Standard Choice Transfer Form

In the 2013 legislative session, OSPI was directed to create a standard form to be used by all districts for Choice Transfers for online school enrollments. (RCW 28A.250.070) The Standard Choice Transfer System (SCTS) was developed to meet this need. It is an application within EDS that provides a resident district the ability to submit a parent request for a Choice Transfer to a nonresident district, signifying the intent to release the student upon acceptance. The nonresident district will accept or deny the request within the system. Email notices are sent automatically from the system at milestones throughout the process to the parent and the districts. The system features include the ability to rescind, renew and resubmit appealed requests.

Per the statute, all districts must use the SCTS for Choice Transfers for online school enrollment; however, the system is also able to process requests for non-online enrollments and Interdistrict Agreements.

As of May 15, 2014, all school districts are expected to use SCTS for Choice Transfer requests for online school enrollments.

How to get started:

  1. Set up the authorized user(s) in EDS. The role in EDS that is authorized to submit, accept, or deny a request is called the Choice Transfer Coordinator. This role may potentially be filled by staff in the business office, a principal or their designee, a program coordinator, etc. The roles can be set up at the school and district level and also allow for multiple people to be assigned. Identify who will assume this role in your district and work with your District Data Security Manager to get set up.
  2. View a recorded training webinar on how to use the system. View the training slides.
  3. Read the guidance in the bulletin B008-14 about Choice Transfer and Interdistrict Agreements.
  4. Review the examples of Choice Transfer and Interdistrict Agreements in the bulletin attachment.
  5. Read the system guide for help using the system. (updated 5/5/15)
  6. Read the latest information in the status update email about the implementation that includes clarifying guidance, fixes, and notes on feature requests. (sent 6/6/14)
  7. Prepare the parent request form. Download the OSPI templates:

    Templates to create forms for print:
    Templates to create forms for filling out online and then print:
    (Need to "protect" the documents after modification to activate the form fields.)

Frequently asked questions

Find answers to questions on these topics.

  1. Whom do I contact with questions?
  2. What rules govern Choice Transfers?
  3. What are the guidelines for Special Education and 504?
  4. Do we have to use the parent request form templates provided by OSPI?
  5. Could districts revise the form templates to include student status information such as special education, 504, gifted, health information, etc?
  6. What if our district wants to use the system for all Choice Transfers and Interdistrict Agreements but the other district is only going to use it for Choice Transfers for online enrollment?
  7. Does OSPI provide any guidance to students and families about Choice options?
  8. Does a request need to be denied for typos or minor errors?
  9. When is the best time in the school year to submit a Choice Transfer request?
  10. How do we handle the situation if we do not make a decision on requests within the 45 day timeframe? What happens in the system?
  11. As a resident district, how accountable are we for the validity of the behavior responses?
  12. How is a Choice Transfer handled for homeless students, foster families, and custody arrangements?
  13. As the resident district, do I need to know the first and last days of school for the nonresident district to input on the transfer?
  14. What happens when an online student wants to take a course (or receive a service) at the resident district?
  15. Does the Choice Transfer process apply when a private school student wants to enroll in an online school part-time?
  16. After a choice transfer is in place, does the non-resident school district have to request records from the resident school district before the resident district can withdraw the student?
  17. Can a sending district (a district that transfers students among cooperative participating districts for purposes of claiming apportionment) in an inter-district cooperative assign 100% of a student’s enrolled FTE to the cooperative’s serving district?
  18. Can a student who is a resident of a district that is NOT a participating district transfer into a sending district under Washington’s State’s choice law, RCW 28A.225.225, and be claimed by the cooperative’s serving district for 100% of the student’s enrolled FTE?
  19. Can a district enroll a student under Washington State’s choice laws if the district cannot accommodate any of the student’s educational needs?
  20. Can a student enroll in a district participating in an inter-district cooperative under Washington State’s choice laws and then, as explicitly allowed for in the cooperative agreement, be partially served and claimed by a serving district?

Q. Whom do I contact with questions about Choice Transfers or Interdistrict Agreements?

A. For enrollment reporting and funding questions contact Becky McLean in OSPI Financial Services, becky.mclean@k12.wa.us, 360-725-6306. For questions about the SCTS application, contact the OSPI Digital Learning Department, dldinfo@k12.wa.us, 206-616-9940.

Last updated: 9/2/2014

Q. What are the rules governing Choice Transfers?

A. The following RCWs and WACs cover Choice Transfers:

  • RCW 28A.225.220. Adults, children from other districts, agreements for attending school -- Tuition.
  • RCW 28A.225.225. Applications from nonresident students or students receiving homebased instruction to attend district school -- Acceptance and rejection standards -- Notification.
  • RCW 28A.225.230. Appeal from certain decisions to deny student's request to attend nonresident district -- Procedure.
  • RCW 28A.225.280. Transfer students' eligibility for extracurricular activities.
  • RCW 28A.225.300. Enrollment options information to parents.
  • Chapter 392-137 WAC. Nonresident attendance.

Last updated: 3/27/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. What are the guidelines for Special Education and 504?

A. A. A student’s special education or 504 status should not be the basis of a decision to accept or deny the transfer request. This information was not included on the OSPI form templates; however, it does not mean that the district cannot take the student’s 504 or SPED status under consideration. It is available in the Student Record Exchange (SRX). Also, there is nothing preventing the parent and nonresident district from communicating prior to the Choice Transfer request being initiated to determine if certain programs are available or are a good fit. The decision to deny a nonresident transfer on the basis of program capacity, however, should not be used as a pretext for denying a student with a disability nonresident admission. The process requires the district to make an individualized determination about the student’s request for admission. The district should consult its legal counsel for advice on what may or may not be an acceptable policy or process of individualized determination in order to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability. View the ALE and Disabilities page for more guidance on serving students with disabilities through a Choice Transfer agreement. For more information contact: OSPI Special Education or OSPI Equity and Civil Rights (504)

Last updated: 4/27/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. Do we have to use the parent request form templates provided by OSPI?

A. Districts may customize the OSPI template to meet their needs or continue to use their existing form. However, some key features are included in the template that districts should consider to enhance their form.

  • Notices and acknowledgements are included to clarify expectations and responsibilities of the parent and school districts.
  • The FERPA release makes sure that all bases are covered for the resident district to share student information with the nonresident district.
  • Special education and 504 indicators are not included on the Choice Transfer Request template. View the guidance that explains this further and also the FAQ on revising the templates.
  • The template is designed to flow with the screen input and gathers information that is required by the system.

Last updated: 4/15/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. Could districts revise the template to include student status information such as special education, 504, gifted, health information, etc? Could that information be input in the optional "program name" field?

A. It is not advised to add student status information to the request form (or include it in the program name field) unless that information is specifically stated in district policy as part of the acceptance and rejection standards for nonresident students. A district may not reject a student's choice transfer request solely because of the student's eligibility for special education and related services, or eligibility under Section 504. Requesting that a student disclose their special education or disability status suggests that this is a valid reason to accept or deny a student's request, which may open the district to claims of disability discrimination.

Last updated: 4/22/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. What if our district wants to use the system for all Choice Transfers and Interdistrict Agreements but the other district is only going to use it for Choice Transfers for online enrollment?

A. The system was designed with the intent to facilitate communication, management, and recordkeeping among the districts for all types of transfers—beyond what is required in statute. We encourage districts to examine the benefits of using the system and would like to understand the reasons why it would not be used. Please contact OSPI, dldinfo@k12.wa.us, 206-616-9940.

Last updated: 9/2/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. Does OSPI provide any guidance to students and families about Choice options?

A. Yes. OSPI produces a "Learning by Choice" booklet on a yearly basis. You can find it here. It will be updated to include information on the new process for requesting a Choice Transfer during the booklet's regular annual update process.

Last updated: 4/9/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. Does a request need to be denied for typos or minor errors?

A. No. Now that editing capabilities have been enhanced in the SCTS, both resident and non-resident districts should be able to fix typos or errors, then continue to process the request. When any edits or changes are made to the request, a notation referencing the changes will appear in the top box of the student file.

While we encourage districts to fix any errors they may find, if the identity of the student is not in question by the districts, and it is clearly understood what school/program the student is requesting to be released to, it is not necessary to deny the request for inconsequential errors. Districts may communicate outside the system by phone or email for clarification.

Last updated: 4/23/2015

Return to FAQ links

Q. When is the best time in the school year to submit a Choice Transfer request?

A. Communication between Coordinators is key in timing transfer requests. Districts are encouraged to post “begin dates” for mid-year transfers and consideration dates for the next school year transfer requests on their websites. Resident districts can then submit Choice Transfer requests accordingly and non-resident districts can respond in a timely fashion.

Last updated: 4/23/2015

Return to FAQ links

Q. How do we handle the situation if we do not make a decision on requests within the 45 day timeframe? What happens in the system?

A. The Choice Transfer request remains active in the system as “pending release.” The parent is not notified that 45 days have passed or that the status has changed in any way. It is still available for a district to accept or deny—even after 45 days pass. Districts need to be aware of the 45 day rule (WAC 392-137-205 Section (2)(a)), because a parent may contact you to exercise their right to appeal. If your district is unable to meet the timeframe, we advise that you be proactive in your communication of the timeframe such as posting a notice on your website, sending a notice to applicants, etc. The Choice Transfer system provides the parent email and mailing address in the Excel Export to make it easier for districts to communicate with the group of applicants.

Last updated: 6/6/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. As a resident district, how accountable are we for the validity of the behavior responses?

A. If you are using the OSPI template for the parent request form, one of the acknowledgements the parent makes by signing the form is that they have provided complete and accurate information. The parent is accountable. If you have ready knowledge about the student that clarifies the parent information or would be otherwise useful, it is generally expected that you would add it. But, if you do not have information on the student, it is the district decision on how much research or verification you perform. The Student Record Exchange (SRX) is being enhanced to provide discipline and attendance information, so nonresident districts will be able to verify student information. That enhancement should be available soon. A nonresident district could reserve their right to rescind a transfer if accurate information is not provided from a parent by stating it as a condition of rescindment in district policy.

Last updated: 6/6/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. How is a Choice Transfer handled for homeless students, foster families, and custody arrangements?

A. Follow these guidelines:

Homeless students: Students who qualify under McKinney-Vento would not need a Choice Transfer.

Foster families: Residency is defined as the district where the student is expected to live for 20 consecutive days. If this is not the resident district, then a Choice Transfer is required.

Custody arrangements: If the parenting plan shows that the parents will split custody 50/50, the parents should decide which district the student will attend and a Choice Transfer is not necessary. If the split is not even, and the parents want to enroll their student in the district where the parent with less than 50% custody lives, a Choice Transfer would be necessary.

Last updated: 6/6/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. As the resident district, do I need to know the first and last days of school for the nonresident district to input on the transfer?

A. There are two options:

1. The student already has a Choice Transfer in place with the non-resident district and is taking the majority of their education courses there. The non-resident district (as the Choice district and fully responsible for the student) prepares an Interdistrict Agreement back with the resident district (or any other district) for the requested services. The advantage in doing it this way is that the nonresident district remains responsible for all education services except as specified.

2. The resident district could initiate an Interdistrict Agreement instead of a Choice Transfer for any shared amount. However, the resident district is responsible for all services unless otherwise stated in the agreement--special education, truancy, home/hospital, state assessments, CEDARS reporting, etc.

Last updated: 4/24/2015

Return to FAQ links

Q. What happens when a Choice Transferred student wants to take a course (or receive a service) at the resident district?

A. When a student takes a majority of their education courses in the nonresident district but desires a course in the resident district, the recommended practice is for the student to request a Choice Transfer into the nonresident district. Then the nonresident district (as the Choice district and fully responsible for the student ) prepares an Interdistrict Agreement back with the resident district (or any other district) for the requested services. The advantage in doing it this way is that the nonresident district remains responsible for all education services except as specified. The nonresident district acts in the manner of a resident district when a Choice Transfer is in place.

It remains an option for the resident district to initiate an Interdistrict Agreement instead of a Choice Transfer for any shared amount. However, the resident district is responsible for all services unless otherwise stated in the agreement--special education, truancy, home/hospital, state assessments, CEDARS reporting, etc.

Last updated: 9/4/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. Does the Choice Transfer process apply when a private school student wants to enroll in an online school part-time?

A. Yes. A Choice Transfer request is submitted to release the student from the resident district who will not be serving the student at all. The student is eligibile to take any online courses that are not offered in the private school. The nonresident district will determine how much FTE to claim.

Last updated: 9/4/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. After a choice transfer is in place, does the non-resident school district have to request records from the resident school district before the resident district can withdraw the student?

A. The resident school district may withdraw the student without a records request. However, the withdrawal code cannot be marked as a confirmed transfer until the records request is received OR verification is obtained through other means (CEDARS look up for enrollment, phone call from the new school, etc.). By verifying through other means, the resident district would avoid having to identify the student as a dropout.

The non-resident district may enroll the student without requesting or receiving the records. As of the date of start date on the Choice Transfer, the nonresident district is eligible to claim the student enrollment.

Last updated: 10/8/2014

Return to FAQ links

Q. Can a sending district (a district that transfers students among cooperative participating districts for purposes of claiming apportionment) in an inter-district cooperative assign 100% of a student’s enrolled FTE to the cooperative’s serving district?

A. Yes, but only if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The cooperative agreement must explicitly allow for such an arrangement.
  2. The serving district must report the student as a resident of another school district on the P-223 when claiming apportionment.(See the Enrollment Reporting Handbook for details on reporting non-resident students).
  3. The serving district must provide services under the cooperative agreement.
  4. The student must be a resident of the sending district.

Last updated: 1/8/2015

Return to FAQ links

Q. Can a district enroll a student under Washington State’s choice laws if the district cannot accommodate any of the student’s educational needs?

A. No, if a district cannot serve any of the student’s educational needs, the district cannot accept the student under the choice laws.

Last updated: 1/8/2015

Return to FAQ links

Q. Can a student enroll in a district participating in an inter-district cooperative under Washington State’s choice laws and then, as explicitly allowed for in the cooperative agreement, be partially served and claimed by a serving district?

A. Yes. The cooperative agreement must be clear regarding which district is going to claim what part of the student’s FTE. No additional choice paperwork would be required for shared FTE among participating districts.

Last updated: 1/8/2015

Return to FAQ links