School Choice

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COE Enrollment Window

The application window will begin on February 4, 2019 and end on March 4, 2019 for enrollment in 2019-2020. 

Controlled Open Enrollment (COE) and Common Questions

Sarasota County School district is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of every child. Every school has high quality educational options for students. Students originally are assigned to the school in the attendance area in which their parents live, but the district also provides a number of opportunities for parents to select other options for their children.

Parents/guardians residing in Florida can apply to have their grade K-12 students attend a public school in any school district within the state through Controlled Open Enrollment (COE), also called "Regular School Choice."

Parents/guardians interested in COE for other Florida districts are responsible for directly contacting the districts of interest to learn more about their policies, timelines and application procedures.

Transportation is not provided for students receiving a school choice assignment through COE. Parents/guardians are responsible for transporting their child to and from school.

Eligibility Criteria

COE is available to students who are not subject to a current expulsion or suspension from public school and who reside with their parent/guardian in Florida.

Random Lottery

In the event there are more requests than available seats, a random lottery will be conducted to award the Choice school assignment.

Students meeting specific criteria will have the opportunity to receive one or more preferences during the lottery process. Please refer to the COE plan below or the FAQ for more details regarding available preferences.

COE School Board Policy and COE Plan

School Board Policy  5.23 governs COE in Sarasota County Schools.The district's School Board approved COE Plan describes the guidelines and procedures that are followed for school assignment of students based on parental preference. 
To learn more details about COE, a copy of each document is available for review.

All questions and comments regarding the COE School Board Policy 5.23 and/or the COE Plan can be directed to the Sarasota County Schools Office of School Choice by telephone, (941) 927-9000, ext. 32255 or by email at 

    To view the 2019-2020 School Choice Open and Closed Schools: Click here.

    COE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can students in grades K-12 attend any Sarasota County school for the upcoming 2019-20 school year (SY)?
    2. Who is eligible for COE?
    3. When does the 2019-20 COE application period open and close?
    4. Where can parents and guardians get a 2019-20 COE application?
    5. Is transportation provided to students receiving an assignment through the COE process?
    6. What happens when there are more applications received than there are seats?
    7. When applying for an assignment through the COE process, can a student residing in Sarasota County ever be displaced by a student residing in a different county?
    8. When will parents know if school choice is awarded?
    9. Is there a waiting list I can join if my child does not receive a placement through the COE process?
    10. If a student attends a school because he/she was awarded an assignment through the COE process, is his/her sibling automatically permitted to attend the same school?
    11. Can students receiving a school assignment through the COE process participate in interscholastic and extracurricular activities?
    12. Should parents and guardians go directly to the COE school to enroll?
    13. Once a student is assigned through the COE process, do they have to reapply every year? Can the student remain until they have completed the last grade available at the selected school?
    14. What should a parent or guardian do if they miss the COE application deadline?
    15. How do parents and guardians apply for a COE assignment in another county?
    16. How can I enroll my child in a Sarasota County charter school?
    17. What should parents and guardians do if they miss the COE application deadline and extenuating circumstances create a hardship for the student to attend the districted school?
    18. Where can I learn more information about COE?


    1. Can students in grades K-12 attend any Sarasota County school for the upcoming 2019-20 school year (SY)?

    • Parents and guardians living in Florida can apply through Controlled Open Enrollment (COE) to attend any Sarasota County K-12 public school identified as having available space capacity (F.S. 1002.31). Schools and seats available through COE will be listed on the Office of School Choice website.

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    2. Who is eligible for COE?

    • Parents and guardians of a grade K-12 student from any Florida district are eligible to apply for a COE school choice assignment as long as the student is not expelled or suspended before, during or after an application period in any given school year.

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    3. When does the 2019-20 COE application period open and close?

    • Sarasota County Schools’ 2019-20 COE application period opens February 4 and closes March 4 at 4:30 p.m. All applications received before the deadline will be processed equally.

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    4. Where can parents and guardians get a 2019-20 COE application?

    • Interested parents and guardians may complete and submit an online 2019-20 COE application using a computer or electronic devices such as a cell phone or tablet. Carefully read all information and follow directions. Incomplete applications will not be processed.

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    5. Is transportation provided to students receiving an assignment through the COE process?

    • No. Bus transportation will not be provided by the district. Parents and guardians are responsible for all transportation for a student who receives a COE assignment.

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     6. What happens when there are more applications received than there are seats?

    • In the event that more applications are received than there are available seats, COE assignments will be made using a random lottery. All completed Choice applications submitted by the specified deadline shall be processed and eligible for the random lottery and school assignment. COE assignments will be awarded based upon seat availability in each school and grade level and any preference for which the child is eligible. Preferences in the lottery are provided as listed on the COE application.

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     7. When applying for an assignment through the COE process, can a student residing in Sarasota County ever be displaced by a student residing in a different county?

    • No. Students who reside in Sarasota County can never be displaced by a student living in another county (F.S. 1002.31) during the COE application process. Sarasota residents are given priority preference.

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     8. When will parents know if school choice is awarded?

    • Parents/Guardians should receive written notification of COE assignments via email/U.S. Postal Service by April 8, 2019.

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     9. Is there a waiting list I can join if my child does not receive a placement through the COE process?

    • If a student cannot be accommodated at any of the schools indicated on the application form, the student will be assigned to his/her districted school and will automatically be placed into an eligibility pool (waiting list) for their first choice school. The waiting list will be maintained through the end of the first grading quarter. If a seat becomes available, the parent of the student at the top of the waiting list for that grade level will be contacted and offered the seat.

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    10. If a student attends a school because he/she was awarded an assignment through the COE process, is his/her sibling automatically permitted to attend the same school?

    • No. The sibling is not automatically permitted to attend the same school. The parent must apply for an assignment for the sibling through COE. A sibling will receive preference through the COE process if his/her sibling continues enrollment in the school for the 2019-20 school year. There are no guarantees that a seat will be awarded.

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     11. Can students receiving a school assignment through the COE process participate in interscholastic and extracurricular activities?

    • Yes. Students meeting the eligibility criteria established by the Florida High School Athletic Association and Sarasota County School Board can participate in interscholastic and extracurricular activities immediately.

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    12. Should parents and guardians go directly to the COE school to enroll?

    • No. Parents and guardians must first receive an official award letter and Acceptance/Decline Card in the mail. Parents and guardians are required to return the Acceptance/Decline Card to the Office of School Choice by the specified deadline. The award letter will provide instructions on next steps to register and enroll a student who accepts a COE assignment.

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    13. Once a student is assigned through the COE process, do they have to reapply every year? Can the student remain until they have completed the last grade available at the selected school?

    • Students assigned through COE do not have to reapply each year. The student may remain in the assigned school until he/she has completed the highest grade available at the school until: a) The student is enrolled in a program which requires a change of schools; b) The parent or guardian requests a change of assignment; c) The student is expelled or suspended; d) The student leaves that public school to attend a private school, charter school, or home education program; e) The student moves out of the state of Florida; or f) It is determined that inaccurate, false, or misleading information resulted in an improper assignment or reassignment.

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    14. What should a parent or guardian do if they miss the COE application deadline?

    • If the current COE application deadline is missed, parents and guardians can submit an application during the next annual application period for the 2019-20 school year.

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    15. How do parents and guardians apply for a COE assignment in another county?

    • Parents interested in applying for COE in a different county should contact that school district to get information on their COE process.

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    16. How can I enroll my child in a Sarasota County charter school?

    • Parents interested in applying to a charter school should contact the school directly to learn about their application process.

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    17. What should parents and guardians do if they miss the COE application deadline and extenuating circumstances create a hardship for the student to attend the districted school?

    • The hardship appeal process is available to students with special circumstances warranting attendance at a non-districted school. Hardship reassignments are not guaranteed. The parent must submit a written explanation of the hardship along with a completed Student Reassignment Application form no later than May 24. Requests are granted/not granted by a committee which may consist of the Supervisor of Student Assignment, school-level Executive Directors and content/program area administrators. The Superintendent and individual School Board members are not involved in student assignment decisions. District and/or school-based staff may not enroll the student at the requested school until the reassignment process is completed and approval is granted through the Office of School Choice and Charter Schools.

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    18. Where can I learn more information about COE?

    • To learn more about COE, visit the Office of School Choice page on Sarasota County Schools’ website: http://www.sarasotacountyschools.net/departments/schoolchoice/ or call the Office of School Choice: (941) 927-9000, ext. 32255.

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    School Choice
    Division of Integrated Instructional Services

    Mrs. Katrina Ward, Supervisor
    katrina.ward@sarasotacountyschools.net
    Charmaine Wheeler,
    Administrative Assistant
    charmaine.wheeler@sarasotacountyschools.net
    Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 32255

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