Wide-ranging changes took effect on Jan. 1, 2019, regarding the law governing the procedures for student transfers from one school district to another – known as “interdistrict transfers.” Some of the changes made by Assembly Bill 2826 simply streamline and/or clarify existing requirements, but others are new and quite significant. Below are details of some, but not all, of the major changes.
Significant changes: Perhaps the most significant changes of AB 2826 are those related to the new requirement that school districts post their interdistrict transfer procedures, timelines and a link to related board policies on their websites. Foremost among these is the clarification of the timelines by which a school district must respond to interdistrict transfer requests. The bill specifies that for any request received 15 or fewer calendar days before the start of instruction in the school year for which the transfer is sought — the “current year” interdistrict transfer request — the district must notify parents of its final decision within 30 calendar days of receiving the request.
On the other hand, for requests received 16 or more calendar days before commencement of instruction in the school year for which the transfer is sought, the district must notify parents as soon as possible, but not later than 14 calendar days after the start of instruction in that school year. AB 2826 further requires that when any request for the current or future year transfer is denied, the district must notify parents, in writing, of their right to appeal the denial within 30 calendar days to the county board of education with jurisdiction over that school district. Other information required to be posted on the district website pursuant to AB 2826 includes, but is not limited to, the date when the district will begin accepting and processing requests for the next year, reasons for which the district may approve or deny a request, and a statement that a parent’s failure to meet the district’s established timelines will be deemed an abandonment of the transfer request.
An additional notable change ushered in by AB 2826 relates to the duty of school districts to translate notices for parents when certain circumstances exist within the district. Specifically, the law specifies that any written notice to parents about a school district’s decision on a request for an interdistrict transfer must be translated when the district is one that would be required to translate its notices, reports and policies under the translation requirements of Education Code section 48985 — i.e., when 15 percent or more of its students speak a single primary language other than English.
Miscellaneous changes: Other changes brought on by AB 2826 worth mentioning include, but are not limited to:
- Transitional kindergarten is now among the grades for which school districts may enter into interdistrict transfer agreements.
- A student’s interdistrict transfer permit may not be revoked in grade 11 or 12, or after June 30 following the student’s completion of 10th
- Education Code section 46600.1 provides meaning of certain terms in the law, such as “school district of residence,” “school district of proposed enrollment,” and “parent.” “Parent” is defined as natural or adoptive parent or guardian, the person having legal custody, or other educational rights holder.
- Existing law, Education Code section 46603, which permits provisional admittance of a student for up to two months in the school district of proposed enrollment, amended to make a student’s eligibility for such provisional admittance contingent upon the provision of reasonable evidence that a final decision for the student’s request for interdistrict transfer is pending before the district of residence, district of proposed enrollment, or the county board.
Action points: To ensure compliance with AB 2826, districts need to take action, some of which are:
- Update board policy, and administrative regulation and related forms. CSBA is revising its sample BP and AR 5117 — Interdistrict Attendance, to reflect these changes.
- Posting of interdistrict transfer procedures, timelines and board policy on the district website.
- Provide training for staff members who are responsible for interdistrict transfers.