3141 Procedure – Non-resident Students

These procedures set forth the process and criteria for the acceptance of non-resident students into Bellingham Public Schools.


Information on interdistrict acceptance policies shall be provided to non-resident students upon request.

Non-resident students applying for enrollment in the district shall submit a written application to the superintendent’s designee no sooner than Feb. 15.

The application shall be submitted on a form supplied by the district and shall be signed by the custodial parent or guardian of any student who is under 18 years of age. The application shall include, at minimum, the following information: name of student; residence of student; grounds for requesting enrollment; desired building and grade level; desired courses if a secondary student; and any history of placement in special education programs; any past, current, or pending disciplinary action; any history of violent or gang-related behavior; any unpaid fines or fees imposed by other schools; and any health conditions affecting the student’s educational needs.


Except for children of full-time certificated or classified employees as described in Section III below, no student applicant shall be given special consideration. All applications received by the deadlines will be considered equally.

A. Applicants who are non-resident children of full-time certificated and classified school employees, except for students who reside out-of-state, must be accepted and permitted to enroll:

  1. at the school to which the employee is assigned; or
  2. at a school forming the district’s K through 12 continuum, which includes the school to which the employee is assigned, unless:

a.   The student’s disciplinary records indicate a history of convictions for offenses or crimes, violent or disruptive behavior, or gang membership;

b.   The student has been expelled or suspended from a public school for more than 10 consecutive days. Any policy allowing for readmission of expelled or suspended students must apply uniformly to both resident and nonresident applicants; or

c.   Enrollment of a child would displace a child who is a resident of the district, except that if a child is admitted, that child shall be permitted to remain enrolled at that school or in the district’s K through 12 continuum until the child has completed school.

B. Applicants must submit written evidence of having been released by the school district in which they reside prior to enrollment.

C. Applicants must demonstrate qualification under one or more of the following criteria:

  1.  A financial, educational, safety, or health condition affecting the student applicant that would likely be reasonably improved as a result of attendance in this district;
  2.  Attendance in this district is more accessible to the place of work of the student’s custodial parent/guardian or to the location of child care for the student; and/or;
  3. A special hardship or detrimental condition exists. For the purposes of these procedures a special hardship or detrimental condition includes, but is not limited to, the following:

a.   A student who was enrolled the previous year in this district and is scheduled to complete the 12th grade the following year; and

D. The district shall determine, in the reasonable exercise of its discretion, that each of the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. Space is available to accommodate the student applicant. For the purpose of these procedures “space” means (1) the capacity of the physical plant of the school, grade level, class and/or program to accommodate the student applicant and, (2) the capacity of a school to meet the academic needs of the student applicant by reason of anticipated demand for course offerings. Availability of space shall be determined by the appropriate principal and/or program director.
  2. The school which the student applicant wishes to attend offers a program that is suitable to meet the educational and other needs of the student.
  3. The student applicant is not likely to disrupt the educational process or create a risk to the health or safety of students or staff.
  4. The student does not have a disciplinary record indicating a history of violent or disruptive behavior or gang membership (a gang means a group of three or more persons with identifiable leadership that on an ongoing basis regularly conspires and acts in concert mainly for criminal purposes).
  5. The student does not have discipline issues, chronic attendance problems, or lack academic progress.
  6. The student is not currently expelled or suspended from a public school for more than 10 consecutive days.
  7. If a student is on an expulsion or suspended from a public school for more than 10 consecutive days, the student may apply for admission under the district’s policy for readmission of expelled students. The student must qualify for readmission to their resident school prior to admission consideration.
  8. The school can adequately meet the needs of the student and/or family based on principal determination.

E. Resident students moving out of district during the school year will be notified by the school that they may stay until the end of the grading period, and of the requirement for form 3141F to be filed with the district. It will be the decision of the school to allow the student to continue after the end of the grading period, based on the above criteria.

F. Lack of academic effort, poor attendance, tardiness, or discipline problems shall provide just cause for the district to return a student to his/her home district at any time.


Acceptance of students who are the children of full-time employees will be for the duration of their schooling or until the parent is no longer an employee. Acceptance of other non-resident students will be only for the designated school year or a stated period of time of lesser duration.


Except to the extent otherwise provided in Section VIII, the district assumes no obligation for the transportation of non-resident students admitted to the district.


No annual transfer fee shall be imposed unless specific action authorizing such a fee is taken by the district’s Board of Directors.


The eligibility of non-resident students to participate in extracurricular activities shall be subject to the rules and regulations of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.


Non-resident students who are eligible for special education services will continue to be considered for admission pursuant to any applicable interdistrict cooperative program. If a student who is eligible for special education services is admitted under these procedures, all of the provisions of these procedures shall apply. In addition:

A.  The district will be deemed to be the resident district for the purposes of WAC 392-171; and

B.  Transportation shall be provided to the extent required as a related service.


All applications for admission of non-resident students shall be submitted to the superintendent’s designee.

The superintendent’s designee shall provide written notice of acceptance or denial. Denials shall specify the reason and will advise the applicant of their right to appeal. Transfer decisions will be made between the third week of August through the fifth day of school.


If the request is denied, the parent or guardian may appeal to the Deputy Superintendent in writing within 10 school/business days of the notification of the denial.  If the Deputy Superintendent denies the appeal, the notice shall inform the applicant of their right to appeal the decision to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.


Legal References:

RCW 28A.225.220

RCW 28A.225.225

WAC 392-137

ESSB 5142

Adopted/Previous Revisions: 01/15/04; 02/05/08; 03/23/11; 02/23/12; 01/17/17
Updated: 01/08/18