COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 170

August 27, 2004

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Enrollment Requirements

 

As the 2004-2005 school year begins, I want to take the opportunity to provide you with information regarding changes in enrollment requirements made by the 2004 General Assembly, and remind you of some other requirements.

 

House Bill 1443, sponsored by Delegate Viola Baskerville, and passed by the 2004 General Assembly, amended 22.1-3 of the Code of Virginia regarding persons to whom public schools shall be free by adding a section regarding children of military personnel who are deployed outside the United States. This code section provides that the public schools in each school division shall be free to each person of school age who resides within the school division. Every person of school age who meets one of the listed criteria in this section is deemed to reside within the school division. The amendment added a residency requirement for a student who is living with an individual who is defined as a parent, not solely for school purposes, pursuant to a Special Power of Attorney executed under Title 10, United States Code, 1044b, by the custodial parent while such custodial parent is deployed outside the United States as a member of the Virginia National Guard or as a member of the United States Armed Forces. These students are now deemed also to reside within the school division and may attend school free of tuition.

 

HB 1443 also amended 22.1-5 of the Code of Virginia, which prescribes the conditions under which students may be admitted into the public schools of a division and charged tuition at the discretion of the school division. This code section was amended during the 2004 General Assembly session to add a provision regarding children of deployed military personnel. This provision states:

 

Further, no person of school age shall be denied admission or charged tuition when (i) such persons custodial parent has been deployed outside the United States as a member of the Virginia National Guard or as a member of the United States Armed Forces; (ii) such persons custodial parent has executed a Special Power of Attorney under Title 10, United States Code, 1044b providing for the care of the person of school age by an individual who is defined as a parent in 22.1-1 during the time of his deployment outside the United States; and (iii) such person has been attending a public school in this Commonwealth while residing with his custodial parent. The person of school age shall be allowed to attend a school in the school division in which the individual providing for his care, pursuant to the Special Power of Attorney under Title 10, United States Code, 1044b, resides or, when practicable, to continue to attend the school in which he was enrolled while residing with his custodial parent.

 

Pursuant to these Code provisions, children of school age who meet these requirements must be admitted.

 

Homeless Students

 

SB 270, sponsored by Senator Frederick Quayle, and passed by the 2004 General Assembly, amended the Code of Virginia in regard to the education of homeless children. It requires school divisions to comply with the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001, as amended. School divisions must coordinate the provision of services to homeless students with relevant local social services agencies and other agencies and programs providing services to such students, and with other school divisions. Superintendents cannot exclude from school attendance those homeless children who do not provide the requisite health or immunization information required of other students. School divisions must immediately refer the student to the school division liaison required to assist the student in obtaining necessary physical examinations or proof or completion of immunizations.

 

Social Security Numbers

 

In 2003, the Virginia General Assembly amended 22.1-260 of the Code of Virginia, which requires that parents provide school divisions with a social security number for each student at the time of enrollment in school. This code section was amended to permit a superintendent or his designee to assign another identifying number or waive the requirement if a parent is unwilling to present a social security number for the child. This information, along with additional requirements that govern requests for social security numbers, was shared with you via Superintendents Memorandum No. 92, Informational, on May 30, 2003. Please refer to that Superintendents Memorandum for that additional information.

 

Residency

 

On August 26, 2003, I sent a message via electronic mail to all division superintendents reminding them of the provisions of 22.1-3 Code of Virginia regarding residency. As noted in that message, a student is deemed to be a resident of a school division if he or she is living with a natural parent. A court order or proof of custody is not a requirement for the enrollment of these students.

 

Questions continue to be raised regarding a local school boards authority to inquire into a prospective students citizenship or visa status and to bar enrollment to those students who reside within the school division but do not hold a student visa. Information regarding the enrollment of undocumented students was shared with you via Superintendents Memorandum No. 159, Informational, on November 2, 2001. This memorandum clarified that school divisions are not permitted to inquire into a prospective students citizenship or visa status in order to enroll the student. School divisions are required to accept students who meet the residency requirements under

22.1-3 of the Code of Virginia and may not deny a free public education to undocumented school-age children who reside within their jurisdictions because they do not hold valid United States citizenship or a student visa.

 

If you have any questions regarding these requirements for enrollment, please contact Michelle Vucci, director of policy, at (804) 371-0558 or mvucci@pen.k12.va.us.

 

JLD/MJP/jcj