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Ely, Attorney
Category: Education Law
Satisfied Customers: 102601
Experience:  Attorney in general practice,
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State Public School matter My daughter was selected

Customer Question

Washington State Public School matter My daughter was selected (based on her test scores) to attend a program for highly capable children which began in 2nd grade at a designated school outside our neighborhood. She is a gifted child, highly intelligent, high academic performance, involved in many positive activities at school plus extracurricular pursuits like Girl Scouts. She is now in 5th grade and has bonded during the past four years with her highly capable peers in elementary school.

Next year, they transition to middle school. She is one of few if any other children who will not get to attend the same middle school as her friends because we do not live in the designated neighborhood. We applied for a variance, permission for her to attend the same school as all her friends/peers. Personnel hinted it would work out, but we received the letter today stating our request was denied because there is no room at the school.

There must be a little room, because students who move to the school district midyear will certainly be given a spot, though I understand the point is that they have to set numerical limits. The neighborhood is higher income than ours, and we can not really afford to move in-district. It seems unfair, sigh, which.... has nothing to do with anything except that as a mother it is sad and frustrating.

I am going to write an appeal letter but I am realistic- a full school is a "full" school and they don't have enough leeway very likely to reverse their decision. I want to cite the adverse emotional/social impact it will have on her, for starters. She already left her friends once, in first grade, to join this program, which was a tough decision, and to have to do it again... seems like quite an obstacle for her. She is deeply attached to those classmates and has been quite upset at the prospect of having to part from them.

My legal question is: do you have any material, whether strategies or processes, by which to improve the very low odds of her getting to attend the school. I suppose there is little to the argument that we're at a financial disadvantage to afford a home in that neighborhood, or that it's not in the student's best interest to be moved from a school once and then moved once again because of how the district segregates the brightest children, but... I'm here to make sure nothing more can be done. Thank you.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Education Law
Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

Okay, I understand the facts of the situation. What are you asking here, i.e. what is your question?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

"My legal question is: do you have any material, whether strategies or processes, by which to improve the very low odds of her getting to attend the school."

Expert:  Ely replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. Unfortunately, no. The fact that she has bonded with her fellow classmates does not really help her in claiming a spot in school.

Public schools work off zoning. If a child lives in a certain area, then they are zoned to a specific school. There is no right to change that. The only way a child can go to another public school is if they transfer there via a special "magnet" program based for gifted students, which is based solely on academic achievement which the school calculates going off her grade and any testing for the school. Otherwise, there is no legal process by which to force the issue or claim an advantage. I am sorry.

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