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    In-District Variance Process

    Transferring schools within Lake Washington School District

    Parents/Guardians can apply to receive an approved variance for their student to enroll and attend a school other than their School Designated for the Geographic Attendance Area within Lake Washington School District (“District”). This transfer process is known as an In-District Variance. You can apply for an In-District Variance to any school within the District by filling out and submitting an In-District Variance Request “Form” at any school within the District. Directions for filling out and submitting the Form are provided below.  

    When making an In-District Variance Request, schools are designated by the District as either “Open” or “Closed” or “Limited” to such requests. An “Open” school designation means that the school is not at enrollment capacity and that it is therefore able to accept students from outside its designated geographic attendance area. Please note that even though a school may be designated as "Open," there may be grade levels within the school that are at enrollment capacity and unable to accept students from outside the school’s designated geographic attendance area.  A “Closed” designation means the school is at enrollment capacity and unable to accept students from outside the school designated for the geographic attendance area. In-District Variance Requests made to “closed” schools will not be accepted. A “Limited” designation means the school is closed to out-of-district variances and has limited capacity for in-district variances.

    Refer to the Closed Schools List which is located on the District’s website to determine whether a school you may be interested in is available for an In-District Variance Request.

    Acceptance of In-District Variances is Limited

    Due to increasing enrollment, many schools are closed to In-District Variance Requests. Open schools may have limited space available. In-District Variance Requests are accepted on a space available basis and on a priority basis. 

    The District has developed a priority process for consideration and acceptance of In-District Variance Requests when an open school/grade level receives more In-District Variance Requests, during the Open Enrollment period, than the specific number of available spaces at that school. The priority process is as follows:

    • First priority is given to students with a concurrently enrolled sibling at the requested open school. Should In-District Variance 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 In-District Variance Request.);
    • Should In-District Variance Requests exceed spaces available, a lottery will be conducted;
    • Should spaces remain, next priority is given to the remaining In-District Variance Requests; and
    • Should In-District Variance Requests that remain exceed spaces available, a lottery will be conducted.
    Open Enrollment

    You can apply for an In-District Variance at any time for the next school year, but In-District Variance Requests initiated during the Open Enrollment period are given priority and may allow you to learn earlier whether your In-District Variance Request is approved. The open enrollment period for the 2018-19 school year is February 1 to February 28, 2019. If the In-District Variance Request is submitted during the designated Open Enrollment Period, no priority to the request is given based on the date the In-District Variance Request is received by the District. In-District Variance Request is received after the expiration of the Open Enrollment Period will be considered on a first come, first serve basis.

    If the In-District Variance request is approved, parents/guardians are required to provide transportation for their student(s) to the new transfer school. Student(s) must continue to meet his/her new school's attendance and behavior expectations. For this information, please refer to your new transfer school's Student Handbook.

    Schools with No Space Available are Closed to In-District Variances

    Before the Open Enrollment period, starts the District determines which schools will have room to accommodate In-District Variances and which will be limited or closed. An “Open” or “Limited” school may be open only for specific grade levels. Check the Closed Schools List on the District’s website.

    How to apply for an In-District Variance

    Steps for applying

    • Go to your current school designated for your geographic attendance area and ask the school's office to provide you with an In-District Variance Request Form (or download here).
    • Complete Part One of the In-District Variance Request Form and turn it in to the school designated for your geographic attendance area 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;
    • A request to a school that has been identified with a "closed" designation will not be approved and will not be forwarded to the requested "closed" schools; except for students of District employees.
    • The requested school, if designated as “open”, will notify you whether or not your In-District Variance Request has been approved or communicate the projected timeline for the decision. Typically, elementary schools notify parents within the May/June time frame, except for kindergarten which may be as late as the end of August. Secondary schools are generally able to notify parents within the March/April window, provided the request was made within the identified Open Enrollment period.  However, depending on enrollment and enrollment projections, In-District Variance Requests may not have decisions communicated until start of school. 

    When to apply

    • The District’s Open Enrollment period is February 1 to February 28, 2019 for the 2018-2019 school year. You may apply any time during this period. No priority to your request is given based on the date the application is received by the District so long as it falls within those dates.
    • Applications made during Open Enrollment period will be given priority. 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 constraints, parents/guardians may not find out if their In-District Variance Request has been approved until just before the new school year begins.

    When to re-apply

    • Generally, once a student has been granted an In-District Variance between two District schools, they do not need to reapply. They can continue attending the new school. (see limitations below)
    • Exception: Students going into sixth grade or ninth grade must file for a new In-District Variance if they wish to attend an open school outside of their school designated for their geographic attendance area. That new In-District Variance Request will be subject to District policy, regulation and procedures. 

    Limitations to In-District Variances

    • In-District Variance students may be required to return to their school designated for their geographic attendance area or transfer to another school if the enrollment in the school or grade level at the school in which they are enrolled increases to the point where there would be inadequate space for In-District variance students. Enrollment increases may be caused by an influx of new resident students with in a school’s existing boundaries or by the addition of new resident students to a school as the result of a boundary change or movement or expansion of a District program;
    • In-District Variances granted are discontinued at the time the student leaves the school or program for any reason or if a student withdraws or is withdrawn from the District; 
    • In-District Variances may be discontinued if the student is excessively tardy or truant, or if the student engages in frequent misconduct, and/or engages in disruptive behavior in violation of school rules, program rules or student handbook that indicate the student is not being successful in the school or program;  

    Variance Terminations and Appeals

    • Before the transfer of a student is terminated under the above provision, the student and the parent/guardian will be notified that the student’s continued attendance at this school or program is in jeopardy. Should a decision be made to terminate the student’s transfer under this provision, the parent/guardian will be notified and may appeal that termination to the Superintendent’s Designee within three school days of the notification; and  
    • The outcome of an In-District Variance request may be appealed to the District Director who administers the Variance process. This is the final appeal.

    Change of Residency

    • When a student moves during the school year, the parent/guardian will inform the school within five (5) school days of changing residence.  
    • If the move is outside of the current school designated for the student’s geographic attendance area but within the District and the parent/guardian wants the student to remain at current school, they must fill out an In-District Variance Request Form within five school days of the move and turn it into the student’s current school.  The In-District Variance Request will then be subject to District policy, regulation and procedures. 
    • If the move is outside the District and the parent/guardian wants the student to remain at the current school, they must obtain a Release from the new resident school District within five school days of the move using that District’s Choice Transfer form.  The Choice Transfer request approval is subject to District policy, regulation and procedures.
    • If a student moves within the District during the summer, the parent/guardian will inform the school prior to school starting and have all the necessary paperwork to the school prior to school starting.  The Transfer request approval is subject to District policy, regulation and procedures.