Seattle Public Schools

3141 Nonresident Students

Seattle Public Schools recognizes a primary obligation to school age children who reside within the District. However, any student who resides outside the District may apply to attend school in the District annually during a time period which will be established each year. The nonresident enrollment period will occur after Open Enrollment, the period when resident students may request transfers. 

The District will provide information on interdistrict enrollment policies to nonresidents upon request and will have copies of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s annual information booklet on enrollment options in the state available for public inspection at each school building, the central office, and local public libraries.

A parent/guardian shall apply for admission on behalf of their child by completing the appropriate District application process. The Superintendent or their designee will develop an application form which contains information including, but not limited to, the current legal residence of the child and the school district in which they are currently enrolled or receiving home-based instruction, the basis for requesting release from the resident district, the child’s grade level, and the preferred buildings in which the student desires to be enrolled if accepted by the District.

The District will use the Standard Choice Transfer System in the Education Data System (EDS) to process requests for student transfer enrollment into its programs or schools.

Standards for Acceptance or Rejection

The Superintendent or designee will accept or reject an application for nonresident admission based upon the following standards:

  1. Whether the nonresident student’s application was submitted during the timeframe established in the Superintendent’s Procedures for Student Assignment, 3130SP (subject to program exceptions noted in the procedure);
  2. Whether space is available in the student’s grade level or the student’s selected classes;
  3. Whether space is available in the programs or services needed to address the educational needs of the nonresident student;
  4. Whether the school requested has reached its operational capacity;
  5. Whether the student’s attendance in the District is likely to create a risk to the health or safety of other students or staff;
  6. Whether the student’s acceptance would constitute a financial hardship for the District;
  7. Whether the student’s disciplinary records indicate a history of discipline offenses or criminal convictions/adjudications, violent or disruptive behavior, or membership, per RCW 28A.225.225, in a group that (i) consists of three or more persons; (ii) has identifiable leadership; and (iii) on an ongoing basis, regularly conspires and acts in concert mainly for criminal purposes (referred to as a gang in the statute);
  8. Whether the student has been expelled or suspended from a public school for more than ten consecutive days, in which case the student may apply for admission under the District’s policy for readmission and reengagement of expelled students; and
  9. Whether the parent/guardian can provide transportation for the nonresident student.

Children of Full-Time Employees

As provided in Board Policy No. 3111, Children of Seattle School District Employees, and state law, a nonresident student who is the child of a full-time certificated or classified employee will be permitted to enroll:

  1. At the school where the employee is assigned;
  2. At a school forming the district’s kindergarten through twelfth grade continuum, which includes the school where the employee is assigned, until the student completes their schooling; or
  3. At a school in the district that provides early intervention services pursuant to RCW 28A.155.065 and/or preschool services pursuant to RCW 28A.155.070, if the student is eligible for such services.

A nonresident student who is the child of a full-time certificated or classified employee may request enrollment at the start of the Open Enrollment period established for resident students if the only request for school assignment is the employee’s worksite or if the requested school is part of the worksite’s K-12 continuum. Children of full-time employees not assigned to a school-site will be permitted to enroll as detailed in Superintendent Procedure 3130SP.

The Superintendent or designee may reject the application of a nonresident student who is the child of a full-time employee if:

  1. The student’s disciplinary records indicate a history of discipline offenses or criminal convictions/adjudications, violent or disruptive behavior, or membership in a group defined as a gang under RCW 28A.225.225;
  2. The student has been expelled or suspended from school for more than ten consecutive days;
  3. Enrollment of the student would displace a child who is a resident of the District (except that a student admitted under this section must be permitted to remain enrolled at that school, or in the K-12 grade continuum until they complete their schooling); or
  4. The Student has repeatedly failed to comply with requirements for participation in an online school program, such as participating in weekly direct contact with the teacher or monthly progress evaluations.

Notice of Decision and Appeal Rights

The Superintendent or designee shall provide all applicants with written notification of the approval or denial of the application in a timely manner. If the student is to be admitted, the Superintendent or designee shall notify the resident district and make necessary arrangements for the transfer of student records.

If the application is denied, the Superintendent or designee will notify the parent or guardian in writing within 45 calendar days from receipt of the parent or guardian’s application. The written notification will include the reason(s) for denial and inform the parent or guardian of their right to appeal to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) as detailed in RCW 28A.225.230. The Superintendent or designee’s denial is a final District decision.

Nonresident students are accepted into the District, not into a school or program, and are accepted for only one academic year.

Termination of Assignment

Nonresident student enrollment may be terminated if:

  1. The resident student population increases to the point that there is insufficient capacity for nonresident students in the assigned school or program, in which case the nonresident student(s) will be offered attendance at another school or program if space exists elsewhere;
  2. Information about the student’s instructional needs, or academic or disciplinary records, were unknown or materially misrepresented on the application;
  3. The student is suspended or expelled from the school or District under standard disciplinary procedures; or
  4. The student has engaged in violent or disruptive behavior.


Nonresident students may arrange to be provided District transportation under the following conditions:

  1. Middle School students may only utilize existing bus stops serving their assigned school.
  2. Elementary / K-8 students:
    1. The parent/guardian must provide an alternate or childcare address within the District that conforms to the existing bus stops for the student’s assigned school.
    2. The parent/guardian must provide contact person for the alternate or childcare address.
  3. The parent/guardian is responsible for ensuring transportation to the existing bus stop or route, childcare, or alternate address.