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3131P - In-District Student Transfers Procedure

Priority for Consideration of Student Transfer Requests

Students are automatically eligible to attend their neighborhood school, or the nearest school that offers a program in which they are placed. Siblings of students currently attending a school of choice are automatically able to enroll in the same school, unless that school does not have a program necessary to serve the student’s educational needs or they don’t meet the criteria for a transfer. With certain restrictions, state law makes children of full-time District employees eligible to attend District schools where the employee works or to attend any school that is part of the continuum in which the employee works. (RCW 28A.225.225). When space is available, other students will be accepted for enrollment in a school of choice in the following order:

  1. Siblings of in-District students,
  2. Other in-District students from out of the attendance area;
  3. Siblings of out-of-District students; and
  4. Other out-of-District students

The District will accept applications for open enrollment during the month of February for the following school year. All in-district students who submit an open enrollment request by February 28 will be considered on an equal basis per the priority order listed above. After the open enrollment period, applications will be considered first from any wait list created during the initial open enrollment period, and then in the chronological order received.

All applications received during the open enrollment month will be accepted up to the number of spaces available at a school of choice. If space is available, eligible students from the priority groups listed above will be placed in the order listed above before placing anyone from the next priority group, or from outside of the priority groups. If the number of requests exceeds the spaces available, names in the priority group will be drawn by lottery and placed in rank order. The lottery will be conducted at the central office by an impartial staff member. Students who are beyond the number of spaces available that are placed on a wait list can be accepted in ranked order by grade level as space becomes available until mid-August. The wait list will not carry forward into the following school year.

When a student has been accepted to attend a school of choice, the family will be notified and will have three (3) school days to accept or refuse the transfer. Students who refuse the transfer will be removed from the current wait list for that year and the space will be given to the next student on the list. When students from the wait list are offered a transfer, they will have two (2) days to make a decision.

Exceptions for Cause

When a school is closed, exceptions to the above conditions for student transfers may be made by the District central office for the following reasons:

  1. A student under the age of twelve (12) may transfer to a school outside of their attendance area to be cared for outside of school hours at a nearby home or agency outside of their neighborhood attendance area. The waiver exists as long as the day care remains at that location.
  2. When a student moves to another attendance area within the District during the last quarter, they may be allowed to finish the current school year. In the next to last year of a grade span, they may attend through the last year of the grade span of the school in which they has been enrolled. Students not meeting the above criteria may apply to remain in that school through the annual open enrollment process. A student who moves out of the District will need to reapply and be considered as an out-of-District student on a space available basis.
  3. A family provides written documentation to verify/confirm residency in a different attendance area or into the District from out-of-District within six (6) months of the date of the request and wishes to enroll the student in their new school prior to the actual move. Written documentation includes a construction contract, bill of sale or rental agreement.
  4. A school guidance team or other counseling/medical professional provides a medical necessary recommendation of a different school environment or program to meet a student’s educational, social or psychological needs.

Special Considerations

To ensure comparability of program offerings between schools, high schools will be staffed at least at a minimum enrollment level of 1000 students by the October 1 count date. If more than 1000 students are enrolled on that date, staffing will be at the District ratio.

To ensure comparability of program offerings between schools, middle schools will be staffed at least a minimum enrollment level of 650 students by the October 1 count date. If more than 650 students are enrolled on that date, staffing will be at the District ratio.

Transferring students must comply with all rules and regulations of the school of choice. WIAA participation regulations will pertain within the District, as well as between Issaquah and other Districts.


  1. Students establish athletic eligibility at the first school they attend in the Issaquah School District, grades 9-12.
  2. Students may transfer between schools on a yearly basis, if there is room at their grade level in the new school.
  3. They must apply during the District open enrollment month for the following year. Mid-year transfers are not granted except under highly unusual circumstances.
  4. Students who are granted an intra-District transfer are generally not eligible to participate in varsity athletics for one year after being enrolled in their new school, unless doing so is approved by the WIAA. Such students otherwise ineligible to play varsity sports may play at other levels (freshmen, junior varsity) and participate in all other co-curricular activities, if doing so is in compliance with WIAA eligibility rules. Transferring students may be eligible for varsity competition at the beginning of their second year at the new school.
  5. New students who move into the District will establish eligibility at the first school they attend. Thus, new “move-in” students who “open enroll” in a school outside of their residential attendance area are not subject to the one year waiting period.
  6. Issaquah resident students who have been enrolled outside of the District and return to the District, must wait a year to gain varsity eligibility, no matter which school they enter.
  7. Entering ninth graders who are open enrolled from another attendance area will be eligible for varsity competition without a year of waiting.
  8. Regarding students who transfer between Districts, this Regulation follows guidelines of the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA). Inter-District transfer students who are denied eligibility may use the following process for appeals:

Step 1: Make appeal to Superintendent’s designee.

  • An informal meeting is scheduled as soon as possible.
  • After meeting with the parent/student, the designee will share their decision with the parent/student within two business days.
  • If parent/student wishes to appeal the decision, they proceeds to Step 2.

Step 2: Appeal to the WIAA District Eligibility Committee within three (3) school business days of receipt of the Superintendent/designee’s decision, per Sec. 19.3.1 of the WIAA Handbook.

Schools of choice do not need to make special program or structural accommodations for students who are accepted from outside the attendance area. The Special Education Department will determine where appropriate services are provided for students with an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Parents are responsible for transportation and supervision to and from a school of choice. However, the District may provide transportation on a space available basis from an existing bus route to a school of choice.

All District transfers will be handled and approved through the District central office, in collaboration with the building principal.

Maximum Enrollment

For open enrollment purposes, a school will be considered closed if one or more of the following conditions exist. The District may waive these conditions in certain circumstances for program reasons.

  1. Portables will be required to house additional students.
  2. The capacity of a school, as defined by the Current School Capacity in the most recent Issaquah School District Capital Facilities Plan, will be exceeded.
  3. The number of students at the grade level requested by a student is projected to exceed the Current School Capacity in the future, e.g., the enrollment of a freshman class times four will exceed the established capacity of the building.

Minimum Enrollment

There is no set minimum enrollment for a building to prevent a student from applying for open enrollment to a school of choice.

Annual Review

This Regulation will be reviewed annually in November to recommend changes and to establish the maximum enrollment in all schools for the following year. The results of this review will be communicated to the public in January of each year for the following fall.

Definition of Terms

Neighborhood School - The student’s designated school of attendance, as defined by the existing District attendance area boundaries.

School of Choice - School to which the student is applying outside of his/her attendance area school (neighborhood school).

Comprehensive Program - A comprehensive program, particularly at the high school level, is one that is comparable in range of course offerings to those available at other schools in the District.

Maximum Enrollment - The enrollment level beyond which a school is unable to accept additional students on a choice basis.

Grade Span - The grades included in any sequence within a school, e.g., K, 1-5 at elementary, 6-8 at middle school, and 9-12 at high school.

Current School Capacity - The school capacity as stated in the most recent Capital Facilities Plan. It may be revised yearly, based upon current knowledge of individual school program capacity.



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