Does state law require public schools to be "open to all"?
Does state law mandate "equality of educational opportunity"?
Do the courts recognize education as a fundamental right?
Yes—Skeen v. Minnesota (1993)
Art. 13 § 1.The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it is the duty of the legislature to establish a general and uniform system of public schools.The legislature shall make such provisions by taxation or otherwise as will secure a thorough and efficient system of public schools throughout the state.
In Minnesota, attendance zones could be vulnerable to an equal protection challenge and strict scrutiny review, because the MN Supreme Court has ruled education to be a fundamental right.
Minn. Stat. § 120A.36:“Attendance at a particular public school is a privilege not a right for a pupil.”
Minn. Stat. § 124D.03 establishes a cross-district open enrollment program, but districts may limit open enrollment slots to no more than 1% of students in each grade level or the number of its own residents enrolled in nonresident districts at a particular grade level.Where school districts receive more applications than spaces, a lottery is required.
State Law Establishing Attendance Zones
Minn. Stat. § 123B.02 (2): “The [independent school district] board may establish and organize and alter and discontinue such grades or schools as it may deem advisable and assign to each school and grade a proper number of pupils.”
State Law Criminalizing Use Of Incorrect Address
Minn. Stat. § 120A.26 states that parents found to be sending their child to a school the student does not have a right to attend based on residency (per § 120A.22) in the school district may be subject to a “fact-finding and mediation process” and ultimately prosecution for a misdemeanor if mediation fails.
Charter School Admissions
Charter schools are forbidden from discriminating against students based on their residential address.The exception is schools that serve a majority of students who are members of underserved populations; these schools are allowed to limit enrollment to a specific “geographic area.” Minn. Stat. § 124E.11