A student who is domiciled in the school district and who otherwise qualifies for admission is entitled to be admitted without payment of tuition. Under certain circumstances specified by law, a student who resides in the school district and who otherwise qualifies for admission to its schools also is entitled to be admitted without payment of tuition.
Domicile and Residence Defined
Domicile requires the intent to abandon one's prior home and remain in the new location as a permanent home for an indefinite period. In contrast, a residence need not be one's exclusive home and does not require an intention that the residence be the permanent home.
Meeting Domicile Requirements
- Domicile of Students Generally
The domicile of a student under 18 years of age is presumed to be the domicile of his or her parents, legal guardian, or legal custodian as defined by the General Statutes of North Carolina.
- Domicile of Emancipated Students
If the student is at least 18 years of age or married or abandoned by his or her parents, or if the court declares a student to be emancipated, the student may establish a domicile independent from that of his or her parents, legal guardian or legal custodian. A student who establishes domicile as a result of being emancipated will be considered a domiciliary of the school district and will be entitled to the same rights and privileges of other students domiciled in the school district.
- Domicile of Students with Divorced or Separated Parents
Domicile for the purpose of school attendance will be determined by the following criteria:
- In the event that the parents are divorced or separated and physical custody has been given to only one parent, a student's domicile follows that of the parent who has been granted physical custody.
- If physical custody has not been determined or has been granted jointly to both parents, or if the custodial parent wishes the student to attend school in the non-custodial parent's district of residence, then the parents must jointly agree on which residence will be used to determine the child's domicile.
- The selection may not be changed during the school year unless the parents satisfy the Board of Education's policies on transfers and releases.
- In the event the parents cannot agree on which residence will be used to determine the child's domicile for school attendance purposes, the residence of the parent with physical custody of the child at the beginning of the school year will prevail.
Meeting Residence Requirements
A student who resides in the district in any of the following circumstances will be admitted without payment of tuition.
- The student is homeless, i.e. lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and/or has primary nighttime residence at a shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations. A student living with a friend or relative is not a homeless student. A homeless student will be assigned to a school in the attendance area where he or she is physically located or wherever the interests of the child are best met.
- The parent, guardian, or legal custodian residing in the school district attendance area is a student, employee, or faculty member of a college or university, or is a visiting scholar at the National Humanities Center.
- The student resides in a group home, foster home, or other similar facility or institution.
- The student resides with an adult who is a domiciliary of that unit, as a result of any of the following:
- the death, serious illness, or incarceration of a parent or legal guardian;
- the abandonment by a parent or legal guardian of the complete control of the student as evidenced by the failure to provide substantial financial support and parental guidance;
- abuse or neglect by the parent or legal guardian;
- the physical or mental condition of the parent or legal guardian is such that he or she cannot provide adequate care and supervision of the student; or
- the loss or uninhabitability of the student's home as the result of a natural disaster.
Parent or legal guardian is one of the following:
- On active military duty and is deployed out of the local school administrative unit in which the student resides. The term "active duty" does not include periods of active duty for training less than 30 days.
- A member or veteran of the uniformed services who is severely injured and medically
discharged or retired, but only for a period of one year after the medical discharge or retirement of the parent or guardian.
- A member of the uniformed services who dies on active duty or as a result of injuries sustained on active duty, but only for a period of one year after death. The term active duty if defined by G.S. 115-C-1407.5.
In order to be admitted under this provision, the student can not be currently under a term of suspension or expulsion from a school for conduct that could have led to a suspension or an expulsion from the local school administrative unit. The adult with whom the student resides and the student's parent, guardian, or legal custodian must complete and sign separate affidavits available through the superintendent's office attesting to information required by G.S. 115C-366(a3). If it is found that a person willfully and knowingly provided false information in the affidavit, the maker of the affidavit will be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor and will pay to the local Board of Education an amount equal to the cost of educating the student during the period of enrollment. Repayment will not include state funds.
Any student whose parent or legal guardian is a full-time employee of the Wilkes County Board of Education is exempt from the requirement to pay tuition.
Legal References: G.S. 7A, art. 56; 35A, art. 6; 50-13.1 to 13.3; 115C-110(i), -140.1, -231, -364 to -366.2
Adopted: January 9, 2006
Revised: September 8, 2014