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Decision Number
Open enrollment, C.L.
Gary and Paula L.
Dike-New Hartford Community School District
Full Text

The sole issue presented in this case is whether or not the Dike-New Hartford Community School District (DNCSD) erred by denying the late-filed application for C.L. to open enroll out of the district. The DNCSD Board denied the application for open enrollment finding that the behavior C.L. was subjected to did not meet the requirements of pervasive harassment. Additionally, the DNCSD Board felt that each incident had been dealt with by Principal Martinek, the teaching staff, and that things had gotten better.

Even Gary and Paula L. indicated they felt the district had dealt with each incident that occurred. In this case, the district was clearly taking appropriate steps to resolve each situation as it arose. While the board is sympathetic to C.L. and his feelings of being picked on by his peers, this is not the type of case foreseen by Legislature when it created an open enrollment remedy for students who have been victims of repeated acts of harassment.

The State Board applies established criteria when reviewing an open enrollment decision involving a claim of repeated acts of harassment. All of the criteria must be met for this Board to reverse a local decision and grant such a request.

Open enrollment appeals of this type are not about a family's right to transfer their children to other school districts. A transfer may be made even though open enrollment is denied. The approval, or denial, of open enrollment does affect payment for the student's education. When a student transfers to a nonresident school district under open enrollment, the district of residence must pay for the student to attend the receiving district. When a student transfers to a nonresident school district outside of the open enrollment process, the nonresident district must charge the student tuition.

Parents are free to make the decisions they deem to be best for their children. Our review focus is not upon the family's decision, but on the local school board decision. The issue for review here, as in all other appeals brought to us under Iowa Code section 282.18(5), is limited to whether the local school board made error of law in denying the late-filed open enrollment request. The DNCSD Board correctly applied Iowa Code section 282.18(5) when it denied the late open enrollment application filed on behalf of C.L.

The decision of the Board of Directors of the Dike-New Hartford Community School District made on December 16, 2013, denying the open enrollment request filed by Gary and Paula on behalf of C.L. is AFFIRMED.