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Decision Number
Joshua David Steele
Gary & Sandy Steele
Fremont CSD
Full Text

Appellants sought reversal of a decision of the Board of Directors [hereinafter the "Board"] of the District, made on May 20, 1996, denying Appellants' late application for open enrollment for their son, Joshua David Steele, to attend the Pekin Community School District for the 1996-97 school year. Denial was for failure to show statutory "good cause" for filing after the October 30th deadline.

Fremont and Eddyville-Blakesburg School Districts are par-ties to a wholegrade sharing agreement. Under this agreement, Josh is required to attend ninth grade in Eddyville. As a re-sult, during the 1996-97 school year, Appellants' 5-year-old would be attending Pekin Community School District, their 12-year-old would be attending Fremont Community School District, and Josh would be attending Eddyville-Blakesburg. The wholegrade sharing agreement between Fremont and Eddyville-Blakesburg expires after the 1996-97 school year. She didn't learn about this situation until January 1996, after the October 30th deadline for open enrollment had passed. About the same time in January, her son had a personal incident with people in the Eddyville District that convinced her it would be in his best interest to open enroll to Pekin.

Ms. Steele testified that her application for open enroll-ment for her daughter to attend kindergarten and for Josh to at-tend ninth grade in the Pekin District was first presented at the February 1996 Board meeting. The Board tabled both requests un-til the March 1996 Board meeting. On March 18, 1996, the open enrollment request for Kelsey was granted, but the request for Josh was denied due to an untimely application. Ms. Steele then brought her request for Josh to open enroll back to the May Board meeting.

There are two "legal reasons" for filing after that date: 1. If there is "good cause;" or 2. "if the request is to enroll a child in kindergarten." "Good cause" is defined by statute and not by parents or local school districts. This means that although the parents feel that they have very "good reasons" for seeking open enrollment after the deadline, that does not mean their reasons satisfy the statutory "good cause" require-ment. "Good cause" relates to only two general areas: (1)There is a change in a status of the pupil's resident district (e.g., dissolution or reorganization); or (2)There is a change in the residence of pupil ... (the pupil moves into or out of the district after the open enrollment deadlines). Id. at subsection 282.18(18) (1995).

The hearing panel believes that open enrollment for the Steeles would be more convenient; and that having the children together in the same district is certainly a compelling reason to seek open enrollment, neither circumstance constitutes the statu-tory "good cause" necessary for excusing the late application.

That the decision of the Fremont Community School District's Board of Directors made on May 20, 1996, denying Appellants' untimely open enrollment request for Joshua David Steele to attend the Pekin Community School District for the 1996-97 school year, be affirmed.