79-2110. Diversity plan; limitations; school building maximum capacity; attendance areas; school board; duties; application to attend school outside attendance area; procedure; continuing student; notice.

(1)(a) Each diversity plan shall provide for open enrollment in all school buildings in the learning community for school years prior to school year 2017-18, subject to specific limitations necessary to bring about diverse enrollments in each school building in the learning community. Such limitations, for school buildings other than focus schools and programs other than focus programs, shall include giving preference at each school building first to siblings of students who will be enrolled as continuing students in such school building or program for the first school year for which enrollment is sought in such school building and then to students that contribute to the socioeconomic diversity of enrollment at each building and may include establishing zone limitations in which students may access several schools other than their home attendance area school. Notwithstanding the limitations necessary to bring about diversity, open enrollment shall include providing access to students who do not contribute to the socioeconomic diversity of a school building, if, subsequent to the open enrollment selection process that is subject to limitations necessary to bring about diverse enrollments, capacity remains in a school building. In such a case, students who have applied to attend such school building shall be selected to attend such school building on a random basis up to the remaining capacity of such building. A student who has otherwise been disqualified from the school building pursuant to the school district's code of conduct or related school discipline rules shall not be eligible for open enrollment pursuant to this section. Any student who attended a particular school building in the prior school year and who is seeking education in the grades offered in such school building shall be allowed to continue attending such school building as a continuing open enrollment student through school year 2016-17.

(b) To facilitate the open enrollment provisions of this subsection, each school year each member school district in a learning community shall establish a maximum capacity for each school building under such district's control pursuant to procedures and criteria established by the learning community coordinating council. Each member school district shall also establish attendance areas for each school building under the district's control, except that the school board shall not establish attendance areas for focus schools or focus programs. The attendance areas shall be established such that all of the territory of the school district is within an attendance area for each grade. Students residing in a school district shall be allowed to attend a school building in such school district.

(c) For purposes of this section and sections 79-238 and 79-611, student who contributes to the socioeconomic diversity of enrollment means (i) a student who does not qualify for free or reduced-price lunches when, based upon the certification pursuant to section 79-2120, the school building the student will attend either has more students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches than the average percentage of such students in all school buildings in the learning community or provides free meals to all students pursuant to the community eligibility provision or (ii) a student who qualifies for free or reduced-price lunches based on information collected from parents and guardians when, based upon the certification pursuant to section 79-2120, the school building the student will attend has fewer students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches than the average percentage of such students in all school buildings in the learning community and does not provide free meals to all students pursuant to the community eligibility provision.

(2)(a) On or before March 15 of each year prior to 2017, a parent or guardian of a student residing in a member school district in a learning community may submit an application to any school district in the learning community on behalf of a student who is applying to attend a school building for the following school year that is not in an attendance area where the applicant resides or a focus school, focus program, or magnet school as such terms are defined in section 79-769. On or before April 1 of each year beginning with the year immediately following the year in which the initial coordinating council for the learning community takes office, the school district shall accept or reject such applications based on the capacity of the school building, the eligibility of the applicant for the school building or program, the number of such applicants that will be accepted for a given school building, and whether or not the applicant contributes to the socioeconomic diversity of the school or program to which he or she has applied and for which he or she is eligible. The school district shall notify such parent or guardian in writing of the acceptance or rejection.

(b) A student may not apply to attend a school building in the learning community for any grades that are offered by another school building for which the student had previously applied and been accepted pursuant to this section, absent a hardship exception as established by the individual school district. On or before September 1 of each year prior to 2017, each school district shall provide to the learning community coordinating council a complete and accurate report of all applications received, including the number of students who applied at each grade level at each building, the number of students accepted at each grade level at each building, the number of such students that contributed to the socioeconomic diversity that applied and were accepted, the number of applicants denied and the rationales for denial, and other such information as requested by the learning community coordinating council.

(3) Each diversity plan may include establishment of one or more focus schools or focus programs and the involvement of every member school district in one or more pathways across member school districts. Enrollment in each focus school or focus program shall be designed to reflect the socioeconomic diversity of the learning community as a whole. School district selection of students for focus schools or focus programs shall be on a random basis from two pools of applicants, those who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches and those who do not qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. The percentage of students selected for focus schools from the pool of applicants who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches shall be as nearly equal as possible to the percentage of the student body of the learning community who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. The percentage of students selected for focus schools from the pool of applicants who do not qualify for free and reduced-price lunches shall be as nearly equal as possible to the percentage of the student body of the learning community who do not qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. If more capacity exists in a focus school or program than the number of applicants for such focus school or program that contribute to the socioeconomic diversity of the focus school or program, the school district shall randomly select applicants up to the number of applicants that will be accepted for such building. A student who will complete the grades offered at a focus program, focus school, or magnet school that is part of a pathway shall be allowed to attend the focus program, focus school, or magnet school offering the next grade level as part of the pathway as a continuing student. A student who completes the grades offered at a focus program, focus school, or magnet school shall be allowed to attend a school offering the next grade level in the school district responsible for the focus program, focus school, or magnet school as a continuing student. A student who attended a program or school in the school year immediately preceding the first school year for which the program or school will operate as a focus program or focus school approved by the learning community and meeting the requirements of section 79-769 and who has not completed the grades offered at the focus program or focus school shall be a continuing student in the program or school. For school year 2016-17, students attending a focus program or focus school outside of the school district shall be considered open enrollment students and, for school year 2017-18 and each school year thereafter, students attending a focus program or focus school shall be considered option enrollment students.

(4) On or before February 15 of each year, a parent or guardian of a student who is currently attending a school building or program, except a magnet school, focus school, or focus program, outside of the school district where the student resides and who will complete the grades offered at such school building prior to the following school year shall provide notice, on a form provided by the school district, to the school board of the school district containing such school building (a) for years prior to 2017, if such student will attend another school building within such district as a continuing student and which school building such student would prefer to attend or (b) for 2017 and each year thereafter, if such student will apply to enroll as an option student in another school building within such district and which school building such student would prefer to attend. On or before March 1, such school board shall provide a notice to such parent or guardian stating which school building or buildings the student shall be allowed to attend in such school district as a continuing student or an option student for the following school year. If the student resides within the school district, the notice shall include the school building offering the grade the student will be entering for the following school year in the attendance area where the student resides. This subsection shall not apply to focus schools or programs.

(5) Prior to the beginning of school year 2017-18, a parent or guardian of a student who moves to a new residence in the learning community after April 1 may apply directly to a school board within the learning community within ninety days after moving for the student to attend a school building outside of the attendance area where the student resides. Such school board shall accept or reject such application within fifteen days after receiving the application, based on the number of applications and qualifications pursuant to subsection (2) or (3) of this section for all other students.

(6) A parent or guardian of a student who wishes to change school buildings for emergency or hardship reasons may apply directly to a school board within the learning community at any time for the student to attend a school building outside of the attendance area where the student resides. Such application shall state the emergency or hardship and shall be kept confidential by the school board. Such school board shall accept or reject such application within fifteen days after receiving the application. Applications shall only be accepted if an emergency or hardship was presented which justifies an exemption from the procedures in subsection (4) of this section based on the judgment of such school board, and such acceptance shall not exceed the number of applications that will be accepted for the school year pursuant to subsection (2) or (3) of this section for such building.

(7) Each student attending a school building in the resident school district as an open enrollment student for any part of school year 2016-17 shall be allowed to continue attending such school building without submitting an additional application unless the student has completed the grades offered in such school building or has been expelled and is disqualified pursuant to section 79-266.01.

Source:Laws 2006, LB 1024, § 16; Laws 2007, LB641, § 42; Laws 2008, LB1154, § 21; Laws 2009, LB62, § 6; Laws 2010, LB1070, § 14; Laws 2015, LB525, § 27; Laws 2016, LB1066, § 21; Laws 2016, LB1067, § 66.