Enrollment Guidelines

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Proof of Residence

To ensure that students are eligible for enrollment, SDPC requires the parent/guardian to furnish proof of residence in Pickens County in the following situations: (1) upon initial enrollment at any school; (2) when a student moves from elementary to middle school; and (3) when a student moves from middle school to high school. In addition, a principal may require that the parent(s)/guardian(s) provide proof to verify the location of their residence at any time.

Documents which may be used for this purpose are as follows:

- a copy of the parent’s/guardian’s current monthly utility bill (electricity, gas, water, etc.) showing the correct billing name and service address; or

- a copy of the parent’s/guardian’s current cable television or satellite service bill, as long as it shows the service address and billing address.

Landline telephone bills, cellular telephone bills and pager bills are NOT accepted as proof of residence because those bills do not show a service address.

In the event that the parent(s)/guardian(s) cannot produce any of the above documents and state that they live with someone else (i.e., boyfriend, girlfriend, parents, grandparents, etc.), an Affidavit of Residence MUST be completed by the parent(s)/guardian(s) AND the person with whom they live and properly notarized by school personnel. It should be noted that there are criminal penalties for providing false information on the Affidavit of Residence.

Enrollment Ages

On or before September 1, a student must be the following ages:

- 3 years of age for handicapped assistance *

- 4 years of age for pre-kindergarten programs *

- 5 years of age for kindergarten (compulsory in S.C.)

- 6 years of age for first grade (mandatory in S.C.)

* Special Note: Students who require handicapped assistance may be eligible for programs at age 3. Decisions are made on a child-by-child basis after specialized preschool procedures are followed. For 4-year-old pre-kindergarten programs, additional requirements (i.e., testing, income verification, etc.) must be met before being admitted to the program.

Requirements

A copy of the student’s state-issued birth certificate must be provided to the school at the time of enrollment. Hospital birth reports are not acceptable. If necessary, duplicate birth certificates can be obtained from local county health departments or the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Vital Records and Public Health Statistics Division at 2600 Bull Street, Columbia, South Carolina, 29201 or from a similar agency in the state of the child’s birth.

A valid South Carolina Certificate of Immunization must be presented for all students prior to their enrollment. Certificates of immunization can be obtained from the Pickens County Health Department at 200 McDaniel Avenue in Pickens or from a private physician.

Schools may ask for a student’s Social Security number. However, by federal law, schools cannot require that a Social Security number be provided.

For a student who is transferring from another school or school district, a transfer/withdrawal form and a copy of the student’s last report card should be provided to the school at the time of enrollment. Official transcripts are requested by mail and sent directly to the school. A hand-carried copy will not constitute an official transcript.

In cases where a student’s parents are divorced and/or legally separated, the court order granting custody must be presented to school personnel and issues addressed prior to enrollment. In addition, a step-parent is NOT to be listed on enrollment forms UNLESS he/she has legal responsibility for the student by an order of the court.

In the case of guardianship (not to be confused with parental custody), a copy of the court order establishing the guardianship must be approved by and filed with the district’s coordinator of student services, 1348 Griffin Mill Road, Easley, S.C. 29640. Enrollment will not be permitted until the appropriate guardianship has been established and the document is on file. No handwritten "consent" from a parent will be accepted – whether or not it is notarized. Guardianship for enrollment purposes must be granted by order of the court.

By common law, the mother has sole and exclusive custody of a child born out of wedlock.

A state affidavit can only be used for enrollment in specific circumstances as set forth by state law. This affidavit must be executed before enrollment and notarized by a school official.

A correct "911" address MUST be provided at the time of enrollment. A post office box may be provided for mailing purposes only. A home address is required as well as a current home telephone number and daytime telephone numbers for emergency purposes. Parents are advised to notify the school immediately if their phone numbers change.

Student Assignment

Students must attend the school that serves their legal residence in accordance with the local school attendance zones established by the board of trustees. Exceptions are as follows:

Hardship

A request for an exception to a student assignment may be approved by the superintendent or his/her designee when the school capacity and program of the requested placement can accommodate the request and when one of the following conditions exists:

Concluding Grade - Students who qualify for the highest grade placement in their respective schools and who change legal residence within Pickens County shall be permitted to attend their last year in the school in which they were legally enrolled at the end of the preceding school year.

Family Relocation - The family has moved or will move from one attendance zone to another during the course of a school year or can demonstrate definite plans to do so prior to the beginning of a new school year. Proof of residence purchase, rental or lease agreement, or other appropriate documentation must be provided. The request may be to allow completion of the year at the current school or to begin the new year at the new school prior to actual relocation.

Child Care - The family demonstrates unreasonable hardship and provides evidence that constant concern exists due to unavailability of after school care in reasonable proximity to the school and that a more appropriate childcare placement is available at another school location.

Social or Emotional Adjustment - The family or school personnel, after consideration of reports from professional counsel, requests that a pupil be placed in a different school for reasons of social or emotional adjustment.

Medical Reasons - A licensed physician recommends a new placement based upon health-related conditions or for medical purposes.

Child of School Employee - A school employee may request to place his/her child in the school where the parent is employed or may apply for his/her child to be admitted to another school under school choice.

Curriculum - The student intends to enroll in a series of sequential courses (more than one academic year) within a curriculum area not offered at the school to which he/she is assigned.

School Choice

Parent(s)/guardian(s) may apply for student admission to a school outside their area of residence. An application for school choice should be submitted between January 1 and April 15 preceding the opening of school to enable schools to address staffing needs and budgetary considerations. The principal of the requested school and the superintendent or his/her designee must approve any request for school choice. No requests for school choice will be approved once the school year begins

Out-of-County

South Carolina law states that students must attend school in the school district of the county in which their parent(s)/guardian(s) reside. It does, however, allow parent(s)/guardian(s) to request that their child attend school in a school district outside their residence. The School District of Pickens County will consider a nonresident student for enrollment provided:

- the student qualifies for enrollment (e.g. proper enrollment age, proper immunizations, in good standing from former school [not expelled], etc.);

- the parent(s)/guardian(s) pay tuition in the amount equal to the prior year’s local revenue per child raised by the millage levied for school district operations and debt service. If any real property is owned in Pickens County by the student and/or by the parents, the school district will reduce the tuition amount by the amount of the school taxes paid to Pickens County on that property;

- a Student Assignment Application is completed and approval received from the requested school’s principal as well as the superintendent or his/her designee; and,

- the student is released from attendance in the school district of the county of his/her residence. (A letter must be on file with the district’s coordinator of student services from the appropriate school district releasing the student for enrollment in Pickens County. The release letter must state the appropriate school year of release.)

If a student is approved for assignment outside of his/her designated attendance zone or county, the following conditions will apply:

- Transportation will not be provided by the school district. The parent/guardian must provide a safe and reliable method of transportation for the student.

- Student assignment is approved for the current school year only. Student assignments are evaluated annually by the principals and district administration. If a student is approved for student assignment and begins the school year in the requested school, the student will be expected to remain in the requested school for the entire school year.

- Eligibility requirements for interscholastic activities for secondary students may be affected as specified by the rules of the South Carolina High School League. We recommend that parents discuss this matter with a high school athletic director if they have any questions or concerns.

- Failure by the student or parent/guardian to comply with the policies or programs of the requested school or to cooperate with the school administration and staff may result in immediate revocation of the student’s assignment to that school.

No student shall be refused admission into or be excluded from any of the schools in the School District of Pickens County based on race, creed, color or national origin.