School Assignment/Variance

Students enrolled in Henrico County Public Schools are expected to attend the schools within their zone of residency unless they have been accepted to either an HCPS regional or divisionwide educational program. Parents and guardians may only apply for a variance within stated deadlines to request that their children attend a school outside their attendance zone for reasons allowed by HCPS policies and regulations.

The HCPS variance policies and regulations below describe reasons Henrico County residents and nonresidents may request a variance:

Variance Application Deadlines:

  • For students currently enrolled in HCPS and employees currently working for HCPS, variance applications for the next school year must be submitted during the second semester of the current school year. Applications will not be accepted after the last school day of the current school year (June 9, 2023 for the 2023-24 school year).

  • Exception: Families who move into Henrico County after the last school day of a school year must enroll their child in their school of residence, and have 30 calendar days following the date of enrollment to submit a completed variance request form to the principal of their school of residence.

  • Exception: Newly hired HCPS employees may submit variance requests within 30 calendar days of their hire date.

  • Exception: Families who move within Henrico County during a school year may apply for a variance to request that students finish the school year at the school where they began the year.

  • Exception: Families who move outside of Henrico County during a school year may apply for a variance to request that students in grades K-11 finish the semester in which the move occurred. Seniors may complete the year with a tuition-based variance.

Variance Application Process for Henrico Residents:

To apply for a variance that meets the criteria listed in HCPS policies and regulations, parents and guardians should submit a completed variance application to the principal of their “home school” (school of residence). Families should contact the school within their zone of residency with any questions about the variance application.

Updated Aug. 8, 2023

Some variance requests require additional documentation to be submitted with the variance application:

  • To request a variance for a family member to provide child care, the Family Member Childcare Variance Supplemental Form must also be submitted to the home school.

  • To request a variance for a documented medical need, submit to the home school at least one recent letter from a doctor (a mental health doctor if a psychological or psychiatric reason is cited) and a signed Release/Exchange of Confidential Information.

  • To request a variance to attend a school in the zone where a family is contracted to move within 90 days, submit a copy of a legally binding contract for the construction or completion of an apartment or home, or the lease or purchase agreement of an apartment or home. Submitted documents must be signed by all parties and free of contingencies.

Nonresident HCPS employees who are in a permanent full-time position, permanent part-time position or temporary position that is benefits-eligible, may apply for a tuition-based variance to have their child(ren) attend an HCPS school. The nonresident HCPS employee variance application is available through The Locker intranet network and is accessible to employees logged into the HCPS network. (See HCPS Regulation P6-03-004R for more information about the admission of nonresident students.) For the 2023-24 school year, the Henrico School Board has approved the waiver of nonresident student per capita tuition (approximately $6,000) for the children of nonresident HCPS employees who enroll in Henrico County Public Schools pursuant to an approved variance. Pursuant to HCPS Policy P6-03-004 and Section 22.1-5 of the Code of Virginia, families of nonresident students attending HCPS schools on an approved variance will be charged the actual cost of special education services and gifted and talented services.

Change in Residency 

Variance requests involving a move must be accompanied by proof of residency. Pursuant to HCPS Policy P6-03-002, “within 10 business days of a change in domicile (recent move), the parent/legal guardian shall be required to provide valid and current residency documentation to each school in which they have a child enrolled.” If a family is found to be out of compliance with residency guidelines, they are ineligible to apply for a variance (see HCPS Regulation 06-03-011-R).

Pursuant to § 22.1-264.1 of the Code of Virginia, 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 purpose of (1) avoiding the tuition charged authorized by § 22.1-5 or (2) enrollment in a school outside the attendance zone in which the student resides, shall be guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. False statements concerning residency may result in criminal charges, liability for the cost of nonresident tuition, and/or immediate withdrawal from the school or school division. 

Below are variance limitations and restrictions:

  1. The student and parent or legal guardian must be in and remain in good standing to be eligible for a variance. Good standing includes regular, prompt, full-day school attendance; academic effort and assignment completion; adherence to school rules and the HCPS Student Code of Conduct; and full compliance with all residency requirements. Address changes must be communicated to the school within 10 school days of a move. (P6-03-002-R, Verifying Residency/Reporting Address Changes)

  2. A principal may only grant a variance that is expressly permitted per HCPS policies and regulations.

  3. Placements based on academic programs or exceptional education services are not variances and will be handled by the appropriate director in school leadership or the Department of Exceptional Education.

  4. Variances are granted for only one school year at a time and on a space-available basis of the school and/or grade level. Variances will not be approved for schools that are over capacity.

  5. Transportation is the responsibility of the parents or legal guardians for approved variances. Transportation is not provided by HCPS, even if the family member providing child care for an approved variance lives in the transportation zone of the requested school. The family member providing child care must take the student to and/or pick up the student from school.

  6. Variances are not granted to siblings of students attending a school in a special program or on a variance.

  7. Pre-K students are not eligible for a variance to continue at the school where they attended pre-K if it is not their home school.

  8. Variances are not provided for remote virtual school attendance.

  9. Students who withdraw from a specialty center, I.B. program or JROTC program are not eligible to remain at the school unless it is their school of residence.

  10. A student can only be granted a variance because of a move one time per move.

  11. Variances are not approved for commercial day care.

  12. Students may not transfer from one JROTC program or specialty program to another.