Press Release

Bill Making District of Choice a Permanent Program in California Passes Senate Education Committee

Sacramento, CalifSenate Bill 897 (SB 897) to solidify and expand the District of Choice (DOC) Program passed unanimously with a 7-0 bipartisan vote in the Senate Education committee.  The bill, authored by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) will remove the program’s sunset, expand enrollment eligibility, and enhance funding allocations for disadvantaged students.

Initially introduced in 1993, the District of Choice Program has empowered more than 9,600 K-12 students across 45 school districts in California to attend their district of choice, regardless of their home address. SB 897 eliminates restrictive caps on enrollment and prioritizes admission for foster and homeless youth. The bill opens the door for even more students to access high-quality public educational opportunities tailored to their needs.

The bipartisan bill, co-authored by Senator Richard Roth (D-Riverside) and Senator Roger Niello (R-Roseville), also safeguards the integrity of the DOC program by preserving oversight measures that shield districts from excessive transfers. These measures ensure that the program’s expansion doesn’t compromise the financial stability or diversity of the districts, fostering equity and fairness for all.

SB 897 also removes the current sunset provision for the DOC program, providing much-needed stability and predictability for students, families, and school districts. This allows families to confidently plan their child’s educational journey, while districts can strategically allocate resources and develop innovative programs without the looming uncertainty.

“I believe that every student deserves access to high-quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances,” said Senator Newman. “This bill is a crucial step towards creating a more inclusive and equitable public education system – one where all students have the opportunity to grow and thrive.”

Comprehensive evaluations by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) have found that DOC has successfully provided students access to additional courses and programs, including college preparatory courses and programs in the arts, music, and foreign languages. The LAO also showed that students not participating still benefit as home districts responded to the dynamic by implementing new courses and programs.

By expanding and strengthening the District of Choice program, SB 897 empowers families to make informed choices about their children’s education, fosters vibrant educational communities, and promotes academic excellence statewide.

To schedule an interview with Senator Newman, contact Brian Wheatley at 916.651.4029.


State Senator Josh Newman represents the 29th Senate District, which is comprised of portions of Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Bernardino County. The 29th District includes all or parts of the cities of Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Chino Hills, City of Industry, Cypress, Diamond Bar, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Placentia, Rowland Heights, Stanton, Walnut, West Covina and Yorba Linda. Senator Newman is a former United States Army officer, businessperson, and veterans’ advocate, and lives in Fullerton with his wife and daughter.