WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - More than 450 students outside the Wichita School District could attend Wichita Public Schools next school year.

The new statewide Open Enrollment law goes into effect this fall, allowing students to apply for schools outside their district. It leaves families across the state with a lot more choice on where to send their kids to school. 

I'm pretty sure we're going to be setting it 30 and 34 kids in a classroom,” said Samantha Lehr, a middle school science teacher in Haysville. 

With the state-wide open enrollment starting this fall Lehr says she could have 35 kids in one classroom. 

“It depends because I have some specialized classes, but my average class is between 27 & 29,” said Lehr.

Lawmakers passed the Open Enrollment legislation in 2022 saying it was important for students who want specialized programs in their school or don't feel they're getting their needs met at their current school. 

Lehr does see the benefits of open enrollment for families and students 

“I think there's some benefits. Parents having some choices kids getting to go to programs or schools that are going to benefit them,” Lehr added.

Wichita Public Schools is set to take 455 new students, 275 of them elementary, 120 middle, and 60 high school students. But with four elementary and two middle schools closing this spring because of a drop in enrollment, the district had to put a limit on middle and elementary school students who could transfer in. 

"We were a little bit conservative in terms of the seats that we published because of that because technically, all of our schools have the opportunity to become welcoming schools, for our closing schools,” said Fabian Armendariz, Division Director of Operations for Wichita Public Schools. 

Even if the district has space for more students, it says it might not have the staff to handle a big influx of students. 

“Just because we have empty classrooms. It doesn't mean that we have the staff in those classrooms, to welcome students,” said Armendariz. 

Districts had to post on Wednesday how many seats they have available for out-of-district students. The application for open enrollment for Wichita Public Schools opens on June 1st, it closes on the 30th. And families will be notified by July 15th whether they get accepted or not