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May a charter school be selective in its admissions policy?
Except as prescribed in law, a charter school may not be selective in its enrollment process. It may not screen out students based on disability, race, religion, gender, test scores, etc. It may predetermine the ages, grades, and number of students it will serve. A random selection process (lottery) must be used if the number of applicants exceeds the school’s enrollment capacity.
If a student is enrolled in a charter school during a school year, does the student have to be part of the random selection if the charter school exceeds its enrollment number the following school year?
No, a student is automatically granted enrollment privileges for succeeding school years. Siblings of admitted students are granted enrollment priority, and children of school employees and board members may be offered enrollment priority.
If a student voluntarily leaves a charter school, must the student’s resident school district enroll the student?
Yes, except if the student was in an expulsion due to possession of weapons, committing arson, or criminal sexual conduct in a school building or on school grounds, as outlined in the Revised School Code, MCL 380.1311. Expulsions should be handled on an individual basis.
If a student is seeking enrollment in a charter school, must the charter school enroll the student?
Yes, with a couple of notable exceptions. A charter school may deny enrollment if the charter reaches its enrollment capacity for that student’s age or grade or the school’s total enrollment cap as established by the charter contract. It may also deny enrollment if School Board policy stipulates that the school can no longer accept enrollment applications for the current year or if the student has been expelled from their previous district.
Does a charter school have to enroll a student who has been expelled from another district?
A PSA, UHSA, and SOE are not required to accept the expelled student. The school may choose to enroll a student expelled from their resident district only if the student was not expelled under the mandatory expulsions sections described below. In the case of SDAs, the acceptance of expelled or adjudicated students is central to the school’s purpose.
It is important to note that Michigan law does provide for permanent expulsion under certain circumstances. Unless the school district operates or participates in an alternative education program appropriate for a student expelled pursuant to MCL 380.1311(2) and at the school district’s discretion admits the student to that program or a “strict discipline academy,” the student is expelled from all Michigan public schools. The student cannot be enrolled unless reinstated pursuant to the provisions discussed below [MCL 380.1311(2)].
A program operated for expelled students must ensure that a student is physically separated at all times during the school day from the general pupil population. A student who has been suspended or expelled from their resident district for any reason may attend a nonresident alternative education program without the resident district’s approval [MCL 388.1606(6)(h)]. If the student is not placed in an alternative education program or a “strict discipline academy,” the school district may provide or arrange for the intermediate school district to provide the student with appropriate instructional services at home. Homebound services are designed to help students unable to attend school to keep up with their studies [MCL 388.1709].
The parent or legal guardian is responsible for locating a suitable alternative education program and enrolling their child in a program during the expulsion. For further information regarding alternative education programs available in your area, contact your local or intermediate school district or visit Educator Services.
Please also visit the Alternatives and Suspensions and Expulsions Toolkit for more guidance.
When a student transfers from one school to another, how are their records handled?
Michigan law requires that within 14 days after enrolling a transfer student, the school shall request the student’s record, including any Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) for a special education pupil, in writing from the previous school (MCL 380.1135). The previous school has up to 30 days to comply. All Michigan schools have been advised that they should have procedures in place to facilitate these transfers.