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—Scott v. Virginia (1994)
Art. 8 § 1. The General Assembly shall provide for a system of free public elementary and secondary schools for all children of school age throughout the Common- wealth, and shall seek to ensure that an educational program of high quality is established and continually maintained.
In Virginia, attendance zones could be vulnerable to an equal protection challenge and strict scrutiny review, because the VA Supreme Court has ruled education to be a fundamental right.
Voluntary for districts.Va. Code § 22.1-7.1
State Law Establishing Attendance Zones
Va. Code § 22.1-79 states that school boards shall “provide for the consolidation of schools or redistricting of school boundaries or adopt pupil assignment plans whenever such procedure will contribute to the efficiency of the school division.”
State Law Criminalizing Use Of Incorrect Address
Va. Code § 22.1-264.1: “Any person who knowingly makes a false statement concerning the residency of a child, as determined by § 22.1-3, in a particular school division or school attendance zone, for the purposes of (i) avoiding the tuition charges authorized by § 22.1-5 or (ii) enrollment in a school outside the attendance zone in which the student resides, shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor and shall be liable to the school division in which the child was enrolled as a result of such false statements for tuition charges, pursuant to § 22.1-5, for the time the student was enrolled in such school division.”
Charter School Admissions
Charter schools are forbidden from discriminating against students based on their residential address within the “school division,” which is VA’s term for a school district or jurisdiction.Va. Code § 22.1- 212.6