Policy Details Page

Regulation 3131R
Transfers of District Resident Students

General Considerations for ALL Intra-District Transfers

Intra-district transfers (transfers of students who live within the boundaries of the Tacoma School District) may be granted under the following circumstances:

1.     A financial, educational, safety, or health condition affecting the student would be reasonably improved as a result of the      transfer;

2.     Attendance at another school in the District is more accessible to the parent’s/guardian's place of work or to the location of childcare; or

3.     There is some hardship or harmful condition affecting the student or the student’s immediate family which would be alleviated as a result of the transfer.

In determining whether to grant the application for any intra-district transfer, the following will be considered:

1.      Space is available in the grade level or classes at the building in which the student desires to be enrolled. The District reviews current enrollment, trends, projections, staffing levels, and programs when determining space available.

2.      Educational programs or services are available to improve the student’s condition as stated in requesting the transfer; and programming considerations will not result in the student’s transfer having a negative impact on any educational program. Such considerations may include, but are not limited to, class size, staffing, and level of available resources, including the availability and level of services or accommodations necessary to serve the student’s needs.

3.      Whether conditions should be placed on the granting of the transfer, such as compliance with any reasonable conditions regarding priority for participation in district programs of limited availability; continued academic effort; regular attendance; safe transportation, development of a safety support plan; and/or conforming to school disciplinary standards set forth in writing to the parent/guardian and/or student and the principal of the school of the students residence, or in District regulations.

Transfer requests, if granted, will only occur at the beginning of a new semester/trimester/quarter or at the start of a new school year, unless the transfer is district-initiated or extenuating circumstances exist.  Transfer requests, if approved, will not be implemented while the student has pending or active disciplinary actions, absent a transfer being a condition of a resolution of a disciplinary dispute or approved of by the Superintendent when granting a readmission petition.

A student who moves to a new attendance area in the District during the school year may elect to transfer at the time of the move or at the end of the semester or grading period. For a high school sophomore or junior, transfers may only be approved to coincide with the beginning of a new semester unless administered at the district level. A senior may elect to finish the school year without transferring to a new school.

Denial and Revocation of Transfer

A student’s continuing attendance at a transfer school may be discontinued during the school year if the conditions and restrictions under which the student was accepted changed. Prior to revocation, the principal or designee will confer with the parent/guardian to discuss the issues and expectations, and to determine a timeline for improvement. Those conditions and/or restrictions include:

a.     Parents/guardians do not assume responsibility for adequate and timely transportation and supervision of the student to and from school.

b.    The programs or services that would improve the student’s condition as stated in the application for request for transfer are unavailable.

c.     The continuing attendance of the student would now result in a programmatic or financial hardship for the district.

d.     The application for the transfer within the District contains any material misstatement of facts.

e.     A student fails to enroll in or withdraws from a program that was the basis for the waiver.

Before the transfer of such a student is terminated, a building administrator will notify the student and parent/guardian in writing that the student’s continued attendance at the school is in jeopardy. Should the decision be made to terminate the student’s transfer, the rescinding principal will coordinate the return transfer with the receiving principal and notify the parent/guardian in writing.


1.      Parent-Initiated Intra-District Transfer for the Current School Year

The transfer or assignment of students to a school other than their neighborhood school is determined by applying rational, fair and equitable standards.  Factors which may be considered in the assignment of students include, but are not limited to the following: 

A.    Current and projected enrollments and capacities;

B.     Impact on a school’s staffing and program;

C.     Availability of special programs, and

D.    School(s) which other student(s) in the household are attending.

E.     Safety of students and climate of school.

F.      Student maintains regular attendance at their current school.

G.    Parent/guardian agrees to provide or coordinate transportation to new school if approved

H.    Student does not have current exclusionary discipline.

Parent-initiated requests for intra-district transfers will be subject to the enrollment limitations listed above which allow for in-neighborhood growth.


A.    The parent/guardian completes, dates and signs a “Parent-Initiated Request for Student Transfer” form and submits it to the Enrollment Services office. Students are required to continue to attend their current school while the transfer request is being considered.

B.     The application is reviewed by the administrator of Enrollment Services or designee. The approval or denial of the application is determined the factors noted above.

C.     If the application is approved, the Enrollment Services office will notify the sending school of the transfer. The student’s receiving school will contact the family to schedule an enrollment appointment.

D.    If the application is denied, the Enrollment Services office will notify the parent/guardian as to the reason for the denial.

Once the parent/guardian initiated intra-district transfer is complete and the student is enrolled in the new school, that school becomes the student’s assigned school, and will follow that school’s feeder path(s).

Transportation to the new school is the responsibility of the parent/guardian or shall be provided in accordance with transportation regulations and guidelines as required by law. Families are responsible to provide or coordinate transportation to and from school. However, families may coordinate with the District’s Transportation Department and/or choice school to arrange to use an active bus stop for their choice enrolled school. Choice enrolled student ridership on an existing bus stop is on a space-available basis under protocols developed by the District’s Transportation Department. Parents/guardians are responsible for ensuring safe transport to and from the bus stop. Students must abide by all bus safety procedures, and failure to do so may result in bus suspension. 


 2.      Choice Enrollment for the Next School Year

A.    Parents/guardians making a request for intra-district transfer for the following school year must submit the application during the window to apply, opening in the fall and closing in the winter.  Specific dates will be posted annually.

B.     All applications are submitted electronically into the district’s online enrollment software system.  If a family is unable to access the application, the district’s Enrollment Services department will assist.  Once the application is closed for a school year it cannot be reopened.

C.       Parents/guardians will be notified in the spring if seats are available at the requested school.  All notifications will occur in email.

D.    If seats are not available at the requested school the student will be scheduled to return to their neighborhood school for the next school year. 

E.     Students who are accepted for Choice Enrollment will be accepted for the duration enrollment at that school unless revoked by the district per policy and regulation or rescinded by the parent/guardian.

F.      Once the Choice Enrollment is complete and the student is enrolled in the new school, that school becomes the student’s assigned school, and will follow that school’s feeder path(s).

G.    Upon approval of a transfer, transportation to and from school is the parent/guardian responsibility.

H.    The District shall grant transfer requests for students who are the children of certificated and classified school employees residing within the district as required under RCW 28A.225.270(2).

The school district will make every reasonable effort to create a stable, continuing educational environment for all students.

Criteria for Approval/Denial of Choice Enrollment Applications

1.      School’s enrollment will not exceed its operational capacity;

2.      Current fifth-grade Bryant and Geiger students are approved to attend Bryant Middle School;

If there are more applications for a particular building than space allows, the District may utilize a lottery process to determine the next year building assignment.


3.         District Initiated Intra-District Student Transfer

A.        Assignment by District Determination

The Tacoma School District reserves the right to assign students to attend particular schools or programs for certain specific reasons. These reasons include, but are not limited to,

1.     to provide appropriate programming for students with disabilities;

2.     to safeguard the health or safety of either the assigned student or others;

3.     to meet academic needs;

4.     to avoid or lesson program disruption;

5.     to establish a plan for reentry as a result of a suspension or expulsion;

6.      to mitigate an over-crowding issue when a school has reached its capacity to serve student already enrolled;

7.      to otherwise meet District or student needs.

It is recognized that these exceptional assignments for certain students are only to be made for good reason. Any student or parent/guardian who disagrees with the District assignment to other than the student’s resident attendance area school may appeal the assignment to the superintendent or designee.

The superintendent’s designee may initiate a transfer of a student to another school under rare circumstances when the needs of the district so require.  Examples of situations that may warrant a district-initiated transfer include, but are not limited to the case of a school, having reached its capacity to serve the students already enrolled, requiring all students new to the school’s attendance zone to attend a different school; or a school, having been damaged due to a factor(s) beyond the district’s control, requiring the re-assignment of all or a portion of the school’s students to another site.


Upon approval by the Superintendent, the principal(s) and parent/guardian(s) affected by the transfer shall be notified of the change in school assignment.

1.    Students affected by the district-initiated transfer may be allowed to re-enroll in the school when the circumstance leading to the transfer has been alleviated. The District may delay the re-enrollment to coincide with naturally-occurring instructional breaks (e.g., end of grading periods, end of semesters, new school years, etc.), after consultation with the sending and receiving principals.

2.     A student who is re-assigned a different school as a result of a District-initiated transfer will be provided transportation in accordance with the district’s transportation rules.

B.        Program Initiated

Program Executive Directors, Directors, and Assistant Directors may initiate a transfer of a student to another school when the student’s individual needs require special consideration in school building assignment. Examples of situations that warrant such consideration include, but are not limited to cases in where a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 team has identified that the student needs an educational services or accommodations that are not available at every school building; circumstances where language support in the student’s native language is not available at every school building; or instances where a transfer of a student from their current school is necessary by virtue of a court order.


1.      The appropriate program Executive Director, Director, and/or Assistant Director should arrange a conference with the student’s parent/guardian to discuss the proposed transfer and possible assignments. The factors which should be considered in assigning students should be fully explained to the parent/guardian and are limited to the availability of school buildings that offer the services necessary to meet the student’s individual needs. This meeting is not a substitute for an IEP or 504 team meeting, and cannot change the educational placement (i.e. the identification of services and/or accommodations) of a student.  It is instead about school building assignment consistent with existing decisions related to educational placement. 

2.      The appropriate program Executive Director, Director, and/or Assistant Director is responsible for contacting both the sending school and the possible receiving school to determine the feasibility and appropriateness of a proposed change in school assignment. Prior to approving the release (receipt) of a student, the sending (receiving) principal may request a conference which may include the parent/guardian, the program manager, a caseworker (if assigned), the student, and any other relevant district personnel. 

3.      The appropriate program Executive Director, Director, and/or Assistant Director shall document the facts and reasons for the transfer of school assignment using the Student Transfer Authorization form and shall notify the sending principal to release the student for transfer to the receiving school. A copy of the form will be provided to the parents/guardians, as well as receiving school. The original shall be placed in the student’s cumulative folder prior to the student leaving the sending school.  The sending school shall forward the student’s cumulative folder upon request of the receiving school.

4.      A student who is assigned a specific school or program as a result of a program-initiated transfer will be provided transportation in accordance with the District’s transportation rules.

Approval Date: 5/12/2004

Revised Date: 9/29/2020, 4/16/2024

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