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For Immediate Release: July 18, 2005
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

Ground-breaking agreement allows for cross-border enrollment

The State of South Dakota has entered into an agreement with the State of North Dakota to allow cross-border enrollment for kindergarten through 12th-grade students.

“South Dakota families will be able to send their children to the school that makes the most sense for them regardless of what state they reside in,” said Governor Mike Rounds. “It allows families to make choices based on their proximity to schools, their work situations and other important factors.”

The agreement allows a student who resides in a South Dakota school district contiguous to the North Dakota border to attend school in a North Dakota school district. It provides the same opportunity to North Dakota students. The agreement could impact students in the following South Dakota districts: Britton-Hecla, Eureka, Frederick Area, Harding County, Herreid, Lemmon, Leola, McIntosh, McLaughlin, Northwest, Pollock, Rosholt and Sisseton.

“As far as we know, this agreement is one of the first of its kind,” said Dr. Rick Melmer, secretary of the Department of Education. “It will set a precedent for future agreements between states, and it all came about as a result of some Harding County families who felt strongly about their children’s education and worked with the Governor’s Office to make it happen.”

To be eligible for enrollment in a receiving district, a student must be under 21 years of age, as of July 1, for enrollment the following school year, and the student’s resident district must border North Dakota. Students who require special education also may participate in cross-border enrollment. For this to happen, the receiving district must meet certain provisions, including offering appropriate instructional programs and facilities.

A parent or guardian whose child meets eligibility guidelines should submit an application to the resident school district.

Individual school districts will no longer need to negotiate out-of-state tuition agreements with districts across the border. South Dakota school districts will count North Dakota students as if they are state residents, and the district will receive state aid for those students. The same will apply to South Dakota students who attend a North Dakota district. Any differences in state aid will be reconciled at the state level and will not impact local districts.

More information and an application form are available at the Department of Education’s Web site.

Official Cross-Border Enrollment website