Act 129 of 2012

The first public high school choice law, Act 150, was passed in 2000. It required each high school to join with at least one other school to form a choice region. Students were allowed to attend only schools within the region. In Act 129 of 2012, the legislature made school choice statewide by allowing students to apply to attend any other high school in the state, effective in School Year 2013 - 2014. Schools are allowed to limit the number of students who may transfer from a school, with a cap of 10 percent of resident students or 40, whichever is smaller; schools may set higher limits. Schools are also required to determine annually their capacity to receive students, using a variety of criteria, although there are is no numerical or percentage formula. If more students want to transfer out of − or enroll into − a school than there are places available, nondiscriminatory lotteries are used. The law provides no funding for transportation, and, unless schools agree otherwise, no tuition or other charges changes hands. Act 129 of 2012 is included in Vermont's Statutes, at Title 16, Section 822a.

In addition, other laws provide school choice options in Vermont, the most important of which are those allowing that tuition be paid by towns of residence if they do not have schools at certain grade levels and if they are not part of supervisory unions.

Public High School Choice Resources

School Contacts; Transfer Limits and Capacity to Receive Students

Guidance (December 2012)

This document covers aspects of the prior high school choice law that have not changed and important parts of the new law; it also highlights how the new law will be implemented.

Frequently Asked Questions (December 2012)

This is a concise question and answer document describing how public high school choice works in Vermont.

MEMO: Limits on Students Transferring from Schools (December 2012)

This document describes the law − and the process, including the use of lotteries, if needed − allowing school boards to limit the number of students who will be allowed to transfer from schools to other schools. If a student is selected for a transfer, the next step is to learn whether the school the student wishes to attend has enough capacity to accept the student.

Report on Act 129 of 2012, Section 34: An Act Relating to Making Technical Corrections and Other Miscellaneous Changes to Education Law (January 31, 2013)

MEMO: Schools' Capacity to Receive Students (December 2012)

This document describes the criteria school boards may use in determining their schools' capacity to receive students from other schools, including the use of lotteries if needed.

Map of Vermont's Public High Schools

This new map was designed by the Agency of Education and includes all public high schools in the state, including a mileage chart.

Archived Annual Reports (2003-2008)


Complete Text of Title 16, Section 822a, Public High School Choice

Use this link to view the complete text of the public high school choice law on the Vermont Legislature's Web site.

Legal Memorandum on Title 16, Section 822a, Public High School Choice

The Agency provides this comprehensive document, outlining what has changed − and what has not − in public high school choice as a result of the legislature's passing Title 16, Section 822a in the spring of 2012.

Other Laws & Resources

Other School Choice Options in Vermont (December 2012)

This document is a summary of other choice options, including the legal residence of a student's parents if separated, and school boards' general authority to accept students from other towns. It also describes the legal framework within which towns − which do not operate schools or are not part of union districts − pay tuition for their students to attend other public schools or approved independent schools.

Public School Choice in Vermont - A Report to the Vermont General Assembly by the Vermont State Board of Education (January 19, 1999)

To support its intent to institute a statewide program of public school choice in grades 9-12 by the year 2000-2001, the General Assembly asked the State Board of Education to work with interested groups and individuals to produce implementation plans for consideration by future legislatures and policy makers. Legislators acknowledged a number of "complexities" to be addressed, and stated a number of "policies" to be considered.


Trevor Lewis at or (802) 479-1754

Page Last Updated on December 4, 2014