The following timeline applies to all students who are eligible for district-provided transportation under the Student Assignment Plan framework for their grade level.
School Placement Process
January – School Selection Applications
The school selection process begins in January. Any student at the final grade in his/her building (transition grade) will receive a school selection form for the following school year and may apply to attend non-neighborhood schools. Students in non-transition grades can also use the school selection process to apply to another school for the following year. A student can select three option schools to apply to and should mark if he/she has a sibling that is currently enrolled and will continue to be enrolled at his/her school the following year. Space in all buildings is limited and applications will only be approved where there is space available. A sibling is defined as a child residing in the same household on a permanent basis who have the same parent/guardian or who are stepbrother or stepsister to each other.
February – School Selection Processing
All school selection applications received by the deadline, are processed in a lottery using the placement criteria outlined on page 9. The school district uses staffing projections, student enrollment projections and facility space available to determine the number of open seats available at each school and each grade. The District aims to staff efficiently and in many instances, there is no additional space for a student who would like to attend outside his/her neighborhood. However, regardless of projected space, a neighborhood student is guaranteed placement if he/she requests their neighborhood school.
All applications are processed using an app built into the school district’s student information system, Infinite Campus. For each grade, all first option applications are processed and students are approved if there is existing space or if space has opened because of another student’s move. Once all possible movements have been made at each grade level, first option selection is closed and the process is repeated for second and third option schools. The District attempts to place as many students in their first option school as possible, but because second and third option movement can open a seat at some locations, a second or third option student could get in over a first option student.
Placement Criteria – Elementary and Middle School
The placement criteria described below is for elementary and middle schools and seeks to prioritize students living in the school’s neighborhood, siblings of currently enrolled students who will be enrolled the following year, providing transportation within the partner zone and allowing for diverse choices via a socioeconomic split line. This “line” splits schools into two groups based on socioeconomic data like census poverty rates, median household income, and school free/ reduced lunch participation rates.
1. Neighborhood school – placement is guaranteed.
2. Students who have a sibling currently enrolled at the requested school and will continue to be enrolled for the next school year. First, siblings residing with the partner zone and second, siblings residing outside the partner zone (not eligible for transportation).
3. Students residing in the partner zone – OPS remains committed to diversity in our schools. Applications are prioritized within the partner zone between schools with significantly different neighborhood characteristics.
4. Students residing outside the partner zone (not eligible for transportation) – applications are prioritized for any remaining space between schools with significantly different neighborhood characteristics.
Placement Criteria – High Schools
The placement criteria at the high school level is tied to a student’s self-reported lunch eligibility on the school selection application.
1. Neighborhood student – placement is guaranteed
2. Sibling – integrative to application school
3. Sibling – not integrative to application school
4. Sibling – no lunch eligibility reported
5. Integrative to application school
6. Not integrative to application school
7. No lunch eligibility reported
March – School Selection Notification
A student in a transition grade and those who submitted a school selection application are notified of his/her school selection results through U.S. mail.
April 15 – Student Transfer Requests (STRs)
For students who did not go through school selection or whose circumstances have changed, the student transfer request process opens for school enrollment changes for the following year. These requests are processed as they are submitted and approval is subject to available space at each building and grade level. Students whose requests are granted before June 15 and are eligible for transportation under the student assignment plan framework will be included in the transportation routing process.
May – Student Transfer Requests Continue
Student transfer requests continue to be processed.
June 15 – Student Transfer Requests and Transportation Routing Deadline
Elementary and middle school students – all enrollment and address changes for the following school year made prior to June 15 will be included in the transportation routing process. Stops may continue to be added for a student who enrolls at a school within his/her partner zone or change addresses after this date if there is a bus (with space) and a stop available on that route within the appropriate distance to the student’s home. Stop additions will not be made when it will extend the ride time beyond one-hour.
High school students – all enrollment and address changes for the following school year made prior to June 15 will be included in the transportation routing process. Students who make school or address changes after this date for the following year will only be eligible for transportation if there is a bus (with space) and a stop available on that route within the appropriate distance to the student’s home.
July – Student Transfer Requests Limited Transportation Eligibility
Student transfer requests continue to be processed but transportation eligibility is limited to already established stops.
August – December – Student Transfer Requests and Enrollment Fair
The annual OPS Enrollment Fair occurs the week prior to the first week of school and continues through the first week of school. The fair is designed to 1) assist students who are new to the school district and have not enrolled at a school and 2) assist current students who have experienced a change in residence. The enrollment fair takes place at Teacher Administrative Center (3215 Cuming St.).
The Omaha Public Schools strives to protect the academic integrity of coursework once a semester has begun. Research shows that students, who change schools while a term is in session, run the risk of substantial academic problems. Once a term is in session, student movement between schools will be restricted. The approval of a STR is subject to:
- space availability at the requested school
- the student’s academic achievement
- the student’s conduct, and
- the time of the year when the STR is submitted
The provision of transportation is a service offered to students – not a right. Misconduct may lead to the removal of this service at the discretion of school authorities. Student behavior expectations are outlined in the Student Code of Conduct located in the school’s Student Handbook.
The student assignment plan framework at each grade level determines general education transportation eligibility.
After-school transportation is provided by OPS for students who qualify for transportation to and from school. After-school transportation is requested in advance by the school with the after-school activity. Pick-up/drop-off points are designated bus stops as determined by the OPS Transportation Department and may not be the student’s normally scheduled bus stop.
Transportation Distance/Walk Zones
A student is only eligible for district-provided transportation if he/she is eligible under the Student Assignment Plan framework and lives outside of the walk zone for that school. The walk zone for each school is determined by the shortest walk distance from the designated location at each school to the student’s residential address. Distances can only be determined by the OPS Transportation Department. A student is considered eligible if he/she resides:
- >1.0-mile from an elementary school
- >1.5-miles from a middle school
- >3.0-miles if attending the neighborhood high school of Benson, North, Northwest and South
- >1.0-mile if attending a non-neighborhood high school
Bus Stop Placement
A student who is eligible for district-provided transportation will be assigned a corner bus stop based on his/her school’s grade level:
- .16-mile or less for an elementary school
- .32-mile or less for a middle school
- .48-mile or less for a high school
Note: .08-mile is approximately one city block.
Bus stops must be within these distance thresholds when adding a student to a route after the June 15 transportation routing deadline.
General education pick-up and drop-off stop locations must be the same for a.m. and p.m.
A student in elementary and middle school must be eligible for transportation from his/her primary residence under the Student Assignment Plan framework to request daycare transportation. A student is eligible if his/her residence, daycare and enrollment school are within the same partner zone and if:
- both addresses are >1.0-mile from the enrollment school for elementary students, and
- both addresses are >1.5-miles from the enrollment school for middle school students.
The following additional guidelines must be met:
- Pick-up and drop-off stop locations must be the same for a.m. and p.m.
- The request must be submitted to the OPS Student Placement Office for review. Requests made prior to June 15 have a much higher likelihood of being accommodated due to the transportation routing deadline. The approval of each request is not guaranteed and will be made on a case-by-case basis.
- Upon approval, the student will receive a letter of confirmation with specific bus and schedule information.
Alternative Schools and Programs
Alternative schools and programs are not covered by the student placement and transportation guidelines outlined in the student assignment plan framework. For special education students placed in the schools or programs listed below, transportation is determined by their Individual Education Plan (IEP), and if eligible, is provided by the school district.
- Integrated Learning Program (ILP) at Saratoga (K-12)
- J.P. Lord (K-12)
- Transition Program (multiple locations)
For students attending the alternative high school programs listed below, transportation is not provided by the school district unless specified by a student’s IEP.
- Accelere’ (9-12)
- Gateway to College (9-12)
- Independent Study Center (9-12)
- Secondary Success Program (6-8 or 7-8)
- UNO Middle College Program (9-12)
- Blackburn (9-12)
For students attending the alternative high school programs listed below, transportation is provided by the school district as described.
- Parrish Expelled (6-12 or 7-12) – Students are transported to and from designated bus stop locations that are determined by school administration each year.
- Teen Literacy Center (9-12) – Students must live >2.0-miles from the school at 3215 Cuming Street. Transportation to the Teen Literacy Center is also subject to the school placement and transportation routing deadline and the time of year a student selects or changes schools.
Special Education Student Assignment
The Omaha Public Schools offers a variety of high-quality services to students with disabilities from birth through the school year in which the student turns 21. Parents and families work with school staff to develop and Individual Education Plan (IEP) or an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) that addresses the needs of the student. Special Education programs and services are available at each building in the school district. Some programs are available at selected sites and we bring students to a particular location for specialized, intensive, remedial instruction. As a part of the student assignment plan, students who participate in special education have the same school options as all other students, unless they require a self-contained education program or specific treatment that is only offered at designated schools. The location of self-contained classrooms is spread throughout the school district and exists in most partner zones. The Special Education Department attempts to place students in their neighborhood school where possible and within their partner zone where it is not. Transportation for special education students is determined by their IEP and if eligible, provided by the school district. For more information on special education services, please contact the Special Education Department at (531) 299-0244.
ESL Student Assignment
The Omaha Public Schools serves students from diverse backgrounds that speak more than 114 different languages. The school district provides English as a Second Language (ESL) to students who speak a language other than English to assist in the transition into mainstream classes. As a part of the student assignment plan, students that require ESL instruction have the same school options as all other students, unless they have had limited or interrupted formal schooling in the native country, and must attend the Teen Literacy Center (TLC). All regular elementary, middle and high schools in OPS provide ESL services. The student placement and transportation guidelines of the assignment plan apply to all students receiving ESL services at a regular school building. Any student, who attends the TCL program at the Teacher Administrative Center, is eligible for transportation if he/she lives more than 2.0-miles from the school. Transportation to the Teen Literacy Center is also subject to the school placement and transportation routing timeline and the time of year a student selects or changes schools. For more information on English as a Second Language services, please contact the ESL Department at (531) 299-0259.
Nebraska Option Enrollment and Learning Community Open Enrollment
For rules and regulations regarding Open and Option Enrollment please contact the Student Placement Office at (531) 299-0302 and see the Nebraska Department of Education’s Frequently Asked Questions: