Transferring out of the West Contra Costa County School District

Parent Q&A

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  • Transfer out of WCCUSD to AUSD or BUSD

    (6 replies)

    Hello! We are trying to figure out my sons schooling (he will be entering Kindergarten in 2-3 years) and are wondering if a district transfer from WCCUSD to AUSD or BUSD is a possibility. I saw some previous posts about people wanting to transfer in high school but am curious about elementary school/middle school. If one applies, is it safe to assume that the transfer will be approved? And if it is approved, do you have to re apply every year, with the chance that it may not be re-approved? Any experience people have with this and that they would be willing to share would be really appreciated! We are trying to figure out if we want to stay in the area, or sell and move- and schools are playing into the decision. Thank you! 

    You'll want to start by reviewing the eligible reasons you can request an inter-district transfer. The most common reason for elementary is that a parent works in the other city and needs to be able to pick the child up there, or that your childcare is located in the other city. You'll need to submit proof of whichever situation applies. You can also try requesting a transfer based on access to a specific program (e.g., language immersion), but you typically have to show that your home district does not offer the program at any of their schools. I can't immediately think of anything that meets that criteria at the elementary level in BUSD or AUSD, but there may be something. Once transfers are approved, they're usually re-approved each year that your child is at the same school--then you'd have to apply again when transitioning to the next level of schooling (i.e., middle).

    You are worrying about this way too early. The written policies never change but the way they are applied definitely changes year to year. In general, you have to have a legitimate reason for requesting a release from your home district (before you request a transfer INTO another district) such as sibling attendance, continuation, academic program offered that's not available in the home district, or parent works in the other district/area. The middle two won't apply for someone entering K. (And it sounds like this is your eldest, so the first one won't apply) So you have a couple years for one parent to get employed in your desired transfer area. Even then, it's not a guarantee the release will be approved but it's a solid chance.

    Acceptance into the receiving district varies by current enrollment. No real way to know today how full they will be in 2-3 years.

    Over the last few years it has been very difficult to get approval from WCCUSD to "release" kids, since they are paid per student. This is anecdotal, but will be the first hurdle to a transfer. That being said, we have been happy with WCCUSD for K and 1st!

    Two of the responses are not giving accurate information. I am a WCCUSD-residing parent with a student on a legal interdistrict transfer to AUSD that was approved in 2020 for the school year starting 20-21. There was zero problem getting released from WCCUSD because we had a legitimate reason and checked the right box. We do not have to "reapply" each year, including the recent year where my student moved up to a new AUSD school. You simply have to return a piece of paper annually to each district that says you want to continue the transfer. They send you the form, you return it. No complaints about either district's process; they both follow the rules as laid out in Ed Code.

    As long as you meet one of the listed criteria, WCCUSD will approve the transfer out of the district. The approval letter clearly explains this is for the following school year only and you have to reapply every year (the application has a box for new applicant and one for renewal). For the transfer in part, each school district has their own criteria and priorities. However, you likely won't get to choose the elementary or middle school. They can assign you whichever school has opening, if there is opening at all. At the high school level, Berkeley high is popular among Oakland residents and kids often would find out late in the summer or even after school begins in the fall.

    My son was also approved for an intra-district transfer from WCCUSD to AUSD in 2020 -2021 and I know of 3 other families who were also approved during this time. I think during the pandemic it was much easier to get approved. My reason for requesting transfer was that our assigned WCCUSD school was identified for program improvement. Once you're granted a transfer, you're basically guaranteed renewal but you DO have to reapply for the permit every February as a formality.  This year it seems it is much more difficult to get released from WCCUSD. I know of 3 families who applied for transfer based on "parent preference", they even filed appeals but were ultimately all denied release. AUSD is currently accepting transfer students in all grades but WCCUSD will not release you unless you have a very specific reason. (ie: work in Albany, childcare in Albany, sibling attending, specific program, continuing student). 

      I also know many families who love their neighborhood WCCUSD schools, either way I'm sure you'll be able to find a happy solution. 

  • How hard is it to get approval for an inter-district transfer out of WCC, and how hard is it for BUSD to accept it for high school? Should we even try? My kid wants to attend BIHS if he can get in within BHS so it’s a specific program the HS we are zoned for does not have. That’s the reason for the transfer request. What has been your experience with these two districts granting such transfers? Advice appreciated. Thank you. 

    It sounds like you are in good shape for your release request. We have an authorized transfer (from WCCUSD to a different district) and cited a program not offered within WCCSD. We had no problems with the WCCUSD transfer office. However, I don't know how open BUSD is to receiving transfers. Looking forward to the answers as I also have a WCCUSD child who wants to go to BHS (in a couple years).

    Hi, there. My information is pretty old - and I see another responder who has more recent experience, nevertheless... Our late BUSD middle school coach tried to transfer his kids into BUSD from WCCSD a few years back. The transfer was approved from the BUSD side (he was an employee of the after school program), but WCCSD wouldn't release the transfers. So, no go. 

    Another important consideration is that BHS Independent Study - which is a brilliant program - does fill up; they have limited openings. So, if you do get the transfer approved from both sides, there still may not be room in IS.

    Best of luck.

    I have no first hand experience as a transfer but I have kids at BHS. BUSD's enrollment is down 6% thanks to  horrific distance learning last year and those students haven't made their way back to the district. I don't know about the numbers at the high school - it feels as crowded as ever. You don't mention your son's age. You may know this, but BHS does universal 9th grade and at the end of that year, they rank which small school they want. It isn't a guarantee, although from what I understand, BIHS is pretty easy to get into. 

    BUSD, like most CA districts, is hungry for students, so it's definitely worth trying. 

  • Hi,

    Currently, we live in Richmond, and my son already transfers to a school at Pinole, (kindergarten).
    I just wonder will any mommy know will he automatically get transfer later in the road to Pinole middle and HS? because we are looking for housing now but the market is still a bit hot, the closest city we can afford is El Sobrante, but I really wish to keep him in Pinole.

    Thank you

    You will definitely have to reapply for middle and high school. Per the WCCUSD transfer form: "Student will be able to stay at approved school site until the highest grade." In my experience, we knew many families whose transfers for middle and high school were denied for lack of space as the desired school.

    You will need to put in an intra district transfer for the middle and high school as well. The district does not automatically transfer to middle or high school. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Can an El Cerrito kid attend Albany middle school?

July 2014

Our boy is entering 4th grade at Madera Elementary in EC and I wonder if there is a way to legally attend Albany middle school in a few years. Has anyone here done that? Thanks El Cerrito family

The Albany USD website has a good description of how interdistrict transfers work.

Yes, they grant many transfers, but they give priority to parents who have some connection to Albany. Top priority goes to people who work for AUSD, then employees of the city of Albany, then to folks who own a business in Albany.

I live in El Cerrito and know many people who've sent their kids to Albany schools--but they've always fit in to one of the above-mentioned categories. I think it's unlikely that you'd get a spot if you aren't working in Albany in some capacity. EC mom

The answer is hard. Legally, you need to live there with established residency and re-verify your address every year. Or, you can apply for an inter-district transfer with preference given to AUSD employees, city of Albany employees, Albany business owners, and then everyone else.

I'd like to invite you to listen in on our community, where we really have a lot of great things happening. email us at portolaptsa [at] to be added to our e tree.

Is it perfect? No. But really, it isn't what you think it is. -Hoping you'll join us.

What are the chances to transfer to a different school?

May 2013

Hello! We are in the West Contra Costa school district and are interested in requesting a transfer to a different elementary school. Is it just impossible to get a transfer to Harding? If so, we are looking at Olinda, Hanna Ranch, Ellerhorst, Lupine Hills, Highland, Valley View... Does anyone out there know the chances of getting transfers to those schools, or have recommendations for a certain school or navigating the process? Thank you so much for any information or tips! New to all this

The availability of transfers/open spots seems to vary quite a bit from year to year in these schools, from what I've observed. Some years there are lots of spaces, other years not so much at the very same school (either because more local kids go that year, or because they reduce the number of classes that are open that year, etc.) So, I can't answer which schools in particular have openings this year. But I hope this isn't for the upcoming school year: the period for requesting transfers in WCCUSD is in February. If you are looking for the upcoming school year (2013-4), I'd contact the WCCUSD transfer office ASAP to find out what the possibilities are. --wccusd mama


How to transfer high schools?

Feb 2012


My son is assigned to attend De Anza HIgh School, in Richmond. (We are a few scant blocks from the El Cerrito High assignment, but close only counts with horse shoes.)

De Anza gets a Great Schools score of 4; we're trying to figure out our options. Does anyone know how one can request a transfer to a different high school - and get it? Meaning, I understand the process of going through the Richmond Transfer Office - but what kind of request will they honor? Will ''We want a better high school for our son'' cut the mustard?

If not, does anyone know of an East Bay public high school that teaches German? My son has taken German for the past three years in middle school, and it would be reasonable to ask to be transferred to a high school that offers German.

Thanks for your help! Hoping for a good high school

I don't know how the process works to transfer out of Richmond into another district. My friends who have transferred out of Oakland first secured a place at another school, then went to the Oakland School District for a release. Sometimes the district doesn't want to release kids, and I have no idea how tough Richmond is on the score, so be prepared for that.

As for German, Campolindo High School in Moraga has an excellent German program. It is ridiculously good, in fact. I know kids have transferred in from Richmond and El Sobrante before, but I'm not sure it was for German. The commute isn't too bad if you take San Pablo Dam Road. The high school district out here has endured pretty rough budget cuts the past few years and have cut back course offerings and put teachers on furlough days. So, I'm not sure if they have the openings to accept kids from out of district. (Again, just giving you the background.)

I know a kid who was able to transfer into Miramonte from Oakland because she wanted her International Baccalaureate and no Oakland schools offered it at that time (that might have changed in recent years). If that would interest your kid and your district doesn't offer it, that could be an avenue for transfer. Berkeley High has an IB program as well.

Would renting out your house and then moving and renting in a better high school area for the duration of high school be an option for you? Many people do that.

We knew a family from El Cerrito whose son transferred to a high school in Orinda or Moraga around 2006 because it was the only local public high school they could find that offered German. Don't know if that's still true-- don't know if you want him to travel so far. Good luck with this!

De Anza is undergoing a major renovation and will have a brand spanking new school in a year or so. It might be worth staying, perhaps the new building will usher in a new culture and encourage good teachers and committed families to make De Anza their home. De Anza's score would be higher if families within it's attendance radius stayed on to support it. Also the score of a school doesn't necessarily mean your child will have a negative experience there. Focused students with strong family support can take advantage of AP classes and rise to the top. Think of a big fish in a little pond. Kids go on to very competitive colleges from there.

That being said, if you are bound and determined to go ahead with a transfer, academic accommodations are valid reasons. If there is a specific program offered at school other then your assigned one, that is important to your child's personal educational goals such as Latin, German, Public speaking, Architectural Drafting, etc, then that is a legitimate reason to be granted a transfer. You have to do a little research, call around, ask to see course listings. The district has a vested interest in keeping your ADA dollars within it's borders at any of its high schools. They would prefer that to having you leave the district all together via an inter-district transfer, which, incidentally, is a 2 step process, needing permission from the old district to leave and then getting permission from the new district to attend; or, gasp, pulling your child out of the public system all together. Good Luck Well wisher

Hi: Castro Valley High School has a healthy high school German program.

My son is a sophomore at Campolindo Highschool in Moraga and we transferred into the Acalanes school district, to which Campo belongs, from the MT. Diablo school district. Just like in your case, I wanted my son to learn German, so I thought it would be an easy process. Not so. It was a nightmare. First, MT. Diablo did not want to release our son even though he had never been in this school district because he had been in private school all his life; they denied our release. Their reasoning was ''we need every dollar in the district and learning German is a 'nice to have' not a 'must have'''. I appealed and literally went to the district offices and told them I would not leave untill they released him, so they finally did. Then it took a long time before I heard that he got accepted at Campolindo. They needed transcripts, attendance records, any disciplinary records, etc. from his middle school. We did not find out until right before summer vacation that he was finally in. My son loves it at Campo, and Mr. Blumberg, or Herr ''B'' as they all call him (head of the German department) is fabulous. It was well worth the fight but we ended up renting out our house and moving to Lafayette because my son wanted to be closer to his friends - he felt disconnected. Knowing what I know now I would have just moved. it gets harder and harder to get a transfer because schools don't want to loose dollars. Mom of German student