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Board Policy: Revised 1/2017

Click below to read the most commonly asked questions and answers regarding School of Choice


More Information Here

Frequently Asked Questions

CIF Sports and School of Choice

Please be advised that school choice and possible placement does not determine CIF eligibility. Parents with questions should make sure they contact CIF or their school’s athletic director for clarification regarding changing schools and the impact of transfer to their student’s athletic eligibility under CIF rules.

  • By Laws and standards of eligibility/transfer and  can be found here in the CIF Blue Book

School of Choice History

Capistrano Unified School District's School of Choice program offers parents the opportunity to apply to the school that they would like their child to attend.


Since the program began 20 years ago, more than 90 percent of our parents annually choose to have their child remain at their home school, which is the local school serving their child’s attendance area. For a variety of personal or educational reasons, however, some parents prefer to have their child attend another school within the District. Our program provides parents with this option on a space-available basis. Detailed information describing each school and its academic offerings is available on their websites.


Parents of high-school student athletes are urged to learn more about CIF sports eligibility requirements prior to pursuing the School Of Choice process so that there will be no misunderstanding regarding sports participation rules. Transportation to any school other than the home school is the responsibility of parents.


School of Choice

The window to apply for School of Choice for the 2019-2020 school year has closed.  For those who applied during the application window, notification emails were sent on April 26, 2019, to the email address used on the application.


If you have applied and were approved to your requested school please note that the approved school is now your School of Record and there is no rescinding or cancelling the approval, as part of the application process was agreeing to the following:

  • I have read and understand the guidelines which govern Board Policy 5119:  School of Choice    
  • I understand that I am making a commitment for my child to attend the School of Choice.  The                approved School of Choice is now considered the school of record.
  • I am giving up my child’s space at his/her school of residence.  In order to request a return to the school of residence, I understand I must re-apply for School of Choice the following school year during the online application period.
  • I understand that home to school transportation is the responsibility of the parent and I cannot apply for a CUSD bus pass.
  • I understand that the above named student may be transferred back to his/her school of residence 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.
  • I understand all School of Choice decisions are final.  There is no appeal process for School of Choice denials. 
  • If approved, the initial School of Choice agreement is in effect for the duration of a child’s years at the requested school. You do not need to reapply annually.
  • I understand that approved applications are valid until the student matriculates to the next level (i.e. elementary school to middle school or middle school to high school).
  • I understand there are no rescinding an application once approved for School of Choice.  Any requests to return to the home school must apply for School of Choice in the following school year.
  • I understand that if this student is approved to the requested school, it DOES NOT guarantee approval for siblings in the future.

Unfortunately if you applied and were denied, there is no appeals process or completing an additional application.


Outside of the annual application window, the only exception for applying is when a new student is enrolling with CUSD. The student must first enroll at the school of residence and then complete a hard copy School of Choice application. The school of residence would be able to provide the application.

School of Choice

Priority Criteria for School Placement

District students residing in any Board approved school attendance area shall first be provided the option of attending their school of residence.  After all school of residence students have been placed, the requests for School of Choice (made during the open window) placements will be honored according to the following priority criteria, not on a first come first serve basis, until all openings in a given school are filled or all requests have been met, whichever occurs first.  If the number of remaining available spaces at that school does not accommodate all students within a single Priority Criteria, then the District shall conduct a lottery among the students within that Priority Criteria and grant applications in order of the names drawn within that category.

EMP –   One of the parents/guardians is a CUSD employee AND this is your work site. 

CFD –    You pay Mello-Roos, Community Facilities District (CFD), that go towards CUSD. Click here for a list of addresses that pay CFD to CUSD.

CONT – Continuously enrolled at current site.

OE –     Any student enrolled in a District school that has been identified on the State of California's Open 

             Enrollment list or participating in Title 1. Click here for a list of schools that qualify.

SIB –     There is a sibling already attending the school applying for and will remain there for

              next school year (K-11). (You will need to provide siblings name, student ID, and grade).

LOT-      Lottery, none of the codes above apply.

Applying for School of Choice During the Online application Window

  • A parent or guardian must complete the SOC application. 
  • You will need your child’s seven digit student ID number.  This is the same number as your student’s lunch number or it can be found on the Parent Portal.  For students new to the District you can ask for the ID number after you fully register at your child’s home school.
  • Please understand that when you apply for SOC and are approved you are agreeing to give up your child’s seat at their home school.  If you wish to return to the home school you will have to apply during the next School of Choice window for the following school year as there is no rescinding an application. Acceptance back into the home school is not guaranteed.
  • Once you have submitted your application, there will be a pop-up message displaying “Thank you for submitting your School of Choice application” and you will receive a confirmation email with the application number.
  • If you need to change or cancel you application, please email  Please note this can only be done during the open window.  Make sure to include your application number in your email. 
  • New this year - approval and denial notifications will be e-mailed to the email address used on the application instead of regular mail.  Please make sure to enter a valid em-mail address on the application.

The window to apply for School of Choice has now closed.  

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