is accessed from a link on the main page of the open enrollment web site. Although paper forms are available, they are discouraged unless the parent is unable to submit an online application.
A pupil may apply to up to three nonresident school districts in any school year. The parent may request a specific school or program in the nonresident school district, however, assignment to the requested school or program is not guaranteed—even if the application is approved.
A pupil may open enroll for prekindergarten, early childhood education and 4-year-old kindergarten only if the pupil’s resident school district offers the same type of program and only if the pupil is eligible for the program in the nonresident district.
An application may be approved or denied by either the nonresident or resident district. A nonresident district may deny an application only for the following reasons:
- Space is not available in the schools, programs, classes or grades in the district.
- The special education or related services required in the pupil’s individualized education program (IEP) or there is no space to provide the special education or related services.
- The pupil has been referred for an initial special education evaluation that has not been completed.
- The pupil is currently expelled.
- The pupil has been expelled during the current or two preceding school years (even if the pupil has been permitted to return to school) or is the subject of a pending disciplinary proceeding based on any of the following conduct:
- Conveying or causing to be conveyed any threat or false information concerning an attempt or alleged attempt being made or to be made to destroy any school property by means of explosives.
- Engaging in conduct while at school or while under supervision of a school authority that endangered the health, safety or property of others.
- Engaging in conduct while not at school or while not under the supervision of a school authority that endangered the health, safety or property of others at school or under the supervision of a school authority or of any employee of the school district or member of the school board.
- Possessing a dangerous weapon, as defined in s. 939.22 (10), while at school or while under the supervision of a school authority.
- The pupil has been habitually truant from the nonresident school district during either semester of the current school year.
A resident school district may deny an application only for the following reasons:
- The resident school district does not offer the same type of prekindergarten, early childhood or 4-year-old kindergarten to which the pupil has applied or the pupil is not eligible for the program in the resident school district.
In addition, a pupil’s open enrollment may be denied if the pupil is not entitled to a free education in Wisconsin:
- A child must be 4 years old on or before September 1 in order to enter 4-year-old kindergarten and 5 years old on or before September 1 in order to enter 5-year-old kindergarten. A pupil who does not meet these age requirements may be denied open enrollment.
- A pupil may request early admission to 4-year-old or 5-year-old kindergarten. A nonresident school district may, but is not required to, evaluate a child for early admission. For early admission to 5-year-old kindergarten, the pupil is only required to meet early admission criteria in the nonresident school district. For early admission to 4-year-old kindergarten, the pupil must meet early admission criteria in both the resident and nonresident school districts.
- A pupil who is 21 on or before the beginning of the school term is not entitled to a free education in Wisconsin and is not eligible for open enrollment.
- An application submitted after 4:00 p.m. on the last day of the application is ineligible.
If an application is denied by the nonresident or resident school district, the parent may file an appeal with the Department of Public Instruction within 30 days of the date the notice of denial was postmarked or delivered to the parent, whichever is earlier. Information about filing an appeal can be found on the appeals webpage.
Important Open Enrollment Dates
- February 3 - May 29, 2020 – Parents must submit applications online or directly to the nonresident school district.
- July 2, 2020 – Nonresident school districts must mail notices of approval or denial. If the application is approved, the school district must notify the parents of the specific school or program to which the student is assigned. If the application is denied, parents have 30 days to file an appeal.
- July 9, 2020 – Resident districts must notify applicants if the application is denied. If the application is denied, parents have 30 days to file an appeal.
- July 31, 2020 – Parents of accepted applicants must notify the nonresident district if the student will attend the nonresident district in the 2020-21 school year. If the parent fails to make this notification, the nonresident district may refuse to allow the student to attend the district.