Controlled Open Enrollment (COE)

Physical Location:
47 Orange Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084
(904) 547-7754
Fax (904) 547-7683

Mailing Address:
40 Orange Street
St. Augustine, FL 32084

Kim Bays
Guidance and Choice Department
[email protected]
(904) 547-7754

Kejah Camps
Executive Secretary
Guidance and Choice Department
[email protected]
(904) 547-7754


For more information, view the complete SJCSD Student Assignment, Enrollment & Choice Plan 2022-2023

2023 Controlled Open Enrollment (COE)
Application Requirements

  • Transportation must be provided by the parent/guardian for ALL approved requests.
  • Requested school must meet COE eligibility and class size requirements. The only SJCSD schools eligible for 2023-24 are Crookshank Elementary, Ketterlinus Elementary, Webster Elementary, Murray Middle School, and Sebastian Middle School.
  • Parent/guardian must complete a separate application for each COE school to which the student would request consideration. Multiple students attending the same school will need to be on separate applications.
  • There will be strict adherence to all stated deadlines.
  • Parent/guardian must receive and accept an APPROVED COE transfer from the St. Johns County School District’s Guidance & Choice Department.
  • Parent/guardian agrees that at any time during the school year, a transfer may be revoked due to poor attendance, tardiness, or discipline issues.
  • Parent/guardian understands that falsification of residency shall result in the revocation of the COE seat. The student will return to his or her zoned school at a time determined by the Superintendent or designee.

Controlled Open Enrollment

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Q. What is Controlled Open Enrollment (COE)?
    A. COE provides parents and students greater choice options and is permitted in accordance with s.1002.31, F.S. and School Board Rule 5.03. COE provides additional opportunities for students to attend any school in the state other than their zoned school that has available capacity.
  2. Q. When did COE go into effect?
    A. COE became available beginning in the 2017-18 school year.
  3. Q. How is the school district defining capacity and determining which schools are available for COE?
    A. A determination of the schools with available capacity is updated every 12 weeks by grade level, and will be posted on the school district’s website on the Student Transfer & Choice Options web page under Controlled Open Enrollment.  Specifications, plans, elements and commitments contained in the school district’s Educational Plant Survey, Five Year District Facilities Work Plan and long-range student projections are incorporated into the district’s capacity determination for controlled open enrollment.For the 2022-2023 school year, a school will be subject to Controlled Open Enrollment when it has been determined that the school’s enrollment is less than 80% of permanent Florida Inventory of School House (FISH) capacity. Available capacity will be the difference between the number of then-currently enrolled students and 80% of FISH capacity.

    The number of available seats by grade will then be determined based on grade level teacher capacity under Florida’s class size amendment requirements.

    This determination considers the rapid growth in St. Johns County School District, which is greater than 20% growth over the past five years and ensures available seats remain at schools for students who move into the school zone.


  4. Q. What is the process to apply for COE and how will the lottery work?
    A. Applications are available during an open enrollment window as listed in the updated schedule on the school district’s Controlled Open Enrollment website. Paper copies of the application are also available for those without access to a computer. One application is required for each school to which the student would request consideration. So, if the student would be willing to attend multiple Controlled Open Enrollment elementary schools, separate applications would be required.  Applications will only be accepted during an application window. Once a window has closed, all applications will be randomly numbered with the assistance of a computer program. Available seats will then be assigned to the applicants for that school starting at 1 and ending at the total number of seats available.  For example, in the school year beginning 2023-2024, a total of 36 Controlled Open Enrollment students will be accepted for Crookshank Elementary utilizing their lottery number. 

    The application window will run simultaneously for both St. Johns County residents and out-of-county residents. There will be two separate lotteries, with in-county and out-of-county students being numbered separately. The out-of-county applications will only be considered if there are still remaining open seats after the completion of the in-county lottery.

    Once notified of a lottery selection for an available seat, the parent/guardian must accept and enroll the student in the specified school. If a student happens to receive a lottery selection for more than one school, the parent/guardian must select one and decline the other. If seats re-open due to a declined selection, the student with the next number in the lottery will be notified and offered the seat.


  5. Q. If my child is selected in the lottery to attend a COE school, do I have to formally accept the transfer?
    A. Yes. Once notified of a lottery selection of an available seat, the parent/guardian must accept the assignment within 10 working days and enroll the student in the specified COE school. No response will be considered a decline of the selection. A waitlist will be maintained between application windows, however a new application must be filed with the start of each new window.
  6. Q. Will siblings receive a preference under COE? How will the preference work? Do I submit one application per family, or per student?
    A.  A parent may declare their school preference of an applicant with respect to the placement of sibling students within the same school. There are two forms of sibling preference for an applicant:
    1. The sibling of the applicant is a currently enrolled COE student in the school requested.
    2. The applicant has a sibling in the current COE cycle making simultaneous application.

    Applicants who are the sibling of a currently enrolled COE student will receive priority preference for placement appropriate to their lottery group (in-county and out-of-county).  Sibling preference only applies if the school of enrollment is designated for COE for the application window.

    Applications with a verified sibling priority shall be noted and maintained in a separate sibling list. These applications will be given a lottery number along with all other applications. However, when one sibling is selected, the remaining sibling(s) will be given a priority to attend the same school by allowing them to take the next number or to be placed on the waitlist only behind other siblings.

    Siblings are defined as a brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, stepbrother or stepsister, living in the same household. Verification will be required.


  7. Q. Will an application submitted at the beginning of a window be given preference over an application submitted at the end of a window?
    A. Applications submitted during a COE window are given equal consideration regardless of whether they were submitted on the first day of a window or the last day.
  8. Q. If my child is not selected through COE is there a waitlist?
    A. Yes, your child will be placed on a waitlist. If a seat re-opens in the grade level due to a declined selection, the student with the next number in the lottery will be notified and offered the seat.
  9. Q. If my child is not selected through COE is there an appeals process?
    A. There is no appeal process for Controlled Open Enrollment as it is based strictly on a lottery procedure.
  10. Q. If my child does not get placed through COE, can I apply for a hardship waiver?
    A. You may apply for a hardship waiver, but please note, not being selected by the lottery for Controlled Open Enrollment does not constitute a hardship.
  11. Q. If my child has an IEP is he/she eligible to apply for COE?
    A. Yes, your child may apply, but if they are accepted, an IEP Team will convene to determine whether the student’s needs can be adequately addressed and to ensure the IEP can be implemented at the chosen school. If not, the student will not be enrolled, but placed at the appropriate school based on their attendance zone or appropriate placement for services if they are a resident of St. Johns County. Students residing in another county whom the District is not able to serve will be expected to enroll in their home county.
  12. Q. My child is currently serving Out of School Suspension or being recommended for Expulsion. Can I still request a transfer through COE?
    A. No. Students currently subject to OSS or expulsion are not eligible for transfers through COE.
  13. Q. Can I apply for COE mid-year?
    A.  COE assignments will take place only during the designated COE application windows.  Only applications for dependent children of active duty military personnel whose move resulted from military orders (a copy must be provided) may continue to be filed outside of the application windows if seats remain unfilled.
  14. Q. Does my child have to apply each year for COE?
    A. No, for purposes of continuity of educational choice, a student who transfers under controlled open enrollment may remain at the Controlled Open Enrollment school until the student completes the highest grade level at the school. After completion of the terminal grade of that school, the student must return to their zoned school or apply for and be granted another lottery selection through controlled open enrollment. Students residing in another county, must return to their school district in the absence of another lottery selection.
  15. Q. If I have a unique situation and am not selected through the lottery for COE placement, can the principal of the school approve a waiver?
    A. No. Due to many unique situations throughout the District, hardship waivers can only be granted through the District’s School Services office. Any parent who believes they have a true and unique hardship may apply for an Out of Zone Transfer Request.
  16. Q. I am a current SJCSD employee and my child is attending a school other than their zoned school, do I need to apply for COE to keep them at their school?
    A. No. SJCSD employees may seek a renewal of their current transfer approval through the District’s School Services office.  However, if you choose to apply, acceptance as a COE student would allow your child to continue to attend a COE school should your current job location change.
  17. Q. Is Transportation provided by the school district for COE students?
    A. District transportation options are not available to any choice option in St. Johns County. Transportation must be arranged and provided by the parent/guardian.The school district is responsible for providing transportation to another public school under the Opportunity Scholarship and Family Empowerment Scholarship programs.

    Family Empowerment and Florida Tax Credit Scholarship funds may be used for transportation to a public school in which a student is enrolled and that is different from the student’s assigned school.


  18. Q. Will my child who is zoned for the school be displaced by a student who is not zoned for the school?
    A. No. Students residing in St. Johns County may not be displaced by a student from another school district. Additionally, students residing in St. Johns County will receive preferential treatment in the lottery system with first access to available seats.
  19. Q. Can a transfer approved through COE be rescinded?
    A. Yes. Controlled Open Enrollment placement may be rescinded if:
    1. Incorrect or false information was provided in the application; or,
    2. Attendance, tardiness or discipline/behavior problems develop at the receiving school.


  20. Q. Is COE available for Pre-K Programs?
    A. No. Since Pre-K Programs are not mandatory, COE options are not available for Pre-K students.
  21. Q. Can my Pre-K child automatically stay at the elementary school they are presently attending for Kindergarten?
    A. No, incoming kindergarteners should attend their zoned school. However, a student may apply to attend a school eligible for COE if there is capacity in the grade level.
  22. Q. How will COE impact the application process and enrollment criteria for Career Academies and other focused programs of choice in St. Johns County?
    A. COE has no impact to the current application process for programs of choice and career academies. In accordance with s. 1002.31, F.S. the District will maintain existing academic eligibility criteria for public school choice programs.
  23. Q. Why are there so few schools available for COE? I thought this law would allow me to send my child to any school in the state.
    A. s. 1002.31, F.S. provides that a parent may enroll and transport his or her child to any public school in the state that has not reached capacity in the district, subject to maximum class size.
  24. Q. If I live in St. Johns County at the time of the lottery selection for COE and secure a seat in a St. Johns County school, but then move out of St. Johns County, do I have to forfeit my child’s COE seat?
    A. No. Once you are accepted for COE you may stay at the school until the terminal grade of the school.
© 2023 St. Johns County School District