School Choice

  • Act 853 (2014) provides for the right of a parent or legal guardians to enroll his or her child in a school other than the school to which the child was scheduled to be enrolled based upon a school district attendance zone under the following circumstances: if the school at which the child was most recently enrolled received an SPS of “D” or “F” in the most recent school year AND the school to which the child is sought to be enrolled received a School Performance Score of “C” or better. As Act 853 is based on variable eligibility criterion, any Act 853 enrollment will be considered an annual enrollment and will not allow for enrollment beyond one school year.

    Parental Notification

    School districts must notify parents or guardians of students enrolled in schools that received a “D” or “F” performance letter in the most recent school year of their ability to request a transfer.

    • Single Point of Contact: A parent or guardian wishing to utilize Act 853 who resides and intends on continuing to reside during the upcoming school year outside of St. Mary Parish must contact the Office of Child Welfare at the St. Mary Parish Central Office Complex in Centerville, LA. This will be the only office authorized to process an application to enroll under Act 853.
      1. A birth certificate, identification and/or proof of guardianship must be provided.
      2. An application for enrollment under Act 853 shall consent for the District to obtain the records and information necessary to determine the eligibility/ineligibility of the student.
      3. Deadline: All applications must be received by the 10th official day of the school year
    • Verification of Capacity: For purposes of determining capacity, any school which has an anticipated enrollment of greater than 85% of its optimal total student capacity (Grades K-5 capacity is 24 students per class. Grades 6-12 capacity is 27 students), in the grade in which the student seeks to enroll, will be deemed to have insufficient capacity to allow for an Act 853 enrollment. Any school with portables or modular buildings would also be considered at capacity.
    • Athletic Eligibility: Parents and guardians are responsible for contacting the LHSAA to determine the eligibility of the student for participation in varsity sports. In order to participate in varsity sports sanctions by the LHSAA, students must have written approval of the LHSAA.
    • Transportation: Parents and guardians will be responsible for the transportation of Act 853 students to and from school. The district will NOT provide transportation.


    A student meeting any of the following in the preceding school year will be ineligible to enroll as an Act 853 student:

    • expelled for disciplinary reasons;
    • suspended more than once;
    • involved in more than one fight or other act of violence on school grounds;
    • found in possession of any illicit drug or narcotic on school grounds; and/or
    • had more than 10 unexcused absences.

    After enrollment a student shall be ineligible to continue enrollment as an Act 853 student if any of the following apply during the school year:

    • suspended more than once;
    • expelled for disciplinary reasons;
    • involved in more than one fight or other act of violence on school grounds;
    • found in possession of any illicit drug or narcotic on school grounds; and/or
    • has more than 10 unexcused absences or is habitually tardy.

    Consent of Home School District

    Consent for students residing within St. Mary Parish to enroll in a different school system will be determined based upon the following criteria:

    • the availability and capacity levels of “C” or better schools within St. Mary Parish and
    • undue hardship of the student and his/her family.



    Updated 07/20/2021
    Kenneth Holmes