Colorado, Arizona Lawmakers Reject Open-Enrollment Bills
Lawmakers in Colorado and Arizona have rejected legislation that would have allowed students to enroll in any school district in their state.
In Colorado, the House voted 38 to 26 on March 30 against an open-enrollment bill sponsored by Representative Jeanne Faatz of Denver. It was similar to a measure rejected during last year's session.
Districts would not have been required to accept transfer students under the measure. Students eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches would have received free transportation, and students at risk of dropping out would have been given preference in districts with limited numbers of open spaces.
A bill still pending in the Senate would require schools seeking waivers from state regulations for restructuring projects to adopt open-enrollment policies.
Arizona's House education committee, meanwhile, has rejected a Senate-approved open-enrollment bill. That measure included provisions designed to maintain racial balance in schools. A similar bill died in the legislature last year.
And in a related development, the Minnesota House has passed a bill addressing some of the logistical problems that have surfaced during implementation of the state's ground-breaking open-enrollment law.
The bill would require students to make a final choice of a district by Feb. 15. Transfer students would have to agree to remain in their new school for at least one year.
The bill also restricts the athletic eligibility of most transferring students, and requires them to meet with a school counselor before making their choices.--mw, ef, & ws