Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 22.1. Education
Chapter 1. System of Public Schools; General Provisions

§ 22.1-3. Persons to whom public schools shall be free.

A. The public schools in each school division shall be free to each person of school age who resides within the school division. Every person of school age shall be deemed to reside in a school division:

1. When the person is living with a natural parent or a parent by legal adoption;

2. When, in accordance with the provisions of § 22.1-360, the person is living with a noncustodial parent or other person standing in loco parentis, not solely for school purposes, pursuant to a Special Power of Attorney executed under 10 U.S.C. § 1044b by the custodial parent;

3. When the parents of such person are dead and the person is living with a person in loco parentis who actually resides within the school division;

4. When the parents of such person are unable to care for the person and the person is living, not solely for school purposes, with another person who resides in the school division and is (i) the court-appointed guardian, or has legal custody, of the person; (ii) acting in loco parentis pursuant to placement of the person for adoption by a person or entity authorized to do so under § 63.2-1200; or (iii) an adult relative providing temporary kinship care as that term is defined in § 63.2-100. Local school divisions may require one or both parents and the relative providing kinship care to submit signed, notarized affidavits (a) explaining why the parents are unable to care for the person, (b) detailing the kinship care arrangement, and (c) agreeing that the kinship care provider or the parent will notify the school within 30 days of when the kinship care arrangement ends, as well as a power of attorney authorizing the adult relative to make educational decisions regarding the person. A school division may also require the parent or adult relative to obtain written verification from the local department of social services where the parent or parents live, or from both that department and the department of social services where the kinship provider lives, that the kinship arrangement serves a legitimate purpose that is in the best interest of the person other than school enrollment. With written consent from the parent or adult relative, for the purposes of expediting enrollment, a school division may obtain such written verification directly from the local department or departments of social services. The verification process shall be consistent with confidentiality provisions of Article 5 (§ 22.1-287 et seq.) of Chapter 14 of this title and Chapter 1 (§ 63.2-100 et seq.) of Title 63.2. If the kinship care arrangement lasts more than one year, a school division may require continued verification directly from one or both departments of social services as to why the parents are unable to care for the person and that the kinship care arrangement serves a legitimate purpose other than school enrollment. A local school division may enroll a person living with a relative in a kinship care arrangement that has not been verified by a local department of social services;

5. When the person is living in the school division not solely for school purposes, as an emancipated minor;

6. When all or any portion of the building in which such person resides (i) with another person as set forth in subdivisions 1 through 4 or (ii) as an emancipated minor as set forth in subdivision 5 is taxable by the locality in which the school division is located; or

7. When the person living in the school division is a homeless child or youth, as set forth in this subdivision, who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. Such persons shall include (i) children and youths, including unaccompanied youths who are not in the physical custody of their parents, who (a) are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations or in emergency or transitional shelters; or are abandoned in hospitals; (b) have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings; or (c) are living in parked cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and (ii) migratory children, as defined in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, P.L. 89-10, as amended, who are deemed homeless as they are living in circumstances set forth in clause (i).

School divisions shall comply with the requirements of Subtitle VII-B of the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 11431 et seq.), to ensure that homeless children and youths shall receive the educational services comparable to those offered to other public school students.

School divisions serving the students identified in this subdivision shall coordinate the identification and provision of services to such students with relevant local social services agencies and other agencies and programs providing services to such students, and with other school divisions as may be necessary to resolve interdivisional issues.

B. In the interest of providing educational continuity to the children of military personnel, no child of a person on active military duty:

1. Who is attending a school free of charge in accordance with this section shall be charged tuition by that school division upon such child's relocation to military housing located in another school division in the Commonwealth, pursuant to orders received by such child's parent to relocate to base housing. Such children shall be allowed to continue attending school in the school division they attended immediately prior to the relocation and shall not be charged tuition for attending such school;

2. Who is attending a school free of charge in accordance with this section shall be charged tuition by that school division upon such child's relocation pursuant to orders received by such child's parent to relocate to a new duty station or to be deployed. Such children shall be allowed to remain enrolled in the current school division free of tuition through the end of the school year; and

3. Who is eligible to attend school free of charge in accordance with this section shall be charged tuition by a school division that will be the child's school division of residence once his service member parent is relocated pursuant to orders received. Such a child shall be allowed to enroll in the school division of the child's intended residence if documentation is provided, at the time of enrollment, of military orders of the service member parent or an official letter from the service member's command indicating such relocation. Documentation indicating a permanent address within the school division shall be provided to the school division within 120 days of a child's enrollment or tuition may be charged, including tuition for the days since the child's enrollment in school. In the event that the child's service member parent is ordered to relocate before the 120th day following the child's enrollment, the school division shall not charge tuition. Students eligible to enroll in a school division pursuant to this subdivision may register, remotely or in-person, for courses and other academic programs and participate in the lottery process for charter schools and college partnership laboratory schools in the school division in which such student will reside at the same time and in the same manner as students who reside in the local school division. The assignment of the school such child will attend shall be determined by the local school division.

Such children as listed in subdivisions 1, 2, and 3 shall be counted in the average daily membership of the school division in which they are enrolled. Further, the school division in which such children are enrolled subsequent to their relocation to base housing shall not be responsible for providing for their transportation to and from school.

Code 1950, § 22-218; 1954, c. 638; 1958, c. 628; 1968, c. 178; 1972, c. 245; 1976, cc. 681, 713; 1978, c. 518; 1980, cc. 559, 576; 1981, cc. 341, 342; 1993, c. 903; 1997, c. 826; 1999, cc. 368, 988; 2000, cc. 209, 830; 2004, cc. 500, 967; 2006, c. 188; 2012, cc. 29, 103, 476, 507; 2013, c. 779; 2016, c. 388; 2018, cc. 394, 594; 2019, cc. 62, 404, 586.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.