Q: I applied for an Educational Choice Transfer last year. My child is now attending the school of choice. Will I need to apply every year?
A: If your child is currently attending a school on an Educational Choice Transfer or a grandfathered zone waiver from previous years, that transfer is good until the highest grade at that school. Once your child completes the highest grade and moves to the next level school and you wish them to attend another out-of-zone school, you will then need to apply to Educational Choice.
Q: Where can I find information about Educational Choice in Lake County?
A: You can find information about Educational Choice programs in Lake County on our web site at www.lake.k12.fl.us/educationalchoice. If you don’t find what you need on the website, click the “Contact Us” tab and submit a question that will emailed to our Educational Choice team. You can also visit individual school websites for additional information about what’s offered at those schools.
Q: When can I sign up for an Educational Choice transfer?
A: Open enrollment is Feb. through April each year, for Lake county residents. You’ll have a second opportunity during the month of June, when out-of-county residents can apply as well. The application will be available online. Please visit Educational Choice on the Lake County School website for details.
Q: I need to transfer my child now because of a special circumstance. I cannot wait until Open Enrollment.
A: Please call the Educational Choice office at 352-253-6777.
Q: Who is eligible to submit a Choice application?
A: The parent/legal guardian on behalf of the student who meets residency and age requirements.
Q: Is transportation provided by the District for Educational Choice students?
A: The parent/legal guardian is responsible for transportation for their children who attend school with an Educational Choice transfer.
Q: How do I apply to attend a school outside of my attendance area?
A: There will be a link to the application portal on the Educational Choice webpage during both of the application windows each year to apply to the school of your choice. You will receive a confirmation email when you begin the application process. If the application was submitted by hard copy other than hand delivery, a confirmation letter will be forwarded by email, if available, or USPS.
For applications to schools with no current capacity (closed), applications will only be accepted during the first window and a confirmation email will be forwarded. If submitted in hard copy by the application window deadline, you will receive confirmation by email, if available, or USPS. These applications will be put on waiting lists for the requested schools.
Supplemental applications will be considered outside the Open Enrollment windows to schools and/or grade levels with capacity ONLY. No application will be considered to a school and/or grade level that has no additional room for out of zone students. For more information, please contact the Educational Choice office at 352-253-6777.
Q: How many schools can be selected during the Open Enrollment windows?
A: Up to two schools.
Q: What if I want my student to attend a school that does not have openings?
A: Applications for schools with closed capacity may only be made during the first application window and will be placed on a waiting list for the requested school in the order determined by a random, computerized lottery selection process.
Q: Will students be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis?
A: No. For open schools (with room for out of zone students) with more applications than open seats, a random, computerized lottery will be held and applicants will be contacted in the order determined by the lottery. Other applicants will be placed on a waiting list in the order determined by the lottery.
Applications to schools with closed capacity (no room for out of zone students) will be placed on a waiting list in an order determined by a random, computerized lottery. Applicants will be notified of openings in the order of the list.
Q: Will siblings be kept together?
A: Siblings are given priority. If a student is applying to a school where his or her sibling is enrolled and will be attending the next school year or, if siblings are applying to attend the same school, this must be noted on the application.
Q: My child has an IEP. Can I apply to for an Educational Choice Transfer to another school?
A: Children assigned to a school due to an IEP usually are attending classes that meet certain criteria. While parents are welcome to apply through Educational Choice, accepting an Educational Choice Transfer may mean that your child will lose critical services.
Q: My child is attending a school in an IEP Gifted program (or other special program such as Robotics and Band) that is not in our attendance zone. He/she is moving to the next level school and would like to attend the same school as his/her friends in the program. Will he/she be allowed to automatically follow that same school feeder pattern?
A: No. To attend a school that is not in your attendance zone, you must apply for an Educational Choice Transfer and the school and/or grade level must have room for out of zone students. Once your child completes the highest grade and moves to the next level school and you wish them to attend another out-of-zone school, you will then need to apply to Educational Choice.
Q: My child is completing Pre-K classes at a school that is not in my attendance zone. Will my child be allowed to stay at that school until the highest grade at that school?
A: No. Pre-K assignments are not part of the Educational Choice and will not be grandfathered in to complete at that school. You may submit an application for Educational Choice Transfer. Once your child completes the highest grade and moves to the next level school and you wish them to attend another out-of-zone school, you will then need to apply to Educational Choice.
Q: My child is eligible for a McKay Scholarship and I would like to use the public school option. Should I still enroll in the Educational Choice transfer process?
A: Parents of students with disabilities who have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 Plan can apply and use a public McKay Scholarship at any time of the year. A parent of an eligible student may enroll at the school of choice if the school can provide the services as defined on the student's IEP or Section 504 Plan, and if space is available as defined by the district's school choice plan. This does not prevent you from participating in the open enrollment process, however it is a distinctly different process.
McKay Scholarship Links:
Q: My child is currently using a public McKay Scholarship. Do I need to complete an Educational Choice application?
A: No, students using public McKay Scholarships are eligible to remain at the school they are attending until the last grade offered at that school.
Q: What is the application deadline and when will I know whether my application has been approved?
A: Educational Choice Transfer Applications for the following school year will be accepted in two open windows:
- Lake County residents may apply in the first window from the first business day of February until the last business day of April each year.
- The second window is open to all Florida residents from the first business day of June to the last business day of June of each year.
- If your application is received within the first window you will be notified of the results after the lottery by mid-May.
- If your application is received within the second application window in June, notification of the results will be made by mid-July.
Q: Does a lottery determine which applications are approved?
A: If a school has more first choice applicants than available seats, applicants will be assigned through the lottery selection process according to the list below. The lottery will be conducted by the first week after the first window closes. Notification will be made by email, when available, or USPS to parents of the outcome.
Priority* for a transfer to a school with capacity is given to the following groups:
- Dependent children of active duty military personnel whose move resulted from military orders;
- Children who have been relocated due to foster care placement in a different school zone;
- Children who move due to a court-ordered change in custody due to separation, divorce or the serious illness or death of a custodial parent;
- Siblings (To receive preferences, siblings must apply to the same Choice program or school that their sibling is currently attending and will be attending during the school year). Siblings are defined as brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother or stepsister living in the same household; and
- Students who reside in the district.
*Parents must indicate on the application if one of the five preferences is applicable. Supporting documentation must be submitted at the same time that the application is submitted.
Q: What happens after the lottery?
A:If your application is received within the first window you will be notified of the results after the lottery by mid-May. If your application is received within the second application window in June, notification of the results will be made by mid-July.
Once a student is selected for the first choice school on the application, that student is immediately removed from the second choice school on the application.
- If a student declines the first choice school on the application, the student must attend the school in his or her attendance area.
- Once notified, parents/guardians must complete the registration process at the Educational Choice school within ten (10) school days of notification; otherwise, the Educational Choice Transfer is void. Note that school offices may have a modified schedule depending on the time of year. Please check with that particular school office for information.
- If a student exits a Choice school program voluntarily or involuntarily, he/she must return to his/her zoned school.
- If a student is not selected for an Educational Choice Transfer prior to the start of the 2018-19 school year, a new application may be submitted for the 2019-20 school year.
Q: When will I know if seats are available for schools with a waiting list and if I will be selected?
A: The number of seats for any school is based on enrollment and the capacity of the school. Since enrollment is an ongoing process until the fall when school begins, it is not possible to know if any student on the waiting list can be offered a seat until that time. It should also be noted that all waiting lists will expire on the Friday after Labor Day, each school year.
As any seats become available to the waiting list, notification will be made according to the lottery results.
Q: When will families be notified after the first Open Enrollment window is closed?
A: The lottery process and notification will take place in May.
Q: My child has a zone waiver to attend a school outside of our neighborhood. Will I need to reapply?
A: Students enrolled in a Lake County school in 2016-17 with a zone waiver were grandfathered in for 2017-18 if they are in good standing academically and behaviorally. The student may complete the highest level at his current school. Afterward, he will be reassigned to his neighborhood school and can apply for an Educational Choice transfer.
Q:If I choose a school other than my neighborhood school, will the district provide transportation?
A: No. Parents are responsible for transporting their students to schools outside of their attendance area.
Q: My daughter is on the basketball team at her neighborhood school for this year. If her Educational Choice application for next year is approved, is she allowed to play at her new school?
A: Yes. Students who are not suspended from interscholastic or intrascholastic extracurricular activities and are not suspended or expelled from school, will not have their eligibility delayed or be otherwise prevented from participating in such activities.
Q: I choose to homeschool my student. May I apply for an Educational Choice waiver so he can play football at a school outside of our neighborhood?
A: Yes. A student who is homeschooled or is enrolled full time in virtual school may participate in any interscholastic extracurricular activity at the public school to which the student would be assigned according to the district school board attendance area policies. If the student chooses to attend a different school, the parent must complete the Educational Choice application process.
Q: What if my application is denied. Am I allowed to appeal the decision?
A: While the school district makes every effort to accommodate all Educational Choice requests, many of the district schools are at or above capacity, which means they cannot accommodate students who live outside the attendance area to which those schools are assigned.
Parents/legal guardians who believe their child was not allowed an equitable opportunity for an Educational Choice transfer during the eligibility process as a result of a technical problem or to claim hardship may request an appeal by end of business on the fifth school day after notification of lottery results. The basis of the appeal, along with additional supporting documentation, must be provided at the time of the request. Appeal requests may be sent to:
Lake County Schools
512 South Palm Avenue
Howey-in-the-Hills, FL 34737