Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment means students living in Douglas and Sarpy counties may apply to attend any public elementary, middle or high school in the Learning Community.

Why did the Nebraska Legislature establish Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment is meant to improve academic achievement for disadvantaged students. The goal is to increase socioeconomic diversity in Learning Community schools.

Do I have to participate?

No. If you wish, your children may continue attending their neighborhood school.

Who can apply?

Any parent, guardian or emancipated minor may apply for Open Enrollment when the student lives in Douglas or Sarpy counties.

Where do I find an application?

You may apply online, download a printable application, or request an application at any school district office. Submit a separate application for each child.

When is the application due?

Whether applying online, in person, or by mail, the deadline to apply is March 15. If applying in person, drop the application off at the school district office of your preferred school by 5 p.m. March 15. If submitting by mail, the application must be postmarked by March 15.

May I apply to more than one school?

Yes. You may apply to as many as three schools per school district. You may apply to multiple districts using separate applications. Applying online requires only one application.

How do I know which schools have space for my child?

Districts will determine how much space they have available by March 1. Available space is based on guidelines established by the Learning Community Coordinating Council, taking into account staffing, space, class sizes and a district's growth needs. Contact the district for the most current information.

Who will decide whether my child is accepted?

The district to which you apply will make the decision and notify you by April 5.

Who gets priority when there's space available?

First priority goes to siblings of students who will be enrolled as continuing students in the school. Second priority goes to students who contribute to the socioeconomic diversity of the school. Third priority is all other applicants. If limited space is available, third priority will be chosen by a lottery.

How will schools determine whether my child contributes to socioeconomic diversity?

On the application, you will indicate whether your family qualifies for free or reduced-price school lunch. Eligibility guidelines are available from your school district or online at www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch. For example, a family of four earning $43,568 or less per year would qualify. The district would then decide whether enrolling your child would help reach its diversity goal.

Will I have a better chance of getting my first choice of schools if I hurry up and apply?

No. All qualified applicants will be considered at the same time – after the application period closes. In fact, you may want to wait to apply until districts determine which schools have room. Districts will determine how much space they have available by March 1. Contact districts for the most current information.

When will I know if my application is approved?

Districts will notify you by April 5. You must accept enrollment offers by April 25 or lose the slot. You may accept only one school for each child.

Will I have to reapply for open enrollment every year?

No, once a child is accepted into a building within a district, he or she remains within that district until graduation or a family decides to no longer attend that district. When an Open Enrollment child finishes elementary or middle school in the district, you will have to notify the district so your child can continue school at the next level. The school district will notify you regarding continuation and building availability.

My daughter is an athlete. If she transfers to a new school in another district using Open Enrollment, can she participate in varsity sports at that school next fall?

Yes, as long as your Open Enrollment application is filed by March 15, you notify the district of acceptance by April 25, and you meet all other eligibility requirements of the Nebraska School Activities Association.

If my oldest child attends school in another district, does that guarantee that my younger child will be able to attend the same school when she is old enough?

It depends. Siblings must attend the same school at the same time to receive the sibling priority. If the older child currently attends the desired school this year but will move up next year to middle or high school, the younger sibling has no claim to a priority status.

Will Open Enrollment students from other districts fill up my neighborhood school and bump out my child?

No. Districts will assign their resident students to schools first, including resident students transferring to a new school within their district. After that, districts will assign Open Enrollment students. However, even in your own district, some buildings or special academic programs could be closed to residents because of high demand or neighborhood overcrowding.

Under what circumstances will a school district provide free transportation for my Open Enrollment child?

Students are more likely to receive free transportation if they live more than a mile from the school, are applying to a district that shares a common border with your home district (see list of districts with common borders) and any of the following: qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, attend a magnet school or focus school, or contribute to school socioeconomic diversity.

If my child qualifies for free transportation, how will I know the specific transportation arrangements?

The districts will determine bus routes and stops after April 25.

If I want to drive my Open Enrollment child to his new school in another district, will that district reimburse me for gas?

This is determined by each district. State law provides for reimbursement under certain circumstances.

What if I live outside the Learning Community and want my child to attend a Learning Community school?

You can still apply using Option Enrollment. Contact the district you wish to attend for details.

How do I choose the right school for my child?

The best way to know you've made the right decision is to visit schools. After exploring schools online, call schools directly to schedule visits and speak with principals.

Need help?

Every school district has an Open Enrollment Coordinator to help you. Find contact information here.
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Open Enrollment Key Dates

March 15
Deadline to apply
April 5
Districts notify families
April 25 
Last day to accept 

Questions About Open Enrollment?

Check our Frequently Asked Questions for the answers.
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