Frequently Asked Questions
Attendance zones can be determined using the Fort Smith City GIS system. This link will provide information on the attendance zone for the elementary, junior high and high school for the address you enter. Additional valuable information for city services is also provided.
Students who live in Barling are assigned to Barling Elementary School, Chaffin Junior High School and Northside High School.
Addresses that do not provide Fort Smith School attendance information are outside the Fort Smith School District boundaries. For example, some homes in the southern most parts of Fort Smith are actually in the Greenwood School District.
State law requires that you attend the district in which your residence lies. There are limited opportunities to enroll your children in a non-resident district:
1. If you wish to attend Fort Smith Schools but live outside the district boundaries, you may complete an Application for Transfer through the provisions of Arkansas Statute 6-18-206, “Arkansas Public School of Choice Act of 2015”. A School Choice Application must be submitted to the non-resident district. If you wish to attend Fort Smith Schools, please submit your Application the Student Services Department at 3205 Jenny Lind Road, Fort Smith, AR 72902. Applications must be submitted by May 1 of each year for the following school year. This application is only needed once as long as the student remains continually enrolled in Fort Smith Public Schools. A copy of the application as well as other information regarding School Choice can be found on the Arkansas Department of Education website.
A copy of the School Choice Application may be found at the link above and submitted electronically or by coming to the Student Services Office, Fort Smith Public Schools, and completing a hard copy.
If a student residing in Fort Smith wishes to attend a school in a different district, the same process applies originating at the alternative district by submitting an “Arkansas School of Choice Act of 2015” application in the district of choice by May 1.
2. If you wish to transfer out of the Fort Smith School District to attend a neighboring school district, you must complete a District to District Transfer Form which can be obtained at the Student Services Office, Fort Smith Public Schools. This form must be completed and submitted to the Student Services Office by June 15 for the July Board meeting review and by November 15 for the December Board meeting review.
Likewise, students wishing to be allowed to attend Fort Smith Schools while living outside the district must provide the same form described above by the same dates and must include documentation that the resident district board has approved the transfer.
District to District Transfers will only be considered during the July and December School Board meetings.
In the Fort Smith School District, school assignment is based on a student’s residential address as well as capacity of one’s “home” school. Exceptions to this are explained under “Can I choose the school my child attends within the Fort Smith School District.”
In some cases, enrollment exceeds the capacity of a school to house all the students living in the attendance area. State class size limits will sometimes require that students in excess of the allowed number per class be relocated to other classes/schools in the Fort Smith School District. Those students moved to other school are referred to as “class size transfers”. The following guidelines are followed in class sizing students:
1. Any student not present or excused by an administrator for the first day of class will be considered a no-show on the first day and be removed from the class roster. A student’s spot on the roster can be held only if a parent/guardian communicates a legitimate reason to the principal before the first day of school and the principal approves the absence with spot held. Any questions about whether to hold a spot will be referred to Student Services.
2. Students will be selected for class sizing in the reverse order of registration. The last student to register will be the first student to be class sized to a school with sufficient capacity.
3. An attempt will be made to transfer class size students to the nearest school where space is available.
4. Class sized students will be provided transportation.
5. Siblings of class sized students will be granted a “sibling transfer” to keep siblings in the same school if spots are available. If spots are not available, effort will be given to find spots for siblings at a school with appropriate seats available.
6. Sibling transfers will be offered transportation.
7. Parents may volunteer their child to be class sized if it is evident before the first day of school that registered students exceed capacity. The parent may name the school they wish to be transferred to and an attempt will be made to meet that request if space is available at the requested school. Volunteers will not be class sized if their home school is not over capacity.
8. Class sized students will be placed on a “wait list” and recalled to their home school as space becomes available in the same order of registration. The last to register will be last to be recalled.
9. If a parent does not want the placement given when a student is class sized and would like a different school, that parent may contact student services and effort will be given to place them where they prefer dependent on space availability.
10. At the end of the academic year, class sized students will be offered the opportunity to indicate the desire to spend a second year at the school to which they were class sized but transportation will not be provided. Siblings will not be afforded the second year at the school but may apply for an Attendance Area Exception which is described below.
Unfortunately, we cannot predict how long a child will remain on a wait list to be recalled. This depends on openings occurring due to other students leaving the school Students will be recalled in the order they originally registered.
Students attending a school other than the one whose zone (attendance area) they live in are referred to as Attendance Area Exceptions. The following guidelines are used in granting Attendance Area Exceptions (AAE).
Elementary Attendance Area Exceptions (AAE)
1. Elementary Attendance Area Exceptions (AAE) will be issued on the eleventh day (August 28, 2023) of the school year until the 20 school days after the 11th day (September 25, 2023). According to Arkansas class size standards, all AAEs will be issued based on space availability.
2. All elementary AAEs will be valid for one school year as long as the student is continually enrolled. If a student drops from enrollment, AAE application will have to be renewed at the next appropriate time.
Secondary Attendance Area Exceptions (AAE)
1. Middle school AAEs will be issued beginning May 23, 2023, for the 2023-2024 school year until 20 days after the first day of school (September 11, 2023). Due to high enrollment, spots are limited. Secondary students must complete AAE transfers by July 1, 2023, to be eligible to participate in athletics and activities.
2. Due to high enrollment, AAEs may be limited or not allowed to some secondary schools.
3. All secondary AAEs will be valid as long as the student remains in the assigned school and maintains good attendance and discipline.
4. Student wishing to participate in varsity sports not provided at the junior high campuses will be allowed to complete an AAE anytime following the 8th grade year for the 10th grade assignment of a school. Students choosing this option will need to communicate with the Director of Athletics and complete a Declaration of Intent to insure eligibility ongoing.
Online enrollment forms or registration packet AND
Required Enrollment Documentation
1. Copy of the student’s social security card or a signed and notarized social security waiver including a number assigned in place of the student’s social security number. This form can be provided in the Student Services Office.
2. The student’s age must be verified using one of the following documents (ACA 6-18-208):
a. State issued birth certificate,
b. A statement by the local registrar or a county recorder certifying the child’s date of birth,
c. An attested baptismal certificate,
d. A passport,
e. An affidavit of the date and place of birth by the child’s parent or guardian,
f. Previous school records,
g. United States military identification.
3. An up-to-date immunization card.
4. Proof of residence can be accomplished by providing:
a. One of the following:
i. A current utility bill (within 30 days), gas or electric, showing the name and address of the student’s legal guardian within the attendance zone of the school to attend. If this is provided, no other documentation is needed.
ii. A home purchase contract including specific closing date with a copy of the deed to be provided within 90 days.
iii. Home visit to the address for verification by a designated school official.
b. Families living in a situation where these documents are in another’s name will need to provide a signed written statement from the residence provider attesting to the family living at the address along with a utility bill in the owner’s name. The letter will need to be provided to the Student Services’ office where a Resident Statement affidavit can be signed and notarized for the parent/guardian swearing to the claimed living address. Students qualifying as “homeless” will be afforded all rights granted in the federal McKinney Vento Homeless Assistance Law.
c. An approved School Choice application/letter.
d. Documentation of an approved transfer within the district – class size or attendance area exception.
e. Documentation of an approved transfer from the school boards of the resident and receiving district.
f. An independent investigation may be made to confirm or deny the verification of any claimed address when seen as needed by school administration.
Fort Smith Schools does allow parents to enroll based on a contract with a future completion or closing date provided the completion date is within 90 days. An “In Process Affidavit” will need to be completed to use as proof of residency for the enrollment process. This can be obtained at the Student Services Office. A current signed contract and picture id will be required to complete the form. Once the family has occupied the residence, parents will need to follow up by providing two current utility bills to the registrar at your child’s school to complete the process.