There is a limited time to switch Manatee County students from one school to another, and that time is quickly approaching.
School choice begins in January and runs through March, with various deadlines for elementary, middle and high school students. The process is specifically for enrollment in the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.
It’s the only time parents can request a transfer without providing a reason.
Applications are accepted between Jan. 7 and Jan. 18 for high school students, between Feb. 4 and Feb. 15 for middle school students or between March 4 and March 15 for elementary students, according to a news release from the school district.
Applications are available at all schools, along with the Office of Student Assignment, 1400 First Ave. E., in Palmetto. The office is located across the street from Palmetto Head Start.
Parents can also download the school choice applications by visiting manateeschools.net, clicking on “Parents and Students” and then navigating to the “School Choice” tab.
“School Choice decisions may be of particular interest to parents of students moving from elementary to middle school, and from middle to high school because of the variety of magnet themes and academy programs offered at district schools,” the release states.
While students entering ninth or 10th grade can use the choice program to apply for any public high school, students entering 11th and 12th grade are required to apply through the hardship process to switch from their assigned school, according to the release.
All applicants are required to present the student’s certified birth certificate and social security number.
Manatee will verify that online submissions were made by the “enrolling parent of record,” comparing the email address to the district’s student information system. The district requires a notary for submissions made in person or by mail.
Choice options are limited to specific regions or clusters for elementary and middle school students, as are the transportation options.
The district may transport students who live more than two miles from their choice-approved school, and who live within specific regions or clusters.
Hub transportation is available countywide for students enrolled in International Baccalaureate or Advanced International Certificate of Education programs. Hubs are centralized locations where parents can drop off their children, who are then transported by bus.
“For further information on school choice options available through the School District of Manatee County, please contact the Office of Student Assignment at 708-4971 or via email at StudentAssignment@ManateeSchools.net,” the news release states.