School Choice

School Choice Application Request 2015-2016

File:  JFBB

ADMISSION OF SCHOOL CHOICE STUDENTS

Annually the Berkshire Hills Regional School District will accept non-resident students from other Massachusetts communities unless by majority vote of the School Committee a decision is made not to participate in School Choice.

Pursuant to authority granted by M.G.L. Chapter 76, the Berkshire Hills Regional School District established the following as terms for accepting non-resident students under School Choice:

  1. Decisions about acceptance of School Choice requests will be made by the Superintendent upon recommendation of Building Principals prior to June 1 of the year preceding the request for admission as a choice student and again no later than November 1 of the year in which admission is requested.
  2. Non-resident students/families/guardians may submit a choice request between the start of school (typically the week before Labor Day and February 15th of the year before they hope to enroll. If an opening becomes available between September and November of the next school year following the February 15th application deadline, the District may offer those openings to those students who have applied, but have not been offered a slot.  The District will not fill slots which become available after November.
  3. Discrimination Prohibited –  The Berkshire Hills Regional School District shall not discriminate in the admission of any child on a basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, homelessness, ancestry, athletic performance, physical handicap, special need or academic performance of proficiency in the English language.
  4. Selection:
    a. If the number of non-resident students applying for acceptance to the Berkshire Hills Regional School District at any school or grade level exceeds the number of available slots, then the District shall accept students based on a lottery to be held in March.  The lottery will generate a list of students in order to be eligible for admission if slots are or become available.
    b. Any sibling of a student already choice enrolled in the Berkshire Hills Regional School District shall receive first priority admission if space is available.
  5. Exclusion of Students for Disciplinary Reasons (see M.G.L. Chapter 76, Section 12B(j):a.  A non-resident student shall not be accepted for admission to the Berkshire Hills Regional School District under School Choice if she/he has a poor disciplinary record. For purposes of this policy a poor disciplinary record shall be a record of having been suspended from school for a total of five or more days in the preceding school year, or for seven or more days in the preceding two school years, whether such suspensions were served consecutively or cumulatively if the offenses were for reasons that would have received suspensions within the Berkshire Hills Regional School District.b.  A non-resident student shall not be accepted for admission to the Berkshire Hills Regional School District under School Choice if she/he has a poor attendance record. For purposes of this policy, a poor attendance record shall be a record of having unexcused absences from school for a total of five or more days in the preceding school year, or for seven or more days in the preceding two years.c.  The restriction stated herein shall not be understood to deny any legal right, entitlement, or benefit that is otherwise available to a student who has an individualized educational plan (IEP) or a Section 504 accommodation plan.
  6. Other Considerations:a.  A non-resident shall not be accepted for admission in the Berkshire Hills Regional School District under School Choice if she/he has been or is expelled or suspended pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 37H or M.G.L. Chapter 71, Section 37H ½.b.  The restriction stated herein shall not be understood to deny any legal right, entitlement, or benefit that is otherwise available to a student who has an individualized educational plan (IEP) or a Section 504 accommodation plan.
  7. Transitions/Relocation – Students that move out of the District (Great Barrington, Stockbridge and West Stockbridge) during the course of the school year, may be permitted to finish that school year based on space availability.  Those students/families/guardians may then choose to reapply for admission to the Berkshire Hills Regional School District under School Choice.  Students will be considered for admission based on the lottery process described above.  No preference in admission will be given to former District students.
  8. Severability – In the event that any portion of this policy is found to be unenforceable by a court or other body of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this policy shall remain in full force and effect until amended or repealed by the School Committee.

LEGAL REFS:         M.G.L. 71:37H, 37H½; 76:12B
Adoption Date:  7/2003, revised: 2/6/14
 1st Reading:    2/20/14   2nd Reading:  3/6/14:  Approved:  3/6/14
Berkshire Hills Regional School District