Common Questions and Impact on Rockwall ISD

What does Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment mean in Rockwall ISD?

Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment is a term that is used to define a public school district’s ability to accept applications for enrollment from students who reside outside of the district’s boundaries.

Will I need to pay tuition for my child to attend Rockwall ISD schools in the Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment Program?

Yes. Students who are accepted through the Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment Program will be required to pay $5,000 Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment tuition per year.

Why is Rockwall ISD implementing a Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment process for the 2016-2017 school year? 

We believe that Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment will help us accomplish multiple goals:

  • The district does not generate new revenue from the state unless there is additional student growth.
  • Generate new revenue for the school district for each additional Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment student accepted; however, seats available for enrollment in the Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment Program will be limited.
  • Allow access to Rockwall ISD education for students who live on the edges of our boundaries to potentially attend school near their friends and neighbors

Does Rockwall ISD have room to add more students? 

No new secondary students (Grades 7-12) will be considered for the 2016-2017 school year due to the enrollment at our secondary campuses. Because we have some limited space at the elementary level, applications will be considered until we reach our maximum number of students that we can enroll in this program.  It will not cost us to add students.  However, we will get additional state revenue from the students’ attendance.

How does this program benefit me as a taxpayer?

It adds state revenue to the district. The district will receive additional funds from the State of Texas for the attendance of the out-of-district students.

Why should I have to pay taxes if non-residents can go to school for free?

Local taxes do not fully support Rockwall ISD. Nearly half of the district’s budget is funded by the state. All students are eligible for a free education in Texas. Allowing other students to attend actually brings dollars into the district, rather than take them away. They will pay for themselves and then some.

Will allowing non-resident students from outside Rockwall ISD cause my taxes to increase? 

No. By filling empty seats, Rockwall ISD will receive additional state revenue from the students’ attendance.

Are there any downsides to this program? 

Students coming from outside of the district must meet our stated standards for attendance, academics, and behavior; otherwise they will be removed from the district. There may be some costs associated with the administration and coordination of bringing in additional students.

Will this cause overcrowding in our schools?

Because of the limited number of students being considered for the 2015-2016 school year, Rockwall ISD will only allow Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment students to attend schools where there is room in the building and the grade level/program. Rockwall ISD will continue to maintain the state’s mandated 22:1 ratio for Kindergarten through 4th Grade. The district will always maintain a buffer for families who may move into the district during the school year.

Will this cause additional transportation costs? 

Any student who requests and accepts a transfer to a school other than the one in his or her home attendance zone will be required to provide their own transportation to and from school.

Does the district have to add more teachers if more students enroll? 

No campus will add Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment students to their campus, grade level, or program if it triggers the addition of staff. Rockwall ISD will not add staff to accommodate out-of-district transfers.

When will Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year begin?

The Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment period will begin on April 20, 2015 and applications will be accepted until September 15, 2015, at 4:45 p.m.

Are there required criteria to apply for Limited Open Enrollment?

Yes. Before a student completes an application, he/she should make sure the basic criteria listed are met. During the 2015-2016 school year, the student must:

  • Have maintained an attendance rate of 95% or better for each class attended,
  • Have passed all classes the previous grading period and the previous semester completed,
  • Have passed all portions of the most recent state mandated TAKS/STAAR test (or equivalent), and
  • Have no disciplinary record showing violations of the Student Code of Conduct for the previous school year

Reasons for denial of an application include but are not limited to:

  • Record of poor attendance, late arrivals, late pick-ups, and or disciplinary infractions
  • For the purpose of participating in athletics at receiving campus
  • Falsification of information
  • Failing grades
  • Failing TAKS/STAAR, TPRI, or other recognized test
  • Failure to meet district criteria for transfer
  • Increased campus staffing
  • Grade level enrollment capacity
  • Program enrollment capacity
  • Campus enrollment capacity

How will Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment applications be accepted?

The completed application form as well as the other required items must be submitted in person to the Administrative Services Department, Rockwall ISD, 1050 Williams Street, Rockwall, TX 75087.

Can children from all grade levels participate in the process? 

Yes.

If my child is accepted for Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year, will an application be required to stay in Rockwall ISD for future years?

Yes. The Texas Education Code stipulates that every district in Texas that has Open Enrollment program must have an annual reapplication requirement. Re-enrollment applications would be provided to current Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment students annually. The students would need to complete the required applications by deadline and the district would review the applications annually.

If one child in a family is accepted in the Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment Program, is/are sibling(s) guaranteed automatic admission?

No. Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment is by student and not by family.

When will I be notified of my child’s acceptance into the Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment Program?

Parents will be notified in writing of the acceptance or denial of their student’s application by the week of August 17, 2016. In some cases notification may be later depending upon the campus or grade level enrollment and staffing capacity. The written notification of acceptance will include the campus assignment. Campus assignment is not appealable.

My child participates in University Scholastic League (UIL) activities at his/her current school. Will he/she be eligible to continue participating in Rockwall ISD?

Students who participate in UIL academic and music events such as debate, band, or choir will be immediately eligible to participate in those same events in Rockwall ISD (as long as the student is eligible under District and UIL general eligibility guidelines). However, non-resident students participating in high school varsity athletics must be enrolled in Rockwall ISD for the entire previous calendar year before they may compete (this rule does not apply to junior varsity, 9th grade or middle school teams). In other words, a varsity athlete must sit out one year before becoming eligible to participate in UIL sanctioned athletic events.

What if a student who enrolls through Tuition-Based Limited Open Enrollment repeatedly violates district rules?

Board Policy FDA (LOCAL) states that students who transfer into the district may have their enrollment revoked if they do not follow all of the rules and regulations of the district including but not limited to, District policies and regulations, the Student Code of Conduct, and attendance requirements.