Under House Bill 251, students can switch outside of their designated attendance zones and into any other school with an enrollment below 85 percent capacity.
In Richmond County, 16 elementary, four middle and six high schools are eligible based on capacity.
Parents must submit school choice applications to the district before March 9. Transfers will be granted on a lottery basis if the applications exceed the number of seats available at a school, according to a letter from acting Superintendent James Whitson.
If students transfer outside their attendance zones, the law requires the family to be responsible for all costs related to transportation between home and school.
Richmond County is also under a federal desegregation order from 1972 that eliminated the dual school system structure based on race. Since the state school choice law was passed, no transfer can interfere with the enforcement of the desegregation order.
The school system has to approve transfers to be consistent with the desegregation order, according to Whitson’s letter.