Sibley East considers limiting open enrollment


Because of space constraints, Sibley East is considering limiting the enrollment of nonresident students in each grade.

Sibley East’s Board of Education held the first reading of the proposed “Enrollment Of Nonresident Students” policy at its June meeting.

Sibley East administrators met to establish an enrollment cap for each grade and programs, based on space constraints. The proposed enrollment cap is as follows: Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) – 18; Kindergarten through Third Grade – 110 students per grade; Fourth through Sixth Grade – 115 students per grade; and Seventh through Twelfth Grade – 120 students per grade.

The model policy being considered by the district has been created by the Minnesota School Boards Association and Minnesota Association of School Administrators. The original policy was created in 1995 and revised in 2006.

The general policy states that applications for enrollment under the Enrollment Options (Open Enrollment) Law will be approved provided that acceptance of the application will not exceed the capacity of a program, class, grade level, or school building as established by school board resolution and provided that space is available for the applicant under enrollment cap standards established by school board policy or other directive; in considering the capacity of a grade level, the school district may only limit the enrollment of nonresident students to a number not less than the lesser of a) one percent of the total enrollment at each grade level in the school district; or b) the number of school district resident students at that grade level enrolled in a nonresident school district in accordance with Minnesota statutes; and the applicant is not otherwise excluded by action of the school district because of previous conduct in another school district.

The policy provides standards that may be used for rejection of an application. These standards include:

• Possessing a dangerous weapon, including a weapon, device, instruments, material, or substance, animate or inanimate, that is used for, or is readily capable of, causing death or serious bodily injury, with the exception of a pocket knife with a blade less than two and one-half inches in length, at school or a school function;

• Possessing or using an illegal drug at school or a school function;

• Selling or soliciting the sale of a controlled substance while at school or a school function; or

• Committing a third-degree assault involving assaulting another and inflicting substantial bodily harm.

Standards that may not be used for rejection of an application include the previous academic achievement of a student, athletic or extracurricular ability of a student, disabling conditions of a student, a student’s proficiency in the English language, the student’s district or residence, or previous disciplinary proceedings involving the student.

The policy allows for termination of enrollment of a nonresident student if the student meets the definition of a habitual truant, the student has been provided appropriate services for truancy and the student’s case has been referred to juvenile court. The school district may also terminate the enrollment of a nonresident student over 16 years of age if the student is absent without lawful excuse for one or more periods on 15 school days and has not lawfully withdrawn from school. A student who has not applied for and been accepted for open enrollment pursuant to this policy and does not otherwise meet residency requirements for enrollment may be terminated from enrollment and removed from school.

Elementary Principal Mari Lu Martens said that Sibley East’s Early Childhood Special Education program has been popular and the program receives applications from nonresident students to attend. Martens added that in past practice, if a child in one family is allowed to enroll, then Sibley East has also allowed the siblings to enroll.