Geographic exceptions

Under Hawaii laws, all persons attending public school are required to attend the school in the geographic area in which they reside. However, permission to attend another school may be granted by the Department. The attached flowchart explains the process for parents and guardians to follow. A review of a denied application can be requested with the attached form.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Permission to attend another school outside a student's geographic area may be granted by the Department with the welfare of the child as a major consideration. This process is governed by Board of Education Policy 4155​.

Under this policy, the Department is directed to establish procedures for the handling and approval of GE requests, including application process and timelines, criteria for selection, a public chance selection process if requests exceed a school’s established capacity, and an appeal procedure for denied requests. These procedures provide that:

  1. A student, once granted a geographic exception, shall belong to the school for which it is granted and shall enjoy all rights, privileges and responsibilities that are enjoyed by other students at the school until the student graduates or otherwise transfers.
  2. There shall be suitable consequences (including possible recision of the geographic exception) if the information upon which the exception was granted is found to have been false.
  3. The process established by the Department shall be equitable, widely publicized and “user friendly” to parents and children.
  4. There shall be timelines that permit reasonable projections of school enrollment so that new geographic exceptions shall not be the cause of a school exceeding the enrollment limits established by the Department.

The placement of a child with special needs shall conform to the law. More about GE can be learned under
Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapter 13.

Submitting an application

Fill out the attached GE Application form, and submit to the home school (for new students) or current school for students who are already enrolled. GE applications for the next school year shall be submitted between January 1 and March 1 to facilitate a decision before the end of the school year. However, applications for the current and next school year shall be accepted at other time periods whenever unforeseen circumstances arise, i.e. student relocates. Please note: Provisions of the GE application relating to No Child Left Behind (NCLB) have been removed and are blacked-out on the form.

If you are applying for the next school year:

FROM the parent/legal guardian of:
TO:
Department studentCurrent Department school
Non-Department student (i.e. incoming kindergartener, private school, or out-of-state student)Next year’s Department home school
Public charter studentNext year’s Department home school
Public conversion charter studentPresent conversion charter school


If you are applying for this school year:

FROM the parent/legal guardian of:
TO:
Department studentCurrent Department school
Non-Department student (i.e. incoming kindergartener, private school, or out-of-state student)Present year’s Department home school
Public charter studentPresent year’s Department home school
Public conversion charter studentPresent conversion charter school

Appealing a principal's denial

A written appeal needs to be filed with the receiving school’s Complex Area Superintendent within 10 school days of the postmarked date of denial. The written appeal can be submitted using the attached Request for GE Review form. The receiving school complex area superintendent shall render a written decision within 10 school days of the postmarked date of the filing for an appeal.

Submitting to multiple schools

​For applications received by March 1, notification of the decision shall be mailed no later than two weeks after March 1, unless the student is to be considered in a chance lottery selection process. For more on this, please refer to Chapter 13.

Homeless families

​Please contact the Homeless Concerns Office​ at 808-203-5521 for issues or concerns dealing with homeless families. Do not submit a GE form.

Contact Information

Karl Yoshida

Phone: 808-564-6040

Email: karl_yoshida@hawaiidoe.org

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