A public school must enroll any school-aged child who lives in that school district, including homeless students and undocumented immigrants. A child’s residence refers to which school district they live in. Their residence is usually the same as their parent’s. If the child lives with a qualified adult who is not their parent, then the residency of the qualified adult is the child's residence. A child can’t have more than one residence at a time.
A qualified adult is someone who is:
- A legal parent
- A legal guardian
- A short-term guardian
- An adult relative who gets public aid for the student and who the student lives with, or
- An adult who has taken legal responsibility for the student and provides the student with a regular, fixed, nighttime home.
You don’t need a court order of guardianship to sign children up for school. It is illegal for a school to tell you that they can’t enroll your child without a legal document stating you are the guardian. If you’re at least 18 years old and the child lives with you, the school must enroll them as long as they didn’t move in with you just to attend the school. Your child doesn’t have to live in a school district for any amount of days, weeks, or months to establish residency.
Once enrolled in the district, your child has the right to finish out the school year at the same school, even if you or your child moves to another district.