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When Is It Too Late to Enroll My Child in School?

We know -- summer is here. Which means you and your family are in the throes of summer vacation. But if you happen to be moving this summer or you have a child about to start kindergarten, you're probably already looking forward to next school year. And if you haven't registered your child for public school or applied for private school yet, you may already be too late.

Lucky for you, many schools and school districts have late registration periods, so you might be able to get your child in school before the fall rolls around. Here's what you need to know to get ready for school and get your child enrolled.

Deadlines and Lifelines

While exact dates will vary depending on where you live, many public-school districts begin registering for the fall school year in early spring. Enrollment can begin in March or April in most districts, with some starting as early as February. That said, those districts will often have a late application period for newcomers or those who missed the early enrollment deadline. For instance:

  • Los Angeles Unified School District has open enrollment for K-12 schools from April to May, with placements announced in June. But there is a late application process beginning mid-June, with school contacting parents directly if space is available.
  • Boston Public Schools begins priority registration for kindergarten, 6th, 7th, and 9th grades in January, and all others in February. While families can register through June, they are not guaranteed to keep the current school year school placement for next school year.
  • Fort Wayne Community Schools conducts early registration for kindergarten students in March, but also has a regular registration in August as well.

Many families need to move school districts in the middle of the year, and each district may have its own rules for transferring. Additionally, private school application processes and deadlines can vary significantly, so consult the school regarding enrollment details.

Where to Enroll

Public schools are generally assigned by your address, so that students will attend the age-appropriate school closest to them. School districts may allow parents to apply for a different school, but will probably decline to offer transportation. And beware using a relative's address to enroll your child in a different school -- that is likely school enrollment fraud and can be costly.

If you're having trouble getting your child into school, an experienced education attorney is only a click or call away.

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