In-District Variance Options
Transferring schools within Lake Washington School District
Families can apply to receive an approved variance to another school in the Lake Washington School District, known as an In-District Variance. You can apply for an In-District Variance to any school within the district that has been determined to be "Open." Please note that at the elementary level, though a school may be identified as "Open," there may be grade levels within the school that are at enrollment capacity and those grade levels may be "Closed." Applications to these schools are not guaranteed acceptance. Refer to the Closed Schools List to determine whether a school you may be interested in is available for an In-District Variance request.
Variances are limited
Due to increasing enrollment, many schools are closed to In-District Variances. Open schools may have limited space available. In-District Variances are accepted on a space available basis. The district has developed a priority process for accepting In-District Variances when an open school/grade level receives more requests than the specific number of available spaces at that school. In applying that process:
- First priority is given to students with a concurrently enrolled sibling at the requested school. Should requests exceed spaces available, a lottery will be conducted.
- Should space remain, next priority is given to students who have attended a school which feeds into the requested school. (For example, students may attend a "split-feeder," a district program, or were on a previously-approved variance.)
- Should requests exceed spaces available, a lottery will be conducted.
- Should spaces remain, next priority is given to remaining variance requests.
- Should requests that remain exceed spaces available, a lottery will be conducted.
You can apply for an In-District Variance at any time, but In-District Variance requests initiated during the Open Enrollment period will ensure that you learn earlier whether your In-District Variance is approved. The open enrollment period for the 2017-18 school year was February 1 to 28, 2017.
Parents are required to provide transportation for their student who attends a school through an In-District Variance. Student(s) must continue to meet his/her school's attendance expectations. For this information, please refer to your school's Student Handbook.
Schools with no space available are closed
Before the Open Enrollment period, the district determines which schools will have room to accommodate In-District Variances and which will be closed. An elementary school may be open only for specific grade levels. Check the Closed Schools List or ask any school for a copy of the list.
- Go to your current neighborhood school and ask the school's office to provide you with an In-District Variance Request Form.
- Fill out the In-District Variance Request Form completely and turn it in to the neighborhood school to which your student is currently assigned.
- The principal or his/her designee will sign the form and forward it to the requested school, one school request per form.
- You may not request a school that has been identified with a "closed" designation above. This type of request will not be forwarded to those identified "closed" schools.
- The requested school will notify you whether or not your variance has been approved. Typically, elementary schools notify parents within the May/June time frame, though kindergarten variances may not have decisions communicated until August. Secondary schools are generally able to notify parents within the school registration window/March, provided the request was made within the identified Open Enrollment time period.
- The LWSD Open Enrollment period was February 1 to 28, 2017. Apply any time during that period: no priority to your request is given based on the date of application so long as it falls within those dates.
- Applications made during open enrollment period will be given first consideration. Decisions will be made on a school-by-school basis, depending on space available.
- Applications made after the Open Enrollment period will still be considered. However, due to space and staffing availability constraints, parents may not find out if their In-District Variance has been approved until just before the new school year begins.
- Once a student has been granted an In-District Variance between two LWSD schools, they do not need to reapply. They can continue attending that school.
- Students going into sixth grade or ninth grade must file for new In-District Variance if they wish to attend an available school outside of their neighborhood school. That new In-District Variance may be granted if space is available.