As of June 30, 2012, there will no longer be a Public School Choice (Choice) transfer option under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) as reauthorized under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), and local educational agencies (LEAs) will no longer be required to implement Choice or pay for Choice transportation as implemented under the ESEA.
On November 2011, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), submitted to the United States Department of Education (US ED), a flexibility waiver requesting flexibility through ten ESEA requirements and their associated, regulatory, administrative and reporting requirements. One of the ten requested waivers directly affects the Public School Choice (Choice) transportation under ESEA.
Any student that has previously transferred to another school by exercising the ESEA Choice must be allowed to attend that school until they complete the school’s highest grade; however, the LEA is no longer required to pay for the students’ transportation cost during the duration of the student’s attendance at their current Choice school. The LEA may continue to pay for Choice transportation for students,only if the LEA chooses to do so.
However, parents will still have the Choice transfer option under House Bill 251: The Quality Basic Education Act; Intra-District School Choice. House Bill 251 allows parents of students enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school to enroll in a school other than the assigned school that is located within the school district, if classroom space is available after the assigned students of that district have been enrolled. Under House Bill 251, transportation will not be paid for by the district. The parent shall assume the responsibility and cost of transportation of the student to and from the school.
If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Varner, Federal Programs Director at 229-248-2836.