Students BP 5119(a)
Purpose and Intent
The Governing Board endorses the neighborhood public school concept. However, the Board
recognizes that some parents/guardians may wish to choose a school of attendance other than their
school of residence. Thus, a Capistrano Unified School District Open Enrollment Program shall be
included as an integral feature of the District’s instructional offerings.
School of residence attendance areas, school capacities, and class size mandates/guidelines are
established to optimize the use of existing facilities and to maintain relatively balanced enrollments.
All CUSD schools offer high quality instructional programs addressing the district’s mission, goals
and adopted curricula. However, parents/guardians may wish to apply to other CUSD schools in
order to take advantage of specialized or innovative programs, or to meet other family needs.
Priority Criteria for School Placement
CUSD students residing in any Board-approved school attendance area shall first be provided the
option of attending their school of residence. After all students within each school’s attendance area
have been accommodated within established class-size mandates, and after all students in categories
A and B below have been placed, requests for Open Enrollment placement will be honored according
to the following priority until all openings in a given school are filled:
A. CUSD students who are siblings of any student currently in attendance who will continue to
be enrolled at the same school next year or CUSD students requesting placement at their
school of residence after attending a school of choice for at least one full year.
B. CUSD students who have continuously attended the school for at least one full year, but have
moved into another CUSD school's attendance area, or CUSD students residing in an area
affected by an attendance boundary change who wish to remain at their existing school.
C. CUSD students whose residence is not within the school’s attendance area but whose
parents/guardians pay a Mello-Roos tax which helped support construction of the school.
D. All other CUSD students requesting Open Enrollment placement.
Determination of Openings
District staff shall project the initial number of open enrollment classroom seats which will be
available for the fall of the following school year. In this analysis, staff shall consider each of the
1. Current enrollment as it rolls forward and provides a basis for the following year’s
2. Projected new enrollments for the school’s entry grade level (K, 6, or 9).
3. Projected new enrollments due to the construction of new housing facilities in the attendance
area during the next year.
4. The ratio of enrollment to capacity as compared with the enrollment to capacity ratio of other
schools in the surrounding area.
5. Plans for the construction of new school facilities which would provide future relief from
current overcrowded conditions.
6. Special programs which may have particular enrollment requirements or limitations.
When the Open Enrollment process is implemented each year, the initial number of openings
assigned to each school may be augmented as students who are currently enrolled in a given school
transfer to another school site during the Open Enrollment process.
Schools with Openings
Each year the Superintendent or designee shall utilize all available information to determine which
schools have openings. Schools without additional space will accept students in Priority A and
Priority B categories only.
Schools with openings will begin the Open Enrollment process with a designated number of
openings. Students will be placed in order of the priority criteria referenced in this policy.
The Open Enrollment timeline will be published on the CUSD website and will be available at all
school sites in January of each year.
Open Enrollment applications shall be initiated by a child’s parent/guardian. Applications must be
submitted on the district-designated form which is available at the District office, in each school
office and on the CUSD website. Parents/guardians seeking placement for multiple children must
submit a separate application for each child.
Parents/guardians who have applied for an Open Enrollment transfer by the published application
deadline shall be notified of the status of their transfer request by late spring. Open Enrollment
approval is school specific and does not guarantee placement in the feeder school(s) for the school of
After the number of openings has been determined and applications processed, a determination will
be made as to whether sufficient openings exist to accommodate all applications. In the event there
are more applications for Open Enrollment into any given school than there are openings in that
school, a lottery procedure for placement will be implemented which takes into account the priority
criteria referenced in this policy and considers the openings which are available according to grade
Students in priorities A and B may continue to apply beyond the published application deadline. In
late spring, the list of schools with openings will be updated and a second opportunity to apply for
Open Enrollment placement for all priorities will take place.
Eligibility for Interscholastic Athletic Participation
When a student enrolls as a freshman (Grade 9) in any CUSD high school, he/she will have that
school identified as the school of attendance for athletic eligibility. Once eligibility has been
established, a transfer to a different high school under Open Enrollment may result in a declaration of
ineligibility to participate. Students considering a transfer to another CUSD high school should
contact CIF for eligibility guidelines.
Recruitment of students by school personnel to attend a high school other than the school of
residence for the purpose of athletic participation is prohibited in accordance with CIF rules and
Home-to-School Bus Transportation
Transportation of students who have been placed through the open enrollment process is the
responsibility of the parent/guardian.
Nonrequirements to the District
In implementing the Open Enrollment Program, the District is not required to:
1. Make alterations in the structure or grounds of any schools or make alterations to the
arrangement or function of rooms within District schools.
2. Establish and offer any particular program in a school if such program is not offered currently
in each school in the District.
3. Alter or waive any established eligibility criteria for participation in a particular program
including age requirements, course prerequisites and required levels of performance.
Transfer Back to the School of Residence
Students approved for Open Enrollment placement in accordance with the priority placement criteria
spelled out in this policy shall abide by all school rules and procedures. Principals may recommend
to Student Services the involuntary transfer of students back to their school of residence or another
school deemed appropriate for any of the following reasons:
1. Unsatisfactory attendance
2. Continual tardiness
3. Failure of the parent/guardian to make adequate transportation arrangements
4. Unsatisfactory academic performance
5. Unsatisfactory behavior
6. No longer residing within CUSD boundaries
Students being transferred back to their school of residence or another school deemed appropriate
have the right to an Admission and Discharge (A & D) hearing relative to the infraction which caused
the involuntary transfer.
Students determined to have enrolled in a school by falsifying attendance or residency records shall
be returned to their school of residence immediately. These students will not qualify as Priority A or
B students even if they otherwise meet the stated priority criteria.
Students requesting a transfer to their school of residence, after having been accepted into another
school through the open enrollment process, will not be guaranteed a place in their school of
residence. Students may reapply for Open Enrollment placement at their school of residence after
attending their school of choice for at least one full year.
35160 Authority of governing boards
35160.1 Broad authority of school districts
35160.5 District policies; rules and regulations
35350 Transportation of students
35351 Assignment of students to particular schools
29 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 63
53312.7 Establishment of community facilities district; goals and policies
Jackson v. Pasadena City School District (1963) 59 Cal. 2nd 876, 879
Crawford v. Board of Education (1976) 17 Cal.3d 280
(cf 5152 – Expulsion, Suspension, Involuntary Transfer and Due Process)
POLICY 5119 CAPISTRANO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
adopted: February 8, 1999 San Juan Capistrano, California
revised: November 17, 2003
revised: December 8, 2003
revised: February 11, 2008
revised December 15, 2009