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Frequently Asked Questions About Open Enrollment


State Statutes Relating to Open Enrollment:


Open Enrollment Administrative Rules – Wis. Adm. Code § Chapter PI 36


Legislation Affecting Open Enrollment

  • 1997 Wisconsin Act 27, (1997-99 budget bill, pages 507-512) creation of open enrollment in budget
  • 1997 Wisconsin Act 41, changes date by which school boards must adopt policies from December 1997 to February 1, 1998.
  • 1999 Wisconsin Act 117, tuition waivers, parent-paid tuition, development of IEPs for open enrolled students, open enrollment for 4-year-old kindergarten.
  • 1999 Wisconsin Act 118, limiting to three the number of nonresident school districts to which a student may apply in one application period.
  • 2001 Wisconsin Act 16, (the 2001-03 budget bill, pages 462-463) allowing nonresident districts to guarantee approval to currently attending students and/or siblings.
  • 2003 Wisconsin Act 55, allows nonresident school districts to establish waiting lists of open enrollment applicants.
  • 2005 Wisconsin Act 68, allows nonresident school districts to pick up and drop off students within the boundaries of the student's resident school district, if the resident school district approves.
  • 2007 Wisconsin Act 222, relating to virtual charter schools.
  • 2009 Wisconsin Act 250, provides that an open enrolled pupil may not file a complaint objecting to a nonresident school district’s use of a race-based nickname, logo or mascot.
  • 2009 Wisconsin Act 303, provides that pupils open enrolled to an elementary school district are entitled to preference when they apply to attend the overlying union high school district.
  • 2009 Wisconsin Act 304, provides that a nonresident school board may terminate a pupil’s open enrollment in the following semester or school year if the pupil is habitually truant and may deny an open enrollment application if the pupil was habitually truant (from the nonresident district to which the pupil applied) in the current or preceding school year.
  • 2011 Wisconsin Act 32, (2011-13 budget) repeal of virtual charter school limit
  • 2011 Wisconsin Act 114 , extending the open enrollment application period and creating an alternative application procedure allowing pupils to apply for open enrollment any time during the school year for certain reasons.
  • 2013 Wisconsin Act 20, (2013-15 budget, page 248) aid transfer amount


Court Decisions Affecting Open Enrollment

  • Stockbridge School District v. Anthony S. Evers, 2010, Court of Appeals, re: denial of open enrollment for reasons not permitted in state law
  • Doe v. Burmaster, Order of the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, re: calculation of open enrollment special education costs.
  • McMorrow v. DPI, Court of Appeals decision will curtail school districts' ability to grant guarantees to continuing students and siblings when school districts have determined that space is not available.
  • Johnson v. Burmaster, 2008, Court of Appeals decision relating to virtual charter Schools.



For questions about this information, contact Jennifer Danfield (608) 264-6707