Measuring Up to the Model



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12. Clear Student Recruitment, Enrollment, and Lottery Procedures

12A. Open enrollment to any student in the state.

12B. Lottery requirements.

12C. Required enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school.

12D. Optional enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

How well do states’ laws align to this component of the model law?

State

Charter Law Description

Score

Alaska

Alaska law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for clear student recruitment, enrollment, and lottery procedures. However, Alaska law requires charter schools to hold lotteries if too many students seek enrollment in the school.

2

Arizona

Arizona law requires charter schools to be open to all students in the state.

Arizona law requires charter schools to use equitable selection processes such as a lottery if demand exceeds capacity.

Arizona law requires charter schools to give enrollment preferences to pupils returning to the school and to siblings of such students. In addition, it requires charter schools sponsored by local school boards to give enrollment preferences to eligible pupils who reside within the boundaries of the district.

Arizona law allows charter schools to give preference to children, grandchildren, or legal wards of employees of the school, employees of the charter holder, members of the governing body of the school, or directors, officers, partners, or board members of the charter holder and to a pupil who attended another charter school or are the siblings of that pupil if the charter school previously attended by the pupil has the identical charter holder, board, and governing board membership as the enrolling charter school or is managed by the same educational management organization, charter management organization, or educational service provider as determined by the charter authorizer. However, there is no limit on the percentage of a school’s total student population that may be admitted via these preferences.

6

Arkansas

Arkansas law requires open enrollment charter schools to be open to all students in the state and conversion charter schools to be open to all students in the district.

Arkansas law requires charter schools to use a random anonymous student selection method if interest exceeds capacity. It also allows a weighted lottery to be used when necessary to comply with legally required desegregation efforts.

State law provides that prior year students who wish to continue in attendance at their open enrollment charter school do not have to go through the application and lottery process.

Arkansas law allows open enrollment schools to provide an enrollment preference for children of a school's founders (although these cannot exceed 10% of the school’s enrollment) and siblings of children in the school (but does not require them).

It does not require schools to provide enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions.

4

California

California law requires charter schools to be open to all students in the state.

California law requires charter schools to use a public random drawing if demand exceeds capacity.

California law requires enrollment preferences for conversions and students residing in the school district. It does not require enrollment preferences for prior year students within chartered schools and siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school.

California law specifically permits one optional enrollment preference: A charter school located in the attendance area of a district elementary school in which at least 50% of the enrollment qualifies for free and reduced price lunch may give preference to pupils currently enrolled in that school and to pupils who reside in the elementary school attendance area where the charter school is located.

California law also allows other preferences as permitted by the authorizer on an individual school basis and only if consistent with the law. It is under that authority that charter schools typically will add in their preferences for children of founders, staff, and board members. While not explicit, it is clearly allowed under the law and quite common in practice.

6

Colorado

Colorado law requires public charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state. However, it also provides that a prospective charter school may not execute a charter contract with a local district unless a majority of the proposed school’s pupils, other than online pupils, will reside in the chartering district or in contiguous districts.

Colorado law does not require charter schools to administer enrollment lotteries if a school is oversubscribed. Instead, the law permits charter schools to admit students on a first-come, first-served basis.

Colorado law provides for charter schools to make enrollment decisions in a nondiscriminatory manner specified by the charter school applicant in the application and does not require the mandatory enrollment preferences specified in the model law (for previously enrolled students within conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school). The law permits charter schools to negotiate optional enrollment preferences with their authorizer, but the only automatically permitted optional preference is for founders’ children.

2

Connecticut

Connecticut law requires charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state. It also requires charters to determine enrollment by lottery. It allows charter schools to give preference to siblings.

The law allows the governing council of a state or local charter school to apply to the state board of education for a waiver of the requirements of the enrollment lottery, provided such state or local charter school has as its primary purpose the establishment of education programs designed to serve one or more of the following populations: students with a history of behavioral and social difficulties; students identified as requiring special education; students who are English language learners; or students of a single gender.

The law also provides that an enrollment lottery shall not be held for a local charter school that is established at a school that is among the schools with a percentage equal to or less than five per cent when all schools are ranked highest to lowest in school performance index scores.

4

Delaware

Delaware law requires charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state.

Delaware law requires charter schools to conduct a lottery in the case of over-enrollment.

Delaware law allows, but does not require, charter schools to give preferences in student admissions to siblings of students currently enrolled at the school, to students attending an existing public school converted to charter status, and to children of a school's founders, so long as they constitute no more than 5% of the school's total student population.

Delaware law allows start-up charters to give the following types of preferences in student admissions as long as the school has described its preferences in the school's charter: students residing within a five-mile radius of the school; students residing within the regular school district in which the school is located; students who have a specific interest in the school's teaching methods, philosophy, or educational focus; students who are at risk of academic failure; and children of persons employed on a permanent basis for at least 30 hours per week during the school year by the charter school.

6

District of Columbia

The law requires charter schools to be open to any student in DC.

If a charter school is oversubscribed, the law requires them to select its students by random lottery.

The law requires enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students in conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, and siblings of enrolled students.

The law allows a charter school to give preference to children of the school’s founders, so long as the enrollment of founders’ children is limited to 10% of total enrollment or 20 students, whichever is less.

8

Florida

Florida law provides that charter schools must be open to any student residing in the district or covered in an inter-district agreement.

Florida law requires charter schools to admit students via a random selection process when the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or building.

Florida law provides that conversions must give enrollment preference to students who would have otherwise attended that public school. It also provides that any charter school must give first preference for admission to dependent children of active-duty military personnel. It does not require them to provide enrollment preferences for prior year students within chartered schools and siblings of students enrolled at a charter school.

Florida law provides that charter schools may give enrollment preference to students who are siblings of a student enrolled in the charter school, students who are the children of a member of the governing board of the charter school, students who are the children of an employee of the charter school, students who are children of a business partner with the school, students who are children of a resident of a municipality that operates a charter school-in-a-municipality, students who have been in a pre-K program in that school, and students who are the children of active-duty members of any branch of the armed forces.

Florida law provides that a charter school may limit the enrollment process only to target the following student populations: students within specific age groups or grade levels; students considered at risk of dropping out of school or academic failure (such students include exceptional education students); students enrolling in a charter school-in-the-workplace or charter school-in-a-municipality; students residing within a reasonable distance of the charter school; students who meet reasonable academic, artistic, or other eligibility standards established by the charter school and included in the charter school application and charter or, in the case of existing charter schools, standards that are consistent with the school's mission and purpose; and students articulating from one charter school to another pursuant to an articulation agreement between the charter schools that has been approved by the authorizer.

4

Georgia

Georgia law provides that charter schools must be open to any student residing in the district or covered in an inter-district agreement.

Georgia law requires charter schools to admit students via a random selection process when the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or building.

Georgia law provides that a district-authorized start-up charter school may (but is not required to) give enrollment preference to a sibling of a student enrolled in the school, a sibling of a student enrolled in another local school designated in the charter, a student whose parent or guardian is a member of the governing board of the charter school or is a full-time teacher, professional, or other employee at the charter school, students matriculating from a local school designated in the charter, and a sibling of a nonresident student currently enrolled in the charter school.

Georgia law provides that a district-authorized conversion charter school may give enrollment preference to a sibling of a student enrolled in the school or in any school in a high school cluster, a student whose parent or guardian is a member of the governing board of the charter school or is a full-time teacher, professional, or other employee at the charter school, students who were enrolled in the local school prior to its becoming a charter school, students who reside in the charter attendance zone specified in the charter, and a sibling of a nonresident student currently enrolled in the charter school.

Georgia law provides that a state chartered special school may give enrollment preference to a child of a full-time teacher, professional, or other employee of the state chartered special school or to a sibling of a student currently enrolled in the state chartered special school. There is no provision that limits the total percentage of such students.

6

Hawaii

Hawaii law requires start-up charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state.

The law requires start-up charter schools to select students through a public lottery if capacity is insufficient to enroll all students who have submitted a timely application.

The law allows start-up charter schools to give enrollment preferences for prior year students within chartered schools and siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school.

The law requires conversion charter schools to enroll any student who resides within the school’ former geographic service area for the grades that were in place when the public school converted to a charter school. It also requires conversion charter schools to be subject to the enrollment requirements for start-up charter schools for grades that were not in place when the school converted to a public charter school.

4

Idaho

Idaho law provides that charter schools are open to any student in the state. The law sets forth a mandatory enrollment preference for students residing in the attendance area of the charter school.

The law requires a lottery or other random method to select students if a charter school is oversubscribed. The law allows but does not require enrollment preferences for students returning to a charter school, siblings of enrolled students, and students living in the charter school’s attendance area.

The law allows enrollment preference for founders’ children, up to 10% of school capacity.

6

Illinois

Illinois law does not require charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state.

Illinois law requires that if there are more applicants than spaces, charter schools must choose students by lottery.

Illinois law requires charter schools to give priority in admissions to siblings of pupils enrolled in the charter school and to pupils enrolled in the school the previous school year, unless expelled for cause. It does not require them to have an enrollment preference for previously enrolled students within conversions.

Illinois law allows charter schools to give priority to pupils residing within the charter school's attendance boundary in Chicago, if the Chicago school board has designated a boundary. The law allows the Chicago school board to designate attendance boundaries for no more than one-third of the charter schools permitted in the city if it determines that attendance boundaries are needed to relieve overcrowding or to better serve low-income and at-risk students.

It also allows a charter school located in a school district that contains all or part of a federal military base may set aside up to 33% of its current charter enrollment to students with parents assigned to the federal military base, with the remaining 67% subject to the general enrollment and lottery requirements. It also provides that if a student with a parent assigned to the federal military base withdraws from the charter school during the course of a school year for reasons other than grade promotion, those students with parents assigned to the federal military base shall have preference in filling the vacancy.

The law does not allow charter schools to give an enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees.

4

Indiana

Indiana law requires all charter schools to be open to any student who resides in Indiana.

Indiana law stipulates that if more applications are received than available slots, then each applicant will receive equal consideration.

Indiana law provides that charters may have enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students at conversions, students enrolled at a charter school the previous year, and siblings of students enrolled at a charter school, but it does not require these preferences.

The law does not provide enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

4

Iowa

Iowa law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for clear student recruitment, enrollment, and lottery procedures. However, Iowa law requires charter schools to enroll all eligible resident students unless the number of applications exceeds capacity, and then students must be accepted by lot. It allows charter schools to enroll eligible nonresident students, but there is no requirement for schools to be open to any student in the state.

Iowa law requires charter schools to give priority to the siblings of students enrolled in the school.

2

Kansas

Kansas law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for clear student recruitment, enrollment, and lottery procedures. However, Kansas law requires charter schools to hold lotteries if too many students seek enrolment in the school.

2

Louisiana

Depending on the type of charter, some restrictions on the enrollment area exist.
Louisiana law requires charter schools to use an admissions lottery if the total number of eligible applicants exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or school.

For each type of charter school except Types 3B and 5, state law specifies the minimum and/or maximum percentage of at-risk pupils that shall attend each type of charter school.

Previously enrolled students in conversion schools and students previously enrolled at a charter school and their siblings are exempt from the lottery.

Louisiana law permits a charter school to create admission requirements, which may include specific requirements related to a school’s mission such as auditions for schools with a performing arts mission or proficiency in a foreign language for schools with a language immersion mission. This provision does not apply to Types 3B and 5 charter schools.

All types of charter schools except Type 2 charters may also include enrollment preferences for students residing within geographic boundaries immediately surrounding each school, although Type 5 schools cannot have more than 50% of such students in each grade. Type 2 charters may establish residency requirements to include all students living within the state or as restricted to a particular parish or parishes.

Law also permits enrollment preferences of up to 50% of the enrollment for dependent children of permanent employees of a corporate partner.

For the process of enrolling students for the 2013-2014 school year, state board rule requires the state department of education to manage a pilot program wherein the department shall allow an enrollment preference for those students matriculating or transferring into ninth grade or above between eligible state board-authorized charter schools for a limited percentage of the seats in the charter school, to be determined by the department.

The law does not provide optional enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

4

Maine

Maine law provides that charter schools are open to any state resident as well as to residents outside of the state if space is available.

The law details lottery provisions.

The law requires that enrollment preferences must be provided to previously enrolled students within conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school.

The law allows schools to give preferences to the children of charter school founders, board members, and full-time staff, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

8

Maryland

Maryland law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for clear student recruitment, enrollment, and lottery procedures. However, Maryland law requires charter schools to be open to all students on a space-available basis and to admit students on a lottery basis if more students apply than can be accommodated.

Maryland law allows the state board of education to grant a waiver to a public charter school from the requirement to be open to all students on a space-available basis if the school is located on a property within a federal military base in the state and will admit students with parents who are not assigned to the base to at least 35% of its total available space. If a public charter school is granted such a waiver, state law still requires it to admit all students on a lottery basis.

2

Massachusetts

Massachusetts law requires charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state. However, the law provides that preference for enrollment in a commonwealth charter school must be given to students who reside in the city or town in which the charter school is located or the region the school serves if it is chartered to be regional.

Massachusetts law requires charter schools to hold lotteries if too many students seek enrollment in the school.

The law provides that preference must be given to prior year students within chartered schools and siblings of students currently attending the charter school.

The law provides that priority for enrollment in a Horace Mann charter school must be given first to students actually enrolled in said school on the date that the application is filed with the state board of education and to their siblings and second to other students actually enrolled in the public schools of the district where the Horace Mann charter school is to be located and third to other resident students.

The law does not provide an optional enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

6

Michigan

Michigan law requires charter schools to be open to all students within the state.

Michigan law requires that if a charter school receives more applications than space available, then a random selection process must occur.

Michigan law provides that students enrolled in a charter school the previous year must be given enrollment preferences for future years. It also allows charter schools to give enrollment priority to siblings of existing students (but does not require it) and to children of employees and board members (but not to children of founders).

6

Minnesota

Minnesota law requires charter schools to be open to all in the state.

Minnesota law requires a random selection lottery process to be used if interest exceeds capacity.

Minnesota law provides that enrollment performances must be given to siblings of enrolled pupils and any foster children of enrolled pupil’s parents. While the law does not explicitly provide enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions and prior year students within chartered schools, once a student is enrolled in a school in Minnesota, the law provides that they are enrolled as students until they are withdrawn.

Minnesota law allows charter schools to give preference for children of the school’s staff, but not for board members (unless they are a parent of a student already enrolled in the school). It also does not provide a maximum percentage of the school’s total student population for these students.

6

Mississippi

The law provides that charter schools must be open to any student residing in the geographical boundaries of the school district in which the charter school is located. It does not require charter schools to be open to any student in the state. The law requires that students must be selected by lottery if more students apply than a school can accommodate. It requires enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school. The law also requires that the underserved student composition of a charter school's enrollment collectively must reflect that of students of all ages attending the school district in which the charter school is located, to be defined for the purposes of this act as being at least 80% of that population. If the underserved student composition of an applicant's or charter school's enrollment is less than 80% of the enrollment of students of all ages in the school district in which the charter school is located, despite the school's best efforts, the law provides that the state authorizer must consider the applicant's or charter school's recruitment efforts and the underserved student composition of the applicant pool in determining whether the applicant or charter school is operating in a nondiscriminatory manner. It provides that a finding by the state authorizer that a charter school is operating in a discriminatory manner justifies the revocation of a charter. The law allows schools to provide an enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

4

Missouri

According to Missouri law, a charter school shall enroll:

• All pupils resident in the district in which it operates;
• Nonresident pupils eligible to attend a district's school under an urban voluntary transfer program;
• In the case of a charter school whose mission includes student drop-out prevention or recovery, any nonresident pupil from the same or an adjacent county who resides in a residential care facility, a transitional living group home, or an independent living program whose last school of enrollment is in the school district where the charter school is established, who submits a timely application; and
• In the case of a workplace charter school, any student eligible whose parent is employed in the business district, who submits a timely application, unless the number of applications exceeds the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or building. The configuration of a business district shall be set forth in the charter and shall not be construed to create an undue advantage for a single employer or small number of employers.

Missouri law requires that charter schools follow an admission process that ensures students an equal chance of admission.

Missouri law provides that a charter school may establish a geographical area around the school whose residents will receive a preference for enrolling in the school, provided that such preferences do not result in the establishment of racially or socioeconomically isolated schools and provided such preferences conform to policies and guidelines established by the state board of education. It allows a charter school to give a preference for admission of children whose siblings attend the school or whose parents are employed at the school. The law also allows charter alternative and special purpose schools to give a preference for admission to high-risk students, as defined in state law, when the school targets these students through its proposed mission, curriculum, teaching methods, and services.

4

Nevada

Nevada law requires public charter schools to be open to any student in the state that wishes to enroll. If a charter school is sponsored by a local school board of a school district located in a county whose population is 100,000 or more, the law requires the charter school to enroll pupils who are eligible for enrollment who reside in the school district in which the charter school is located before enrolling pupils who reside outside the school district, except for a program of distance education provided by the charter school.

Nevada law requires charter schools to hold lotteries if too many students seek enrolment in the school.

Nevada law provides that before a charter school enrolls pupils who are eligible for enrollment, a charter school may enroll a child who is a sibling of a pupil who is currently enrolled in the charter school, was enrolled, free of charge, and on the basis of a lottery system in a prekindergarten program at the charter school or any other early childhood education program affiliated with the charter school, is a child of a person who is employed by the charter school, a member of the committee to form the school, or a member of the governing body of the school, is in a particular category of at-risk pupils and the child meets the eligibility for enrollment prescribed by the charter school for that particular category, or resides within the school district and within two miles of the charter school if the charter school is located in an area that the authorizer of the charter school determines includes a high percentage of children who are at risk. If space is available after the charter school enrolls such pupils, the law allows a charter school to enroll children who reside outside the school district but within two miles of the charter school if the charter school is located within an area that the authorizer determines includes a high percentage of children who are at risk.

Nevada law also states that If the local school board of the school district in which the charter school is located has established zones of attendance, the charter school must, if practicable, ensure that the racial composition of pupils enrolled in the charter school does not differ by more than 10% from the racial composition of pupils who attend public schools in the zone in which the charter school is located.

6

New Hampshire

New Hampshire law requires charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state. However, it also provides that students who are a resident of the district where the school is located must be given admission preference over a nonresident pupil.

New Hampshire law requires a lottery to be used if interest exceeds capacity.

New Hampshire law requires that students in conversion schools be given preference in such schools and that prior year students within chartered schools be given preference.

Regulations require a charter application to describe the preferential status, if any, of children of the founding members of the charter school, but offer no restrictions on a maximum percentage.

4

New Jersey

New Jersey law provides that charter schools must provide open enrollment to any student in the state.

New Jersey law requires that a lottery be held if applications exceed available seats.

The law provides a mandatory preference for students from the local district and returning students enrolled in the previous school year. The law provides an optional preference for siblings of enrolled students, but this preference isn’t required.

Under New Jersey law, admissions policies of New Jersey charter schools must, to the maximum extent practicable, seek enrollment of a cross section of the community’s school age population, including racial and academic factors.

The law does not allow charters to provide enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees.

4

New Mexico

New Mexico law provides that charter schools must provide open enrollment to any student in the state.

New Mexico law provides that charters may either enroll students on a first-come, first-served basis or through a lottery selection process if the total number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces available at the school.

New Mexico law provides that charter schools must give enrollment preference to students who have been admitted to the charter school through an appropriate admission process and remain in attendance through subsequent grades and siblings of students already admitted to or attending the same charter school.

It does not provide optional enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

4

New York

New York law requires that charter school admissions be open to students statewide and that the state department of education develop a uniform student enrollment application.

New York law requires that charter schools conduct a lottery if applications exceed available seats and that the state department of education regulate these lottery processes.

New York law requires charter schools to provide enrollment preferences to pupils returning to the charter school in the second or any subsequent year of operation, pupils residing in the school district in which the charter school is located, and siblings of pupils already enrolled in the charter school. Students from conversions are treated as returning students with preferences as well. In New York City, the district preference applies to the community school district in which the school is located.

New York law allows a charter school to have a preference for students deemed “at risk of academic failure” (which a charter school can define as English language learners and student with disabilities) and students of a single gender.

New York law requires charter schools to meet or exceed enrollment and retention targets for students with disabilities, English language learners, and students eligible for Free- or Reduced-Price Lunch as prescribed by the Board of Regents or the Board of Trustees or the State University of New York, as applicable.

The law does not provide an optional enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

6

North Carolina

North Carolina law requires charters to provide open enrollment to any student in the state.

North Carolina law requires charter schools to hold lotteries if too many students seek enrollment in the school.

North Carolina law provides that conversion charter schools must give preference in the admissions process to students who reside within the former attendance area of that school.

It also specifies that within one year after a charter school begins operation, the charter school must make efforts for the population of the school to reasonably reflect the racial and ethnic composition of the general population residing in the local school administrative unit in which the school is located or the racial and ethnic composition of the special population that the school seeks to serve residing in the local school administrative unit in which the school is located. The law subjects a charter school to any court ordered desegregation plan in effect for the local school administrative unit.

The law allows a charter school to give enrollment priority to siblings of currently enrolled students who were admitted to the charter school in a previous year, siblings of students who have completed the highest grade level offered by that school and who were enrolled in at least four grade levels offered by the charter school or, if less than four grades are offered, in the maximum number of grades offered by the charter school, and a student who was enrolled in the charter school within the two previous school years but left the school to participate in an academic study abroad program or a competitive admission residential program or because of the vocational opportunities of the student’s parent. It also allows a charter school to give enrollment priority to children of the school's full-time employees and, in its first year of operation, to children of the initial members of the charter school's board of directors – so long as these children are limited to no more than fifteen percent of the school’s total enrollment unless a waiver is granted by the state board of education.

6

Ohio

Ohio law allows charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state. It also allows a charter school to limit admissions to students defined in their contract as “at risk,” residents of a specific geographic area within the district as defined in their contract, or separate groups of autistic and non-disabled students.

Ohio law requires charter schools to admit students by lot if the number of applicants exceeds the capacity of the school's programs, classes, grade levels, or facilities.

Ohio law requires charter schools to give preference to students attending the school the previous year and to students who reside in the school district in which the school is located.

Ohio law allows a charter school to give preference to siblings of students attending the school the previous year.

4

Oklahoma

Oklahoma law requires charter schools to select students through a lottery selection process if capacity is insufficient to enroll all eligible students. However, it does not require charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state.

Oklahoma law requires a charter school to give enrollment preference to eligible students who reside within the boundaries of the school district in which the charter school is located. For schools created in 2010 or later, this required preference includes students who meet this criteria and attend a school on the state’s school improvement list.

Oklahoma law allows a charter school to designate a specific geographic area within the school district in which the charter school is located as an academic enterprise zone and may limit admissions to students who reside within that area (an academic enterprise zone is a geographic area in which 60% or more of the children who reside in the area qualify for the free or reduced school lunch program).

It does not require enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions, prior year students within chartered schools, siblings of enrolled students enrolled at a charter school. It also does not provide optional enrollment preferences for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees, not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population.

2

Oregon

For non-virtual charter schools, the law gives charter school enrollment preference to students residing in the district where the charter school is or will be located. If the number of applications from resident students exceeds the school’s capacity, the law requires an equitable lottery to select students. If space permits, non-resident students may enroll.

The law states that if more than 3% of students residing in a district are enrolled in virtual charter schools not sponsored by that district, any additional resident students must receive approval from the district before enrolling in a virtual charter school. The law provides for a state appeal if the district does not give approval in such cases.

The law allows limited enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students in conversions, and, after a new-start school’s first year, for prior-year students and for siblings. The law does not provide for a preference for children of founders, board members and staff.

4

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law requires charter schools to be open to all students in the state, but requires them to give first preference to students who reside in the sponsoring school district or districts.

Pennsylvania law requires charter schools to select students on a random basis if more students apply than are slots available.

Pennsylvania law allows charter schools to give preference to siblings of students presently enrolled in the school and a child whose parent was an active participant in the development of the school, but no maximum percentage of the latter category of students is provided.

4

Rhode Island

Rhode Island law provides that charter schools are open to any student in the state.

Rhode Island law requires charter schools to conduct a lottery if the total number of students who are eligible to attend and apply to a charter school is greater than the number of spaces available.

Rhode Island law requires that the combined percentage of free or reduced lunch students, special education students and limited English proficiency students enrolled at a charter school must at least equal the combined percentage for the district as a whole.

Regulations indicate that schools are allowed to exempt siblings as well as students of teachers and school founders from participation in the lottery (as long as it is not more than 10% of enrollment).

It does not require enrollment preferences for previously enrolled students within conversions and prior year students within chartered schools. It also does not provide an optional enrollment preference for the children of a school’s governing board members.

6

South Carolina

South Carolina law requires charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state. However, it also provides that a charter school must give priority to in-district children versus out-of-district children, and the out-of-district enrollment must not exceed twenty percent of the total enrollment of the charter school without the approval of the authorizer and the sending local school board.

Under South Carolina law, a lottery is required if applications exceed available seats.

South Carolina law requires that the racial composition of the charter school enrollment reflect that of the local school district in which the charter school is located or that of the targeted student population of the local school district that the charter school proposes to serve, defined as differing by no more than twenty percent from that population.

South Carolina law requires a converted school to give priority in enrollment to students enrolled in the school at the time of conversion and students who reside within the former attendance area of that public school thereafter. It also requires a charter school to give enrollment preference to students enrolled in the school the previous school year and states that an enrollment preference for returning students excludes those students from entering into a lottery.

The law allows a charter school to give enrollment priority to a sibling of a pupil currently enrolled and attending or who within the last six years attended the school for at least one complete academic year. The law also allows a charter school to give enrollment priority to children of a charter school employee and children of the charter committee, provided their enrollment does not constitute more than twenty percent of the enrollment of the charter school.

It also allows a charter school located on a federal military installation or base where the appropriate authorities have made buildings, facilities, and grounds on the installation or base available for use by the charter school, as its principal location, to give enrollment priority to otherwise eligible students who are dependents of military personnel living in military housing on the base or installation or who are currently stationed at the base or installation not to exceed fifty percent of the total enrollment of the charter school.

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Tennessee

According to Tennessee law, if applications exceed the planned capacity of the public charter school, the following preferences shall apply: pupils in attendance in the previous school year at any public school that converts to become a public charter school; pupils attending during the previous school year another charter school that has an articulation agreement with the enrolling public charter school provided that the articulation agreement has been approved by the chartering authority or a pre-K program operated by the charter school sponsor; children residing within the LEA service area in which the public charter school is located, but who are not enrolled in public schools, if those children would otherwise be included in the area in which the public charter school will focus; and children residing outside the LEA in which the public charter school is located and whose needs would be included in the area in which the public charter school will focus.

If enrollment within one of the above groups exceeds the planned capacity of the school, the law requires that enrollment within that group shall be determined on the basis of a lottery.

The law allows charters to give preference to the siblings of a pupil who is already enrolled and to the children of a teacher, sponsor or member of the governing body of the charter school, not to exceed 10% of total enrollment or 25 students, whichever is less. However, it does not require enrollment preferences for prior year students within chartered schools.

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Texas

Texas law allows charter schools to be open to any student in the state. However, charter schools must designate in their charter applications the geographic area from which potential students will be enrolled. Students who reside in the school’s pre-approved geographic area must be permitted to attend the tuition-free charter school provided that positions are available. Texas law permits charter schools to deny admission to any student who has documented history of a criminal offense, a juvenile court adjudication, or discipline problems that fall under Chapter 37 of the Education Code.

Texas law provides on receipt of more acceptable applications for admission than available positions in open-enrollment charters, the school must fill the available positions by lottery or fill the available positions in the order in which applications received before the application deadline were received. The law is not applicable to district-authorized charters.

The law requires a district-authorized charter to give admission priority on the basis of geographic and residency considerations.

The law allows a district-authorized charter to give secondary consideration in its eligibility criteria for admission to a student's age, grade level, or academic credentials in general or in a specific area, as necessary for the type of program offered. It also allows open-enrollment charter schools that specialize in one or more performing arts to require an applicant to audition for admission to the school.

While state law and regulation don’t explicitly provide an enrollment preference for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees (not exceeding 10% of the school’s total student population), charter schools through administrative rule follow the federal non-regulatory guidance that allows them to provide enrollment preferences to children of a school’s founders and employees so long as the total number of students allowed under this exemption constitutes only a small percentage of the school’s total enrollment.

Texas law exempts children of municipal employees from the lottery of a municipal open-enrollment charter school so long as it’s a small percentage of the total student population.

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Utah

Utah law requires that charter schools be open to all resident students in the state.

The law requires that if a school is oversubscribed, students must be selected on a random basis.

The law requires enrollment preference for previously enrolled students within conversions.

The law allows the following optional enrollment preferences, but does not limit such preferences to any particular percentage: students of a parent who has actively participated in the development of the charter school, siblings of students presently enrolled in the charter school, a student of a parent who is employed by the charter school, students matriculating between charter schools offering similar programs that are governed by the same governing body, students matriculating from one charter school to another pursuant to a matriculation agreement between the charter schools that is approved by the state charter school board, and students who reside within the school district in which the charter school is located, the municipality in which the charter school is located, or a two-mile radius from the charter school.

The law provides that a charter school whose mission is to enhance learning opportunities for refugees or children of refugee families may give an enrollment preference to refugees or children of refugee families. It also provides that a charter school whose mission is to enhance learning opportunities for English language learners may give an enrollment preference to English language learners.

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Virginia

Virginia law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for clear student recruitment, enrollment, and lottery procedures. However, Virginia law requires that enrollment in a public charter school is to be conducted via a lottery process on a space available basis.

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Washington

Washington law provides that charter schools are open to all students and that students must be selected by lottery if more students apply than a school can accommodate.

It requires conversions schools to provide sufficient capacity to enroll all students who wish to remain in the school. In addition, it requires all charter schools to give enrollment preference to siblings of already enrolled students.

It does not require enrollment preferences for prior year students within chartered schools and does not provide optional enrollment for preferences for children of a school’s founders, governing board members, and full-time employees.

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for clear student recruitment, enrollment, and lottery procedures. Wisconsin law allows charter schools authorized by local school boards to provide open enrollment to any student in the state. It requires charter schools authorized by a city, university, or technical college to provide enrollment only to those students located in Milwaukee County or in an adjacent county.

According to Wisconsin law, if a charter school replaces a public school in whole or in part, it must give preference in admission to any pupil who resides within the attendance area or former attendance area of that public school.

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Wyoming

Wyoming law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for clear student recruitment, enrollment, and lottery procedures. However, Wyoming law requires charter schools to provide open enrollment to any student in the state.

Also, while Wyoming law does not require a charter school to determine enrollment by lottery if it is oversubscribed, charter schools in Wyoming conduct enrollment lotteries, and their charter agreements require it.

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