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Decision Number
Candie Combs, Ryan Michael & Bryant Lee Morrison
Shawne Combs
Dexfield Community School District
Full Text

The primary reason for her desire to open enroll out of Dex-field stemmed from friction between herself and the School after one of the teachers filed a child abuse report on her first grader, Bryant. There was no evidence to suggest that the school was not acting reasonably when it filed the complaint. However, as a result of the complaint, Appellant withdrew her children from school and placed them with an aunt who lives in the Earlham Community School District. This happened about the time she filed for open enrollment which occurred on March 26, 1996.

Appellant's application for open enrollment for her three children to attend Earlham Community School District was denied by the Dexfield Board on April 11, 1996. The reason given by the Board for the denial was lack of statutory good cause for the late filing. Appellant appealed the denial to the Department of Education.

Appellant knows that she filed after the deadline, but insists that she has "good cause" for wanting to enroll in the Earlham Community School District. "Good cause," however, is defined by statute. The Legislature chose to define the term "good cause," rather than leaving it up to parents or school boards to determine. Although this may sound unfair to the parent, it was the Legislature's determination that all parents be treated equally in all school districts throughout the state. Therefore, the statutory definition of "good cause" addresses two types of situations that must occur before the filing deadline is excused: 1) A change in the child's residence; or 2) A change in the status of the resident school district. These "statutory excuses" set forth above have been found inapplicable to the present case. We agree with the District in concluding that statutory "good cause" does not exist.

It is quite clear, given all the evidence in this case, that Appellant never established a bona fide residence in Earlham. She has never contended otherwise. Appellant has openly stated that she wants her children open-enrolled to Earlham so that they can live at home with her rather than their aunt. At the time of this appeal hearing, the children had moved back home with their mother for the summer. As to the merits of this case, we see no error in the decision of the Dexfield Board since the District's application of its policy is consistent with the State Law.

That the decision of the Board of Directors of the Dexfield Community School District made on April 11, 1996, denying Appellant's untimely open enrollment requests for her children to attend the Earlham Community School District for the 1996-97 school year, was affirmed.