School Choice

The following timeline applies to the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 2015. 

January 1 - May 1: In accordance with Act 490 of 2021 (codified at Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1905(a)), the window period for applicant filing and school districts accepting school choice applications for the 2023-2024 school year begins on January 1, 2023, and runs through May 1, 2023. Each school district must have a policy stating the methods by which an application may be submitted to the school district, but in no event may the district require that an application be submitted in person.  

Applicants must submit school choice applications to the nonresident district and the student's resident district. The application must be delivered or postmarked no later than May 1 of the calendar year in which the student seeks to begin the fall semester at the nonresident district. However, if a student has a parent or guardian who is an active-duty member of the military who has been transferred to and resides on a military base, and who provides military transfer orders and documentation that confirms the date of transfer to and residence on the military base, then the student's application for a transfer is not subject to the May 1 deadline. Instead, the applicant must file an application for a transfer within fifteen (15) days of the parent or guardian's arrival on the military base and must include the above documents.  

Upon receipt of a school choice application, both the resident district and nonresident district shall place a date and time stamp on the application that reflects the date and time each district received the application. The nonresident district shall review and make a determination on each application in the order in which the application was received by the nonresident district.  

By July 1: The superintendent of the nonresident district shall notify each applicant and the applicant's resident district in writing as to whether the application has been accepted or rejected. Before approving or rejecting any application, a nonresident district shall determine whether any limitations under Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1906 apply to the application and whether the resident district has met its numerical net maximum limit on school choice transfers under Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1906. Ark. Code Ann. § 6-18-1906(b) establishes a numerical net maximum limit on school choice transfers each school year from a school district of three percent (3%) of the enrollment of the school district as of October 15 of the immediately preceding school year. The attached document shows the total enrollment for each district and the number of students representing the three percent (3%) of total enrollment.

If an applicant has been rejected due to the numerical net maximum limit prior to the July 1 deadline, then the applicant shall retain priority for a transfer until July 1, being reconsidered if the resident district is no longer at the numerical net maximum limit. The resident district shall promptly notify the nonresident district when it is no longer at its numerical net maximum limit.