Policy JFAA: Enrollment of Resident and Non-Resident Students

Under Massachusetts Law a child may attend the schools of the town inwhich s/he resides. To attend public school in Amherst, in Pelham, orin the Regional District, a student must reside permanently in Amherst,in Pelham, or in one of the Regional towns respectively and must residewith at least one parent or legal guardian who has physical custody.

The residence of a child under 18 is the legal residence of theparent(s)/legal guardian(s) who has/have physical custody of the child.“Residence” is the domicile where a person dwells permanently, nottemporarily, and is in the town that is the core of his/her domestic,social, and civil life.

The School District may require a variety of documentation to establish proof of residency and custody. (See Policy JFSchool Admissions.) Investigations may be made by School officialsto assure that a student maintains a bona fide permanent residence inthe town. Parents/guardians are under a continuing obligation to informthe School District of any and all changes to a student’s residentialstatus.

Emancipated minors and students over 18 living apart fromparents/guardians are entitled to attend school as residents. Childrenwho are illegal immigrants and residing full-time in the schooldistrict are entitled to attend school as residents. Students who areplaced in a residence in town by a public agency are entitled to attendschool as residents.

This residency policy does not apply to homeless students. (See Policy JFABD Homelessness.)

Any student who is determined to be a non-resident while enrolled in aschool in any of the districts will be dismissed for non-residency.The dismissal may be appealed to the Superintendent, and the student maybe allowed to remain in school pending the outcome of the appeal.

Children of non-resident parents/legal guardians may be allowed to enroll in the following circumstances:

  • If the child’s parents/legal guardians plan to establish residency in the town, or they must provide proof, such as a Purchase/Sales Agreement, a signed lease, or a Rental Agreement, that they will establish residency within 60 days in order for their child to enter school. The family must provide all transportation to and from the school for the student.
  • A family moving out of the School District may petition the Superintendent to permit their child to complete the school year, only if the family’s move out of the district occurs after January 1 of that school year. If the petition is approved, the family, not the School District, must provides all transportation to and from school for the child. In acting on the family’s request, the Superintendent may consider such factors as the child’s welfare, the child’s educational needs, resources available to educate the child, and class size.
  • If a student’s family moves out of the Regional School District during his/her senior year, particular consideration may be given by the Superintendent to the family’s petition that the student be allowed to complete the school year. If the petition is approved, the family must provide all transportation to and from the school for the student.
  • Under the circumstances that a special education program exists in Amherst, Pelham, or the Region, but not in a child’s home district, a child may be admitted. In that case, as allowed by law, the sending district will pay tuition to the appropriate school district at a rate established by the Business Manager.
  • If the student resides in the town but is not residing with a parent or legal guardian, then both the parent/legal guardian and the town citizen with whom the student is living must provide letters of certification of residency, which specify why the student is living in the town, and with whom. They must also be able to demonstrate that the student has permanent residency in the town for purposes other than to attend the district’s schools.
  • Non-resident parents/legal guardians of a child, who resides inAmherst or Pelham apart from his or her parents or legal guardians, forthe sole purpose of attending an elementary school in Amherst or Pelham,may be held responsible for the costs of education for the child.Similarly, non-resident parents/legal guardians of a child residing inone of the Regional towns apart from his or her parents or legalguardians, for the sole purpose of attending the Regional Schools, maybe held responsible for the costs of education for the child. Thestudent will be dismissed for non-residency.

    School Choice:

    Children not residing full-time in the town may enter elementaryschool in Amherst or Pelham if selected as Choice students, unless thelocal School Committee has taken a vote prior to June 1 to withdraw fromthe State Choice program for the following year. Children not residingfull-time in one of the Regional towns may enter the Regional schoolsif selected as Choice students, unless the Regional School Committee hastaken a vote prior June 1 to withdraw from the State Choice program forthe following year. Parents/guardians are responsible for thetransportation of Choice students.



    MGL 76:5 , 76:6


    Policy JF
    Policy JFABD

    Region Voted to Approve: 11/07/06
    Amherst Voted to Approve: 11/14/06
    Pelham Voted to Approve: 12/14/06
    Effective Date: 12/14/06