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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Experienced Education Law Attorney
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My name is ***** ***** I live in Pinellas County, Florida.

Customer Question

Hi
My name is ***** ***** I live in Pinellas County, Florida.
We bought a house couple of months ago and we waited until closing to enroll our son to the zoned school.
We were told that there is no problem if we wait because if he is zoned to a school e will get in
2 weeks ago we were told that we cannot enroll him at the zoned school because there is no more space.
We were suggested to try to enroll him in a different school that is not even close to our house and we don't want to do this.
We are new in the county and our son is supposed to start kindergarten in August.
Any suggestions about how to approach this?
We were told that in this area there is a condominium with too many children in an appartament, more than the legal number, an this is what causes the problem.
Is it fair for our son to be left out of his zoned school?
We were also told that they are trying to find a solution (2 teachers /classroom) but this is not a sure thing as there are other departments (Fire Commandment) that have to approve
Also, can you please tell me whet the law says in this situation? Is it mandatory for a zoned school to enroll all the zoned children, no matter what?
Can we request a list with the enrolled children so that we can check if they all are "legally" zoned to that school?
Any advice will be appreciated
Thank you
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question, Alina. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.
Let me respond first on what you can and cannot do. You cannot demand lists of other students--you are not entitled to their information (as that information is ultimately private and confidential), and you have no right or ability to enforce the rules. The rules are enforced by the county and they are the ones who can remove students if they are not properly zoned.
But what you can use is their own code pertaining to what has to happen for a student to be enrolled 'out of zone'. I have been reviewing the code (which I will link you to below), and I do not see 'overcrowding' as an option. Likewise, I see consent on part of the parent as a requirement, so you can contact them with the code below and request placement by stating that you do not consent to relocation:
http://www.neola.com/collier-fl/search%5Cpolicies/po5120.htm
Sincerely,
Dimitry, Esq.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your replyThe link that you send me is for Collier County. is it the same for Pinellas County?Let's say that all the children that are enrolled in the zoned school have the legal right to be there, what can I do for my son? What if they cannot approve 2 teachers/class, do I have to take my son to a different school?The schools that they suggested are far away (3-6 miles and have low ratings) while the zoned school is almost across the street and is the best in the area. We bought the house for this specific reasonThank you
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi and thank you for your follow-up. You are most welcome, as far as it being the wrong county, let me search and see what I find before I post a full response. Please allow me a few moments please.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi and thank you for your patience.
For Pinellas county the answer is somewhat less favorable. This is the link directly to their standards, and also to how they evaluate student placement. There, unfortunately, they focus on space availability for anyone 'new' coming in. Since you just moved in, you are treated as 'new', and they can then place your child elsewhere:
http://pcsb.schoolwires.net/cms/lib8/FL01903687/Centricity/Domain/173/Student_Assignment_Policy_5120_2013-14_Approved_9-24-13.pdf
(6) Student Assignment Process
General
Students are assigned to schools based upon their acceptance to a District application program,
placement in their zoned or space available school, or special program. The timeline for assignments will
be announced each year.
A. Students in Kindergarten, Grade 6, and Grade 9 shall be assigned to their zoned
school. Students in other grades who are new to the District, as well as those students
who have a change in residence will be assigned to their zoned school based on
space availability. If space is not available at the zoned school, the student will be
assigned to another school in the transportation cluster on a space available basis.
-----------
I see that the notice is from two years ago but I do not see anything newer and I suspect that the same rules still apply. Then the only remaining option is to contact the superintendent of the district and see if the individual can help and potentially move your child to the school regardless of space concerns.
Sincerely,
Dimitry, Esq.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, but there says " Students in Kindergarten, Grade 6, and Grade 9 shall be assigned to their zoned
school". My son will start kindergarten so this applies to himFor students who are new to the district and they are OTHER grades.
" Students in other grades who are new to the District, as well as those students
who have a change in residence will be assigned to their zoned school based on
space availability."
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your patience.
Hi, while I see your point ultimately the school has a duty to ensure that it is able to accommodate the students based on volume (as having too many students might even violate the fire code of the building). On that basis the school can assign, temporarily, to a new location. As stated, you can still appeal directly to the superintendent but it appears that they can re-assign if there is no space or no resources. Speaking from personal experience if you respectfully ***** ***** superintendent and request help, far more often then not they will agree and permit your child to be enrolled where you seek, so I strongly urge you to try that option.
Sincerely,
Dimitry, Esq.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes, I contacted the Student assignment director and he is trying to find a solution but at the same time, he is suggesting to enroll him in a different schoolI just wanted to check the legal aspect of this matter
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Hi, I can understand that, truly. But legally they are correct and they can choose to place the child elsewhere if they simply have no resources at the closest zoned location, and yes, they can still treat him as 'new' until they are able to find adequate space for him. I just wish I had better news but you cannot force them to enroll your child if they are claiming lack of space. That is why going through the superintendent would be prudent. Sincerely, ***** *****