School Choice FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Clay County School System Controlled Open Enrollment Plan 

Q: What is Controlled Open Enrollment? 

A: The Florida Legislature passed a law requiring School Boards to adopt a policy that gives parents and students the ability to seek enrollment in a school other than their zoned school of attendance.(§1002.31, Florida Statutes)

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Q: Who is eligible to participate in Controlled Open Enrollment? 

A: Under § 1002.31, Florida Statutes, the district school board shall allow a parent from any district in the state whose child is not subject to a current expulsion or suspension to enroll his or her child in and transport his or her child to any public school that has not reached capacity in the district, subject to available capacity. 

Q: Where do I find the list of schools that have not reached capacity? 

A: Visit the District’s website at click on Parents and click on Open Enrollment.

Q: Is transportation provided? 

A: No. Transportation is the responsibility of the parent/legal guardian. Parents can pursue transportation  funds through Florida Department of Education Scholarships.  Visit FDOE’s website for more information.

Q: How do I apply for my child to attend a school under Controlled Open Enrollment? 

A: Parents/legal guardians must complete an online application from by clicking on the Open Enrollment link.  A parent/guardian who is unable to electronically complete an application may obtain a printed copy through the School District’s central office or school site. All applications sent via mail must be received by the last day of the initial Controlled Open Enrollment window or the application will not be included in the initial lottery. All applications received after the initial window will be put on a waitlist in the order they are received.

Q: Can I apply for COE mid-year? 

A: Yes, open seats at COE schools will be posted on the website throughout the school year. After the initial lottery, all applicants are put on a waitlist in the order received.

Q: What happens if there are more requests to attend a school than there are available seats? 

A: Florida law requires districts to give priority to the following students ranked equally: 

A lottery will be used to determine which students will be granted assignments if there are more applicants than student stations available. In the event that all students in a-d are assigned to the school, and there are still remaining seats, those seats will be assigned to out-of-county applicants on a lottery basis.

Q: If my child is selected in the lottery to attend a school under Controlled Open Enrollment, what steps must I take to confirm his or her enrollment? 

A: Once notified of a lottery selection for an available seat, the parent/guardian must register the student in the specified school within ten (10) business days of receiving notification to accept the seat. If seats re-open due to a declined selection, the student with the next number in the lottery will be notified and offered the seat. 

Q: Does the waiting list carry over to the next school year? 

A: No. Parents will need to reapply annually if a seat does not become available for the requested year.

Q: If my child is on a waiting list, what are the ways in which they could be assigned a seat? 

A: If a student who received a seat in a lottery does not claim that seat, or if it is rescinded due to the failure of the parent/guardian providing required documentation, the seat will be reassigned to the first student on the waiting list. If space in the requested grade level becomes available, the parent/guardian of the next student on the waitlist will be notified.

Q: Will siblings receive a preference under COE? How will the preference work? Do I submit one application per family, or per student?

 A: Applications with a verified sibling priority shall be noted and maintained in a separate sibling list. Placement of siblings within the same school is facilitated whenever feasible if appropriate educational services are available for each sibling at the requested school. You may submit one application per student, per school. 

Q: If one sibling already attends a school that is at capacity, will another sibling be automatically allowed to attend the same school if the school is not in our attendance zone? 

A: No. A new sibling will not automatically be assigned to a school that is at or above capacity. 

Q: If my child has an IEP is he/she eligible to apply for COE?

 A: Yes, your child may apply, but if they are accepted, an IEP Team will convene to determine whether the student’s needs can be adequately addressed and to ensure the IEP can be implemented at the chosen school. If not, the student will not be enrolled, but placed at the appropriate school based on their attendance zone or appropriate placement for services if they are a resident of Clay County. Students residing in another county, whom the District is not able to serve, will be expected to enroll in their home county.

Q: When/how will I be notified if my child has been assigned a seat?

A: Parents/guardians will receive notification via email indicating approval/denial of a seat assignment. Additionally, all schools will have a list of approved applicants after completion of the lottery process.

Q: Is COE available for Pre-K Programs? 

A: No. Since Pre-K Programs are not mandatory, COE options are not available for Pre-K students. 

Q: If my child attends a Pre-K program at a school, is he or she guaranteed a Kindergarten seat in the same school? 

A: Only if the student resides in that school’s attendance zone. Otherwise, the parent is required to submit a Controlled Open Enrollment application for Kindergarten.

Q: If I accept a seat for the upcoming school year and my child begins the school year, will he or she be able to return to our zoned school during the year? 

A: Yes. A parent/guardian has the option to return his or her child to a zoned school at any time. However, a student who has returned to his or her zoned school may not return to the Controlled Open Enrollment school for the rest of the school year and must reapply for a seat in that school and will be added to the waitlist. 

Q: If my child currently attends a school but moves to a different attendance zone or to another county, will his or her seat be forfeited under Controlled Open Enrollment? 

A: No. Your child may stay at the school through the highest grade offered. Transportation will be the responsibility of the parent/guardian.

Q: I am a current Clay County School District employee and my child is attending a school other than their zoned school, do I need to apply for COE to keep them at their school? 

A: No. Clay County School System employees may seek a renewal of their current transfer approval through the District’s School Services office. 

Q: How will COE impact the application process and enrollment criteria for Career Academies and other focused programs of choice in Clay County? 

A: There will be no impact to the current application process or programs of choice/career academies. In accordance with Florida Statute 1002.31 the District will maintain existing academic eligibility criteria for public school choice programs.

Q: Can my child participate in sports at the school they wish to enroll in? 

A: Yes. If your child is granted enrollment at a different school pursuant to open enrollment, they can participate in athletics. Please note any form of student athlete recruitment is still illegal under open enrollment. Please also note that students will not be eligible to participate in the same sport during the same academic year if they transfer mid-year due to hardship or other special pupil request besides open enrollment.