Changes, Updates and Legislative Alerts
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Updated May 26th, 2019
Ohio Notification Law Changes
Homeschooling in Ohio is governed by the Ohio Administrative Code(OAC). Because of this, there need not necessarily be any legislative action for the rules to change, the board of Education can simply make changes. Last December in their review (which happens every other year) they decided to change a few key points, something that has not been changed significantly since 1989. This has caused some confusion among parents so we are uploading a file on this page and updating our website to reflect these changes which will go into effect on July 1, 2019 for the 2019-2020 school year. Please note: we are not legal counsel and you should talk to the HSLDA if you have further questions about these changes.
Ohio Administrative Code § 3301-34
The OAC was changed to reflect the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) which states that we must notify our local districts. Local schools often follow the OAC as it amplifies the ORC and they get their funding through the organization modifying the OAC! This is why some districts kept insisting that we send our notifications to the county educational centers and not the superintendent. This has been changed so that the ORC and OAC agree – your notification should ALWAYS go to the local superintendent, not a county board.
Less than Positive Changes:
"3301-34-03 (A) Consistent application of procedures and practices throughout the state by superintendents and parents is essential for children receiving home education and helps to safeguard the primary right of parents to determine the appropriate education for their child(ren).
A parent who elects to provide home education shall supply the following information to the superintendent no later than the first week of the start of the public school building the child would attend in the school district of residence or within one week of the date on which the child begins to reside in the district or within one week from the child’s withdrawal from a school: "
There are three changes to the law in this section and two are fairly significant.
#1 - "no later than the first week of the start of the public school building the child would attend in the school district of residence"
Most parents notified the public schools of their intent to homeschool or sent in their subsequent notification in the beginning of August. This practice was widely accepted but not mandated. It has now become part of the law that we MUST send in our notification by the first day of school. Since many districts have various starting dates and multiple buildings, this change makes parents partially engage with the school to figure out that date and get their notification turned in. I would anticipate districts will add this to their packets and create a “due date” when they want information submitted. Most home education leaders in Ohio are recommending that members send in their notifications during the first week of August which will ensure they are in before the due date but also keep them coming in as a large group rather than tricking in over the summer.
#2 - "or within one week of the date on which the child begins to reside in the district"
This is a completely new portion of the homeschooling law which now requires that you re-notify your new district if you move OR you can ask your old district to forward your original notification. There is an important distinction between the two!
Each time you notify, the district super has the right to ask for more information within 14 days of your notification. If they do not, they MUST issue you an excusal letter. If they ask after the 14 days, you are not required to comply and they MUST issue the excusal letter. When moving mid year, it seems to be a better idea to ask the old district to send the notification to the new district because you have already received your excuse for the current year. The 14 days where questions could be asked has already passed. However, if you re-notify in the new district (meaning that you send in your notification again rather than just asking your old super to forward it) you are resetting that 14 day clock and the new super could ask for more information. This is addressed in subsection F.
If the transfer and request of information occurs during the school year excused by the last district of residence, the forward of information request shall satisfy the notice requirements outlined in paragraphs (A) and (C) and should be honored by the new district of residence for the remainder of that school year. "
One area this does NOT clarify is whether or not the new super will issue you an excusal letter, one would assume so because all of these changes were made under the idea that this would help lessen truancy, so the new super should issue a letter, but it is very likely that they will not know their responsibilities or will not issue these new letters, or will try to require more information. Having the information forwarded from your old district seems the best way, at this time, to avoid conflict and chaos mid year and to make sure you are covered. All correspondence with public schools should be in writing and documents – so send an email or a certified letter.
#3 - "or within one week from the child’s withdrawal from a school"
This is just common sense and most homeschooling parents already did this. If you withdraw your child from school mid year, you need to notify immediately so that they do not send a truancy officer to your home. Again, all correspondence with public schools should be in writing and documents – so send an email or a certified letter.