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Decision Number
Open enrollment of S.H.
Lynette H.
Ankeny Community School District
Full Text

The sole issue in this case is whether the ACSD Board erred by denying the late filed application for S.H. The record establishes the following facts and circumstances leading up to the application.

The statutory filing deadline for an application for open enrollment for the upcoming school year is March 1. Iowa Code ? 282.18. After the March 1 deadline a parent or guardian shall send notification to the resident district that good cause exists for the failure to meet the deadline. Id. The law provides that an open enrollment application filed after the statutory deadline, which is not based on statutorily defined "good cause," must be approved by the boards of directors of both the resident district and the receiving district. Id. ? 282.18(5).

A decision by either board denying a late-filed open enrollment application that is based on "serious health condition of the student that the resident district cannot adequately address" is subject to appeal to the State Board of Education under Code section 290.1. Id. ? 282.18(5) (emphasis added). The State Board applies established criteria when reviewing an open enrollment decision involving a claim of a serious medical condition. All of the criteria must be met for the State Board to reverse a local decision and grant such a request.

The issue for review here is whether or not the local school board made an error of law in denying the late-filed open enrollment request. On the face of the open enrollment application there is no question that Lynette alleged a severe health condition existed. However, the evidence shows that Superintendent Kimpston reviewed the application and made a recommendation to the local board to deny the application solely because she missed the March 1 deadline. Superintendent Kimpston made no inquiries into whether or not there was a serious health condition of S.H. that was not being adequately addressed by the district. Neither Superintendent Kimpston nor the local board considered whether there was a serious medical condition when the decision was made to deny the application. Thus, the local board failed to apply the criterion to Lynette's application.

Under these circumstances we must conclude that the ACSD Board made an error of law by not applying the appropriate standards. Therefore, we must reverse the local board's decision. This does not end the role of the local board in this case, however. The law contemplates that the resident district is in the best position to make a decision about an open enrollment application filed on the basis of a serious medical condition. Thus, the local board must now review Lynette's application in light of the criterion this board has established.

The decision of the ACSD Board made on August 18, 2014, denying the open enrollment request filed on behalf of S.H. is REVERSED and REMANDED to the ACSD Board with instructions to review the Appellant's application for good cause under Iowa Code section 282.18(5) with respect to whether or not S.H. had a serious health condition that the district could not adequately address. In making its decision the ACSD Board should review this Board's decision In re Samantha H., 26 D.o.E. App. Dec. 373 (2013). REVERSED AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.