Open Enrollment

  • The Open Enrollment law permits parent/guardians in one district to request open enrollment in another district based on Iowa code. The application is made to a school district, not a specific school in that district. However, the parent or guardian may request a school. Additional information is available at the Iowa Department of Education.

    Deadlines and Good Cause

    The deadline for students entering grades 1-12 is March 1. The deadline for students entering kindergarten is Sept. 1.

    Some circumstances are considered “good cause” and allow parent/guardians to submit an open enrollment application IF the change occurred/began AFTER March 1 (281-IAC 17.4).

     Good Cause Provisions


    Application Procedures

    • Step 1: You may obtain an application in person at the Learning Resource Center, 3550 Mills Civic Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50265 or download an application.
    • Step 2: Complete the application.
    • Step 3: Return application(s) by the deadline to both districts (the district in which you currently live and to the district in which you wish to enroll). To send an application to the WDMCS, please address it to:

      WDMCS/Administrative Services
      Attention: Peggy Epstein
      3550 Mills Civic Parkway
      West Des Moines, IA 50265

    • Step 4: Be aware of parent/guardian responsiblities, timelines, and causes for denial.


  • Contact Us

    Peggy Epstein
    Superintendent Secretary

    Learning Resource Center
    3550 Mills Civic Parkway
    West Des Moines, IA 50265


    Area School District and State Contacts

    • Des Moines: 515-242-7353
    • Johnston: 515-278-0470
    • Norwalk: 515-981-0676
    • Urbandale: 515-457-5006
    • Waukee: 515-987-5161
    • Iowa Department of Education: 515-281-8582
  • Timelines

    Deadline for Next School Year
    The deadline for applying for open enrollment is March 1 for the next school year.


    Deadline for Students Entering Kindergarten or Based on Good Cause
    Applications must be received by September 1. An application filed after March 1 that does not fall under any of the categories listed under Good Cause is not a “good cause” application and may be denied by the Board of Education.


    Moving From WDMCS
    Families who move from WDMCS may apply for open enrollment to remain in WDMCS. This application must be filed by September 1. The Associate Superintendent of Administrative Services may approve open enrollment applications that meet appropriate deadlines. If an application is denied, that action must be taken by the Board of Education.

    When the open enrollment request is approved, the receiving district will notify the resident district and the parent within 15 days of school board action. A copy of the application form shall be filed with the Department of Education.

  • Parent/Guardian Responsibilities

    • File the Application Form with resident and receiving district for students who want to open enroll for the current school year.
    • File the Application Form with resident and receiving district on or before March 1 of the school year prior to the open enrollment year.
    • Good Cause – File the application form with both districts by September 1 if good cause applies because of a change in the student’s residence or change in status of the resident district or nonpublic school of attendance after March 1 of the prior school year.
    • Kindergarten Students – File the application form with both districts by September 1 of the school year in which open enrollment is requested if the application is for a kindergarten student.


    General Information

    • Special Education – Be sure to indicate whether or not the student is in a special education program.
    • Siblings – Approval for one child in a family does not guarantee approval for other children in the same family. Each child in a family must have an open enrollment request filed.
    • Requesting a Specific School – A specific school may be requested with the understanding the district doesn’t have to honor the request. Building assignments will be reviewed each year following registration.
    • Transportation – Parent/guardians must provide transportation. To learn if you meet economic eligibility requirements, apply with resident district for transportation assistance.
    • Changing Receiving District (district open enrolling to) – File a petition with the receiving district by March 1 of the prior school year.
    • Change of Residence – Notify both districts if there is a change in the residence of the student during the open enrollment period.
    • Terminating Open Enrollment – notify both districts in writing.
    • Appeal Process – If open enrollment is denied by either the resident or receiving district, the parent/guardian may appeal to the State Board of Education if the request is due to repeated acts of harassment or if the child has a serious health condition that the resident district cannot adequately address. All other appeals must be made to an Iowa District Court.
Last Modified on October 21, 2021