Open Enrollment

What is Open Enrollment and how is it different than regular enrollment?

Regular enrollment is attending the local school you are assigned to based on your home address. This is also referred to as attending your default school or home school. Schools must ensure there is enough classroom space for these students (A.R.S. § 15-816.01).

Open enrollment allows parents to apply for admission to any public school in the state as long as there is classroom space available.

JFB© Open Enrollment

The District has an open-enrollment program as set forth in A.R.S. § 15-816 et seq. The open enrollment program described in this policy shall be placed on the District website and made available to the public on request.

No tuition shall be charged for open enrollment, except as authorized by applicable provisions of A.R.S. § 15-764, A.R.S. §15-797, A.R.S. § 15-823, A.R.S. § 15-824, and A.R.S. § 15-825 or if the District has entered into a voluntary agreement with another district for the payment of tuition for certain pupils.

The District shall update on each school's website the school's capacity and whether the school is currently accepting open enrollment students, by grade level, at least once every twelve (12) weeks unless there are no changes to report for the individual school.

If a school has any other separate capacity by specialized program, information regarding whether that program is accepting open enrollment students, in the same manner. The websites for the District and thee individual schools will reflect information that is consistent with the model format adopted by the State Board of Education. This information will include instructions for how parents may apply for open enrollment. Hard copies of these instructions shall also be available to parents at individual schools.

Schools shall accept pupils throughout the school year as capacity allows. Pupils who are denied access due to capacity shall be placed on a waitlist and informed that they are on a waitlist. Pupils on the waitlist shall be selected as seats become available.

Enrollment Options Preferences

The District shall enroll at any time any Resident Pupil who applies for enrollment at that pupil's Resident School. For open enrollment, the District shall give enrollment preference to and reserve capacity for all of the following based on the priority listed below:

  1. Pupils returning to the school from the prior year
  2. Pupils who are children of persons who are employed by or at a school in the District
  3. Siblings of pupils already enrolled
  4. Resident Transfer Pupils

The District may also give enrollment preference to the following pupils regardless of the priority list above:

  1. Pupils who are in foster care
  2. Pupils who meet the definition of unaccompanied youth described in the McKinneyVento homeless assistance act (P.L. 100-77, 101 Stat. 482, 42 United States Code section 1143a).
  3. Pupils who attend a school that is closing.

If, after applying the preferences above, remaining capacity at a school is insufficient to enroll all pupils who submit a timely open enrollment request, the school shall select pupils based on a lottery. If a pupil is selected through the lottery process, any siblings of that pupil shall then be given preference for enrollment as well. Pupils placed on a waitlist shall also be informed of the lottery process.


For Nonresident Pupils with disabilities whose individualized education program specifies that transportation is necessary to fulfill the program, the District shall provide transportation limited to not more than thirty miles each way to and from the school of attendance or to and from a pick up point on a regular transportation route or for the total miles traveled to day to an adjacent district.

The District shall not provide transportation to any other Nonresident Pupils other than as described above.


Except as provided in A.R.S. § 15-816.01, a school shall not limit admission based on any of the following:

  1. Ethnicity or race
  2. National Origin
  3. Sex
  4. Income level
  5. Disability
  6. Proficiency in the English language
  7. Athletic ability

What types of Open Enrollment are there?

Open enrollment allows students who live:

Parents choose to open enroll their child in another school or school district for many reasons such as unique program offerings, teaching philosophy, extracurricular activities, or a closer proximity to work. Regardless of the reason, open enrollment is an option for parents if there is space.

Available Space

Below is the amount of space available at each school within the Sunnyside Unified School District (A.R.S. § 15-816.01). This was last updated in February 20, 2023, and is updated at least every 12 weeks (A.R.S. § 15-816.01).

School or ProgramAvailable SpaceLimited SpaceNo Space
Apollo Middle School7th, 8th
Billy Lane Lauffer Middle School6th, 8th7th
Challenger Middle School7th8th
Craycroft Elementary SchoolK3rd, 4th, 5th1st, 2nd
Desert View High School10th, 11th, 12th9th
Desert View High School Resource9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Drexel Elementary SchoolK, 2nd, 5th1st, 6th3rd, 4th
Elvira Elementary School1st, 2nd, 3rdK, 4th, 5th, 6th
Esperanza Elementary SchoolK, 3rd, 4th, 6th1st, 2nd, 5th
Gallego Intermediate Fine Arts Magnet School4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Gallego Primary Fine Arts Magnet School2nd, 3rdK, 1st
Liberty Elementary SchoolK, 1st, 2nd, 3rd4th5th, 6th
Los Amigos Elementary SchoolK, 1st, 3rd2nd, 4th5th, 6th
Los Niños Elementary School1st, 2nd3rd, 4th, 6thK, 5th
Mission Manor Elementary SchoolK, 1st, 6th2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
Ocotillo Learning CenterK1st
Rivera Elementary SchoolK, 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th6th3rd
SUSD ResourceK, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
SUSD Self-Contained classesK, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Santa Clara Elementary SchoolK, 1st, 2nd, 3rd4th, 5th6th
Sierra 2-8 School2nd, 3rd, 4th5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
Star Academic High School11th, 12th10th9th
Summit View Elementary School2nd, 3rd, 4th1st, 5th, 6thK
Sunnyside High School9th, 11th, 12th10th

To view the available space at schools outside of the Sunnyside Unified School District, please contact the school district that interests you.

What if there isn't enough space?

If you are denied enrollment because there is not enough space, you will be placed on waiting list. As space becomes available, the Sunnyside Unified School District will select students for enrollment using an equitable selection process such as a lottery (A.R.S. § 15-816.01).

Open Enrollment Criteria

Each school district develops its own open enrollment policies that comply with state and federal law. That includes criteria to evaluate open enrollment eligibility and priority.

Instructions for how parents apply for Open Enrollment

Schools with available space accept students throughout the school year (A.R.S. § 15-816.01). Please visit our Enrollment page if you would like to enroll your student with aSunnyside Unified School District school.

Other Open Enrollment Policies

There is no cost to enroll.

The school does/does not provide transportation to open enrollment students. The school does provide transportation up to 30 miles each way to students with disabilities whose IEP specifies that transportation is necessary to fulfill the program.