"Legal settlement" refers to the idea that a student has a right to attend the public school where he lives. Schools monitor the home addresses of students to keep out students whose parents are presumably not paying taxes in that district and thus should not be allowed to attend a different school of their own choosing. These types of problems often arise for township schools or suburban schools because commonly families do not want their children to attend inner-city or poor school districts and instead attempt to enroll them in the suburban or “richer” school districts.
Historically, in a divorce situation, the parent who had physical custody of the child is the school district where the child had legal settlement.
However as of July 1, 2006, pursuant to SEA 39 (which affects the following citations: IC 20-26; IC 31-34; IC 31-37) provides that if a court order grants a parent custody of a student, the parent granted physical custody (or the student if the student is at least 18 years of age) may elect not to later than 14 days before the first day of the school year whether the student will have legal settlement in the school corporation in which the student’s mother or in which the student’s father resides. It provides that (1) the election may be made only on a yearly basis; and (2) the student or parent who makes the election may not be charged transfer tuition. Effective July 1, 2006
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