Enrollment in Public School

The following questions are some of the most frequently asked that TEA receives from parents (or others standing in parental relation to students) about enrollment. Answers have been provided to help clarify information for you. Please make note of the blue hyperlinks: by clicking on a link, you will be taken to another TEA webpage or external source that can help you find information regarding your inquiry.

Every child in Texas has the right to a free public education. A parent (or other person standing in parental relation to a child) may enroll the child in school in the district in which he or she lives or enroll in another option, such as a charter school. Compulsory attendance applies to students who are at least six years old as of September 1 of the applicable school year. For more information on enrollment and compulsory attendance, please see Texas Education Code (TEC), Chapter 25. 

First, you will need to locate a school. Secondly, you will need to provide the residency documentation required by that school entity. Next, get your child all state required immunizations (or provide a valid exemption from the immunization requirements). 

Use the AskTED (Texas Education Directory) “Quick District Lookup” feature. Once you have located the district you want to view, click the “details” link on the far right. This will allow you to view the district’s address, contact information, and web address. You can also use the School District Locator tool. For additional information, you may visit this General Information webpage and this FAQ site.

Proof of residency comes in many forms. For example, a residency document could be a utility bill (light, water, or gas), purchasing paperwork, or a lease agreement, or another item specified by the school.

You will most likely need other documents, for example, the child’s birth certificate or another document suitable as proof of the child’s identity. Check with your chosen campus for more information.

The Texas Department of State Health Services website provides a list of immunization requirements children must have to enroll in school.

25 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §97.62 describes the conditions under which individuals can seek exemptions from Texas immunization requirements. Exclusions from compliance are allowable on an individual basis for medical contraindications, active duty with the armed forces of the United States, and reasons of conscience, including a religious belief. For further information on the exemption process, please see the Frequently Asked Questions on Vaccine Exemptions for Reasons of Conscience page.

The COVID-19 vaccine is NOT required at this time for people enrolled in public child-care/Pre-K facilities, K-12 schools, colleges, or universities.

Texas laws and rules that apply to vaccinations are available on the Texas Department of State Health Services website.

Texas Education Code Sec. 25.002. describes the requirements for enrollment and details various exceptions. There are also special provisions regarding children who may be experiencing homelessness

Texas provides annual academic accountability ratings to its public school districts, charter schools and campuses. The ratings are based on performance on state standardized tests; graduation rates; and college, career, and military readiness outcomes. The ratings examine student achievement, school progress, and whether districts and campuses are closing achievement gaps among various student groups. To learn more, visit TXschools.gov. Alternatively, the following video provides a quick overview of the system.

Most schools will have information about this on their website. If you do not see the word “enrollment” on the school’s website, you can look for “registrar” or “online registration.” Follow the instructions provided by the campus you have chosen. If you need help with this step, contact information is usually provided on the school’s website. Since enrollment is a local issue, you will need to contact the school directly with any questions.

Yes, the State of Texas provides free pre-kindergarten for eligible students. More information can be found here.

The Division of Early Childhood Education has a variety of resources on their FAQ pages.

A student younger than five years of age is entitled to the benefits of the Foundation School Program if: (1) the student performs satisfactorily on the assessment instrument administered under TEC Section 39.023(a) to students in the third grade; and (2) the district has adopted a policy for admitting students younger than five years of age per TEC §48.003(d). For more information, please see the Early Childhood Education webpage.

Under 19 TAC §74.26(a)(2), a school district must ensure that the records or transcripts of a student transferring from a home school, unaccredited private school, or an out-of-state or out-of-country school (including a foreign exchange student) are evaluated and that the student is placed in appropriate classes promptly. The district may use a variety of methods to verify the content of courses for which a transfer student has earned credit. Awarding of credit for courses taken may be determined by reviewing the curriculum and/or work of the student, or by using appropriate assessments.

School attendance zones are geographic areas that a district uses to assign children to schools. School districts assign children to schools by attendance zones, other assignment methods, or transfer policies. Once you find out your child's school district, you can contact that district to find out the school your child will attend. TEA does not collect school attendance zone information. Please contact your local school district for information about attendance zones.

Although TEA collects and reports information regarding school district boundaries in electronic format (see the Texas School District Locator (SDL) and the charter locator map for this information), these maps show approximations of actual school district boundaries. These approximations are adequate for general information, but for more detailed information about school district boundaries, contact the district’s county tax assessing authority or county appraisal district.

Generally, a child attends the school district in which he or she resides. However, a parent may enter into a transfer agreement with “District A” according to Section 25.036 of the Education Code. The receiving school district may charge a tuition fee to the extent permitted by Section 25.038.

In addition, Texas Education Code, Chaper 29, Subchapter G, provides for the Public Education Grant (PEG) program. Under this provision, a child who attends a school that does not meet specific performance criteria may seek to attend another public school in the district. The child can also use a public education grant to attend a district other than the district in which the student resides. For more information, see the Performance Reporting web site. For funding-related information, contact the TEA Division of State Funding at (512) 463-9238. For questions about the PEG program, contact the TEA Division of Performance Reporting at (512) 463-9704. 

Additionally, school districts can make transfer agreements to accept each others' students. Transfer arrangements may also result from wealth-sharing arrangements under former Chapter 41 of the Texas Education Code. For more information, contact your school district or the TEA Division of State Funding at (512) 463-9238.

Nutritional breakfasts and lunches are available to students, often at low or no cost. Find out more about the child nutrition programs (outside source), overseen by the Texas Department of Agriculture.

The Division of Regional Services serves as the contact for Resources for Military Families in Texas, including participation in the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The division facilitates the work of the compact and alternate compact commissioners representing Texas to the compact commission. The division assists military families, who have moved to Texas from a compact state, to enter school, be appropriately placed, and graduate. Additionally, the State Advisory Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children was created by HB 3932 and will take effect on September 1, 2021.

In Texas, the approval of virtual learning for the 2021-22 school year was contingent upon legislative action, and without the passage of HB 1468, there is no new statutory framework authorizing remote instruction for Texas public schools. During the 2020-21 school year, TEA used its disaster authority to authorize funding for remote instruction. That authority cannot be used to authorize a remote instruction framework in the new school year.

Virtual Options under Existing Law:

  • Existing law allows students to participate in a full-time virtual experience in one of seven grandfathered fully virtual schools for grades 3-12. The Texas Virtual Schools Network (TXVSN) provides Texas students and schools with equitable access to quality online courses and instructors. TEA administers the TXVSN, sets standards for and approves TXVSN courses and professional development for online teachers, and has fiscal responsibility for the network. The TXVSN is made up of two components—the TXVSN statewide catalog of supplemental high school courses and the full-time TXVSN online schools program. For more information, to ask a question, or to review related Frequently Asked Questions, please visit the TXVSN HelpDesk.
  • Existing law also allows remote instruction to be provided to any student during any portion of a day claimed for attendance as long as the majority of instruction provided during that day is in-person.
  • Existing state law allows our state’s school districts to control their daily school schedule, as long as a minimum number of in-person operational minutes are reached. Some schools have used this to go to a 4-day school week in-person, with a 5th day remote, knowing that enough minutes were reached in a 4-day window. Schools that don’t meet the minimum minutes of in-person instruction would still be funded, but their funding would be affected if they didn’t reach the 75,600-operational minutes threshold.
  • Additional Remote Instruction Options and Specifications can be found at the following link: https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/covid/Non-TXVSN-Remote-Instruction.pdf