Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile

Open Enrollment Policies: State Profile - Texas

Last updated: October 2017

Open-enrollment policies allow a student to transfer to a public school of his or her choice. There are two basic types of open-enrollment policies.

  • Intradistrict: students transfer to another school within their resident school district.
  • Interdistrict: students transfer a school outside of their resident district.

Depending on the state, open-enrollment policies are mandatory, voluntary, or both. 

  • Mandatory policies require districts to participate in the program.
  • Voluntary policies allow districts to choose whether to participate in open enrollment, often allowing school districts the discretion to enter into transfer agreements with other districts.
  • States with both mandatory and voluntary policies usually require mandatory open enrollment in low-performing schools or districts, in defined regions of the state or in other specific circumstances while allowing voluntary open enrollment in the rest of the state.

View the full open enrollment database here.  Please contact Micah Ann Wixom (303.299.3673 or with questions or comments.

Open Enrollment Survey 2017
Does the state have open enrollment programs? Yes, voluntary intradistrict and interdistrict. Students attending low-performing schools are eligible for intradistrict or interdistrict transfers under the public education grant program. There are also transfer provisions for bullying or other safety issues.

Intradistrict: Parents may petition in writing to have a student transferred to another school designated by the parent or school board and may request a hearing. School boards must grant the transfer request unless the board determines there is a reasonable basis for denying the request. Decisions are made on an individual basis. If a school district assigns a student to another school to receive special education services, the student's siblings may be allowed to attend that school.

Interdistrict: Students are allowed to transfer out a resident district if the receiving district and parents agree. School districts may also enter into transfer agreements. Districts that do not offer certain grade levels may contract with other school districts to transfer students. Children of employees of a Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility may attend an adjacent school district. 

Public education grant program: Students assigned to a low-performing school may transfer to another school or school district, but only at the receiving district's discretion. 

Citations: Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 25.031 through § 25.040, § 25.042, § 29.201 through § 29.203

Do desegregation provisions impact open enrollment programs? Not addressed.
Does the state set priorities for districts to follow when accepting students for open enrollment? Yes, but only for students transferring out of low-performing schools. Districts with more applications than space available must give priority to students at risk of dropping out of school and hold a lottery. However, school districts are allowed to give first priority to previously enrolled students and their siblings. 

Citations: Tex. Educ. Code § 29.203

Who is responsible for student transportation? For students transferring out of a low-performing school, sending district will provide transportation costs to and from the students' assigned schools.

Citations: Tex. Educ. Code § 29.203

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