Policy JFAA: Enrollment of Resident and Non-Resident Students

Under Massachusetts Law a child may attend the schools of the town in which s/he resides. To attend public school in Amherst, in Pelham, or in the Regional District, a student must reside permanently in Amherst, in Pelham, or in one of the Regional towns respectively and must reside with at least one parent or legal guardian who has physical custody.

The residence of a child under 18 is the legal residence of the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) who has/have physical custody of the child. “Residence” is the domicile where a person dwells permanently, not temporarily, and is in the town that is the core of his/her domestic, social, and civil life.

The School District may require a variety of documentation to establish proof of residency and custody. (See Policy JF School Admissions.) Investigations may be made by School officials to assure that a student maintains a bona fide permanent residence in the town. Parents/guardians are under a continuing obligation to inform the School District of any and all changes to a student’s residential status.

Emancipated minors and students over 18 living apart from parents/guardians are entitled to attend school as residents. Children who are illegal immigrants and residing full-time in the school district are entitled to attend school as residents. Students who are placed in a residence in town by a public agency are entitled to attend school as residents.

This residency policy does not apply to homeless students. (See Policy JFABD Homelessness.)

Any student who is determined to be a non-resident while enrolled in a school in any of the districts will be dismissed for non-residency. The dismissal may be appealed to the Superintendent, and the student may be allowed to remain in school pending the outcome of the appeal.

Children of non-resident parents/legal guardians may be allowed to enroll in the following circumstances:

  1. If the child’s parents/legal guardians plan to establish residency in the town, or they must provide proof, such as a Purchase/Sales Agreement, a signed lease, or a Rental Agreement, that they will establish residency within 60 days in order for their child to enter school. The family must provide all transportation to and from the school for the student.
  2. A family moving out of the School District may petition the Superintendent to permit their child to complete the school year, only if the family’s move out of the district occurs after January 1 of that school year. If the petition is approved, the family, not the School District, must provides all transportation to and from school for the child. In acting on the family’s request, the Superintendent may consider such factors as the child’s welfare, the child’s educational needs, resources available to educate the child, and class size.
  3. If a student’s family moves out of the Regional School District during his/her senior year, particular consideration may be given by the Superintendent to the family’s petition that the student be allowed to complete the school year. If the petition is approved, the family must provide all transportation to and from the school for the student.
  4. Under the circumstances that a special education program exists in Amherst, Pelham, or the Region, but not in a child’s home district, a child may be admitted. In that case, as allowed by law, the sending district will pay tuition to the appropriate school district at a rate established by the Business Manager.
  5. If the student resides in the town but is not residing with a parent or legal guardian, then both the parent/legal guardian and the town citizen with whom the student is living must provide letters of certification of residency, which specify why the student is living in the town, and with whom. They must also be able to demonstrate that the student has permanent residency in the town for purposes other than to attend the district’s schools.

Non-resident parents/legal guardians of a child, who resides in Amherst or Pelham apart from his or her parents or legal guardians, for the sole purpose of attending an elementary school in Amherst or Pelham, may be held responsible for the costs of education for the child. Similarly, non-resident parents/legal guardians of a child residing in one of the Regional towns apart from his or her parents or legal guardians, for the sole purpose of attending the Regional Schools, may be held responsible for the costs of education for the child. The student will be dismissed for non-residency.

School Choice:

Children not residing full-time in the town may enter elementary school in Amherst or Pelham if selected as Choice students, unless the local School Committee has taken a vote prior to June 1 to withdraw from the State Choice program for the following year. Children not residing full-time in one of the Regional towns may enter the Regional schools if selected as Choice students, unless the Regional School Committee has taken a vote prior June 1 to withdraw from the State Choice program for the following year. Parents/guardians are responsible for the transportation of Choice students.

 

LEGAL REF:

MGL 76:5 , 76:6

CROSS REF:

Policy JF
Policy JFABD

Region Voted to Approve: 11/07/06
Amherst Voted to Approve: 11/14/06
Pelham Voted to Approve: 12/14/06
Effective Date: 12/14/06
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