Sumter School District holding open enrollment period through Feb. 23

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 2/8/18

Sumter School District is again holding an open enrollment period for families to choose the school their children will attend next year as long as space is available.

The district released information on the program last week, which is an effort …

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Sumter School District holding open enrollment period through Feb. 23

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Sumter School District is again holding an open enrollment period for families to choose the school their children will attend next year as long as space is available.

The district released information on the program last week, which is an effort to increase students' access to various educational opportunities within the district. The open enrollment period lasts through Feb. 23 and applies to kindergarten through grade 12. Pre-kindergarten students are not eligible for the program, according to district staff.

The open enrollment program is a "space-available" program, according to acting Superintendent Debbie Hamm. That means enrollment opportunities are based on the capacity of each school, and student-teacher ratios will not be increased.

If there are more people wanting spaces than there are space slots available in a school, then the district will use a draw at random to decide who gets the available spaces, Hamm said.

The program is specifically designed for students who wish to attend a school outside their attendance zone next year and who haven't already been approved by the district. Applications are available in all the district's schools, the district office at 1345 Wilson Hall Road and on the district's website, www.sumterschools.net, according to a district spokesperson.

Students who are zoned to attend a particular school and still want to attend that school are not required to submit an application, according to the district. Students who are currently attending a school through the open enrollment program don't need to submit another application.

Separate applications are not required for open-enrollment students to move from Oakland Primary School to Shaw Heights Elementary or High Hills Elementary schools, the district said.

According to the district, applications must be received or postmarked by Feb. 23 and may be returned at any school or the district office.

If mailed, the district office's address is: Sumter School District, attention Maria Thomas, 1345 Wilson Hall Road, Sumter, SC 29150.

Parents will be notified by mail of approval or denial by March 30, according to district staff.

If chosen for the open enrollment program, parents must provide transportation for their student to and from the out-of-zone school, the district said. A student approved for enrollment in an out-of-zone school is entitled to remain in that school until completion of the final grade at the school - without having to submit an annual application.

According to a district spokesperson, other rules and considerations are covered in a program informational flier on the district's website.