Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–1802.06. Student admission, enrollment, and withdrawal.

(a) Open enrollment. — Enrollment in a public charter school shall be open to all students who are residents of the District of Columbia and, if space is available, to nonresident students who meet the tuition requirement in subsection (e) of this section.

(b) Criteria for admission. — A public charter school may not limit enrollment on the basis of a student’s race, color, religion, national origin, language spoken, intellectual or athletic ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, or status as a student with special needs. A public charter school may limit enrollment to specific grade levels.

(c) Random selection. — If there are more applications to enroll in a public charter school from students who are residents of the District of Columbia than there are spaces available, students shall be admitted using a random selection process; except, that a preference in admission may be given to an applicant who is a:

(1) Sibling of a student already attending or selected for admission to the public charter school in which the applicant is seeking enrollment;

(2) Child of a member of the public charter school’s founding board; provided, that enrollment of such children is limited to no more than 10% of the school’s total enrollment or to 20 students, whichever is less; and

(3) Child of a full-time employee of the public charter school who is a District resident; provided, that enrollment of such children is limited to no more than 10% of the school’s total enrollment.

(c-1) Random selection special education. —

(1) If there are more applications to enroll in a public charter school from students who are residents of the District of Columbia than there are spaces available, students shall be admitted in accordance with subsection (c) of this section; provided, that with the prior approval of the Public Charter School Board, a preference in admission may also be given to an applicant with an IEP or an applicant in a disability category pursuant to IDEA, in order to facilitate the planning, development, and maintenance of high quality special education programs in the District of Columbia.

(2) A public charter school seeking to establish a preference for admission under this subsection shall apply to the Public Charter School Board no later than July 1 of the year before the proposed effective date of the lottery preference.

(3) In reviewing an application by a public charter school to establish a preference for admission under this subsection, the Public Charter School Board shall ensure that the proposed preference will increase educational opportunities for, and not adversely impact, students with disabilities.

(4) In approving an application by a public charter school to establish a preference for admission under this subsection, the Public Charter School Board shall make publicly available a written document that specifies the preference established and the reasons for granting the preference.

(c-2) Authorization of a preference for children of active duty members of the United States Armed Forces. —

(1) The Public Charter School Board ("PCSB") shall have the authority to approve a petition or application for a public charter school that gives a preference for admission to children of active duty members of the United States Armed Forces; provided, that PCSB may not permit more than one public charter school with such a preference to operate at the same time.

(2) A public charter school seeking to establish a preference for admission under this subsection shall:

(A) Request the preference for admission in a petition for approval filed pursuant to § 38-1802.01, an application for renewal filed pursuant to § 38-1802.12, or in a manner otherwise provided by PCSB; and

(B) Be located in the same ward as a United States military base.

(3) In reviewing an application submitted pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, PCSB shall consider whether granting the preference provided under this subsection is consistent with the mission, goals, and instructional methods of the petitioner or applicant and the need for the proposed school in the geographic area of the school site.

(4) A preference approved under this subsection shall apply to no more than half of the public charter school’s seats.

(5) This subsection shall not limit the ability of a school that establishes a preference for admission under this subsection to participate in a common lottery system established pursuant to § 38-194.

(d) Admission to an existing school. —

(1) A District of Columbia public school that has been approved to be converted to a charter school under § 38-1802.01 shall give priority in enrollment to:

(A) Students enrolled in the school at the time the petition is granted;

(B) The siblings of students described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph; and

(C) Students who reside within the attendance boundaries, if any, in which the school is located.

(2) A private or independent school that has been approved to be converted to a charter school under § 38-1802.01 may give priority in enrollment to the persons described in paragraph (1)(A) and (1)(B) of this subsection for a period of 5 years, beginning on the date its petition is approved.

(e) Nonresident students. — Nonresident students shall pay tuition to attend a public charter school at the applicable rate established for District of Columbia public schools administered by the Board of Education for the type of program in which the student is enrolled.

(f) Student withdrawal. — A student may withdraw from a public charter school at any time and, if otherwise eligible, enroll in a District of Columbia public school administered by the Board of Education.

(g) Expulsion and suspension. –

(1) A public charter school shall comply with §§ 38-236.03 through 38-236.05.

(2) The principal of a public charter school may expel or suspend a student from the school based on criteria set forth in the charter granted to the school, consistent with §§ 38-236.04, 38-236.05, and 38-273.03.


(Apr. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 1321 [242], Pub. L. 104-134, § 2206; Nov. 29, 1999, 113 Stat. 1526, Pub. L. 106-113, § 156; Oct. 19, 2000, D.C. Law 13-172, § 2503(c), 47 DCR 6308; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-268, § 4(d), 54 DCR 833; Feb. 26, 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, § 4032, 61 DCR 9990; Mar. 10, 2015, D.C. Law 20-196, § 102(c), 61 DCR 12425; May 12, 2016, D.C. Law 21-106, § 2, 63 DCR 4309; July 26, 2016, D.C. Law 21-140, § 3, 63 DCR 8207; Aug. 25, 2018, D.C. Law 22-157, § 3(c), 65 DCR 7499.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-2853.16.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 38-273.02.

Effect of Amendments

Section 156 of Public Law 106-113 added at the end of subsec. (c) “, except that a preference in admission may be given to an applicant who is a sibling of a student already attending or selected for admission to the public charter school in which the applicant is seeking enrollment.”

Section 2503(c) of D.C. Law 13-172 amended subsection (d)(1).

D.C. Law 16-268, in subsec. (c), inserted “or to an applicant who is a child of a member of the public charter school’s founding board, so long as enrollment of founders’ children is limited to no more than 10% of the school’s total enrollment or to 20 students, whichever is less” following “in which the applicant is seeking enrollment”.

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-155 rewrote (c).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-196 added (c-1).

The 2016 amendment by D.C. Law 21-106 added (c-2).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3 of School Attendance Clarification Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-476, July 21, 2016, 63 DCR 10181).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3 of School Attendance Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-410, June 1, 2016, 63 DCR 8202).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 2503(c) of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-376, July 24, 2000, 47 DCR 6574).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2503(c) of the Fiscal Year 2001 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-438, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 8740).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4032 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-377, July 14, 2014, 61 DCR 7598, 20 STAT 3696).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4032 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-449, October 10, 2014, 61 DCR 10915, 20 STAT 4188).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 4032 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Support Second Congressional Review Emergency Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-566, January 9, 2015, 62 DCR 884, 21 STAT 541).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Public Charter School Priority Enrollment Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-26, Mar. 27, 2015, 62 DCR 4525, 21 DCSTAT 860).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2 of the Public Charter School Priority Enrollment Temporary Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Law 21-3, June 4, 2015, 62 DCR 4556).