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Decision Number
Open Enrollment of T.L.U. and T.R.U.
T.U. and T.A.U.
Full Text

The Appellants seek reversal of a March 21, 2017, decision by WACO Community School District ("District") Board ("Board") denying a late filed open enrollment request on behalf of their minor children T.L.U. and T.R.U. An in-person evidentiary hearing was held in this matter on May 5, 2017, before designated administrative law judge, Nicole M. Proesch, J.D., pursuant to agency rules found at 281 Iowa Administrative Code chapter 6. T.A.U. was present and self-represented. Superintendent Jeff Dicks ("Superintendent Dicks") appeared on behalf of the District and was represented by attorney Brett Nitzscke. Also present for the District was Carrie Coble, Business Manager and Board Secretary ("Ms. Coble").

The Appellants reside in the WACO Community School District ("District") with their six children who range between ages six to eleven. T.A.U. is now a teacher in the Winfield-Mt. Union School District. The four youngest children are adopted and have special needs. This appeal was filed on behalf of their two youngest children T.L.U. and T.R.U. Both attend WACO Elementary school and were in Kindergarten during the 2016-2017 school year.

T.A.U. testified that she was aware of the March 1 deadline. Two months before the deadline she filled out open enrollment applications for all of her children but did not turn them in. She testified that she had some concerns that the District could not meet the special needs of her children and felt that it would be better if her children went to school where she worked so she could be there to help address their needs.

She testified that the District was not doing enough to address their specific needs and the District did not respect her beliefs concerning her children. She offered no evidence that the District was not attempting to meet her needs. At the time she only sent in the applications for the two youngest because she was hoping that they would at least agree to the late open enrollment for the two youngest children. The statutory filing deadline for an application for open enrollment for the upcoming school year is March 1. Iowa Code ? 282.18. The evidence in this case is clear that the Appellant, T.A.U., by her own admission, knowingly missed the filing deadline in this case. Although T.A.U. now points to other reasons as good cause for missing the deadline, the objective evidence shows that there was not good cause to miss the deadline. No evidence was presented to show that her children were victims of harassment or had serious medical conditions that the District was not already addressing. The real issue for the Appellants is that moving the children to Winnfield-Mt. Union, to be at the same school with T.A.U., would be entirely more convenient for the family.

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. We have concluded that the Board correctly applied Iowa Code section 282.18(5) when it denied the late open enrollment application filed on behalf of T.L.U. and T.R.U. Therefore, we must uphold the local board decision.

For the foregoing reasons, the decision of the Board made on March 21, 2017, denying the open enrollment application of the Appellants on behalf of their children is hereby AFFIRMED.