SOUTHERN COLORADO — Colorado lawmakers are proposing a bill that would make open enrollment easier for incoming military families.
HB21-1217 would require a school district, district charter school, or institute charter school to accept the school liaison address for military families to use to demonstrate residency for open enrollment. It would also grant guaranteed automatic matriculation to the child of an inbound active duty military member while the child remains in the school and priority preference for younger siblings of the child for enrollment in subsequent school years.
"With those moves, whether planned or unplanned, they may miss important deadlines or registration periods," said Tim Farrell, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Military Child Education Coalition.
He says unexpected moves could result in children having to take alternate courses, summer school, or delaying graduation.
"When you don't have those arrangements right away, that's where those worse case scenarios could come to play," said Farrell.
He says the bill could help level the playing field for children of inbound active duty military members.
"That they are able to take advantage of the same offerings that their non-military peers get to take advantage of so they can get the best education possible," said Farrell.
On Tuesday, the Colorado Springs City Council voted unanimously on a resolution that would support the bill.
"It's just one more way for us to reach out and support our military," said Don Knight, Colorado Springs City Council. "You can't apply for that choice school or open enrollment unless you have an actual address. But if you haven't had a chance to go out and do your house hunting yet. Even in this market, there are little houses out there."
He says the bill could give military families more time to find the right school district.
Monument Senator Paul Lundeen, Co-Sponsor of HB21-1217, released the following statement:
When the call of military service moves a family into our community, it doesn’t always line up with the calendar of our school districts. This bill would make sure that those military families have the freedom to select the school that will best serve their student even when the military makes a move that’s inconvenient for a school district.