A new state law has taken effect this year, requiring school districts across Tennessee to make updates to their Open Enrollment policies and procedures. Tullahoma City Schools has adopted a new policy for out-of-zone transfer requests to comply with the state ordinance. The following information describes the updates to the TCS process for out-of-zone requests and out-of-district applications.
In-district kindergarten registration will begin at each elementary school with a push to get as many registered as possible during the weeks of April 4 – 14. Kindergarten registration will continue through May 20. Registration will re-open for any new in-district students from July 18-29. These registrations also take place at the student’s school of zone.
Beginning April 18, TCS will post the number of open spaces available for in-district out-of-zone transfer requests by grade. From May 2-31, TCS will start accepting new, in-district open enrollment applications. Following the open application window, if there are more requests than open spaces, a random lottery must be conducted to determine which applicants are approved for a zone exemption; this is required per the new law. Applicants will be notified of their status following the close of the window process.
A waiting list will be created based on the results of the lottery. If open spaces become available, the waiting list will be used – in order – to determine the next student granted an out-of-zone transfer request. If the number of applicants is less than the number of slots for a particular school, all applicants will be granted a zone exemption.
If a family already has a sibling attending the requested school, the existing sibling will remain a student at the school for the 2022-2023 school year. According to the new state law, those families will get priority if a slot is available. Standard out-of-zone exemption applications will not be accepted after May 31 because of the lottery requirements of the state law.
It is important to note that if a student is already attending a school on a zoning exemption, it is not necessary to reapply to continue attending the same school. Employees remain eligible for out-of-zone transfer requests for their children to attend the school or zone where the employee works.
On May 23rd, the application will open for new Out-of-District student requests. Applications will be processed June 1-15. Non-resident applicants entering grades 1-12 will need to submit the student’s grade report, and both attendance and behavior records from their previous school year with the application. Should there be any remaining available spots, non-resident applications will also be accepted from July 18-29.
Families will not have to reapply each year for all granted out-of-zone requests or out-of-district acceptance. However, students must maintain appropriate behavior, attendance, and grades or their zone exemption/out-of-district status may be revoked.
Because the state now requires a random lottery to decide which student will be granted exemptions, TCS can no longer consider requests for medical or other reasons based on hardships. The Director of Schools maintains the authority to grant administrative placements on a case-by-case basis, but these will be rare and for severe situations only.
All information regarding Out-of-Zone Transfer Requests and Out-of-District applications can be found on the TCS homepage under the Enrollment tab. For any additional questions, please contact the TCS Director of Student Services, Dr. Shannon Duncan, at 931-222-4196 or firstname.lastname@example.org.