Private School Regulation

Alaska

Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development is not authorized to require the licensing of religious or other private schools. Alaska Stat. § 14.07.020(10).

Private schools that elect to comply with Alaska Stat. § § 14.45.100-130 are considered "exempt schools", i.e. exempt from other state education requirements. However, health and safety provisions apply equally to "exempt and "non-exempt" private schools. Alaska Stat. § 14.45.100.

Under Alaskan law, the Department of Education and Early development has a duty to accredit private schools that request accreditation and that meet accreditation standards prescribed by regulation by the Department. Alaska Stat. § 14.07.020(10). (In practice, Alaska does not accredit private schools and has not adopted accreditation regulations, but has an informal agreement with the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges to provide accreditation to public and private schools that request accreditation.)

Recordkeeping/Reports: An "exempt" school must maintain monthly attendance records for each student enrolled. Alaska Stat. § 14.45.110(b). "Exempt" schools must maintain permanent student records reflecting immunizations, physical examinations, standardized testing, academic achievement, and courses taken. The chief administrative officer must certify that the records are being maintained. Alaska Stat. § 14.45.130. The Department does not collect reports from private and/or religious schools.

"Non-exempt" private schools must make regular monthly attendance reports and annual reports to the Commissioner of Education in the same manner as teachers and superintendents in the public schools. Alaska Stat. § 14.45.030. "Exempt" schools must make an annual report to the Commissioner of Education of the number of students in each grade and the school calendar. Alaska Stat. § 14.45.110(b).

Parents/guardians of children attending "exempt" schools must file an annual notice of enrollment with the local public school superintendent. The form must be signed by the parent/guardian and chief administrative officer of the exempt school and then submitted to the local public school superintendent by the parent. If the child withdraws, the "exempt" school must notify the public school superintendent within a reasonable time. Alaska Stat. § 14.45.110(a)

Length of School Year/Day: "Exempt" schools must operate on a regular schedule excluding reasonable holidays and vacations during at least 180 days of the year. Alaska Stat. § 14.45.110(b).

Non-exempt private schools must comply with the laws and regulations relating to education. Alaska Stat. § 14.45.030. To satisfy the state compulsory attendance requirement, students at non-exempt private schools must receive an academic education comparable to the local public schools. Alaska Stat. § 14.30.010(b)(1). A public school term must include not less than 180 days, unless approved by the Commissioner. Alaska Stat. § 14.03.030.

Teacher Certification: "Non-exempt" private schools must employ teachers certificated according to Alaska Stat. §§ 14.20.020; 14.30.010(b)(1)(A).

Curriculum: Private education satisfies the Alaskan compulsory school attendance law if the academic education provided is comparable to that offered by the public schools in the area. Alaska Stat. § 14.30.010(b)(1).

"Exempt" schools must administer a nationally standardized test selected by the chief administrative officer of the school to all students enrolled in grades four, six, and eight at least once each school year. The test must measure achievement in English grammar, reading, spelling and mathematics. The school must maintain records of the results and make them available to parents/guardians. Composite test results for the school must be made available annually to the Alaskan Department of Education. These results are not public information unless the public school is also required to release identical information. Alaskan Stat. § 14.45.120

Safety: The Alaskan Department of Education and Early Development has a duty to prescribe by regulation standards to assure healthful and safe conditions in the private schools. Standards for private schools may not be more stringent than those for public schools. Alaskan Stat. § 14.07.020(7).

Private schools must instruct pupils by means of drills to safely exit school buildings in an emergency. Drills must be conducted once each month during the school term, weather permitting. Alaska Stat. § 14.03.140.

School teachers and school administrative staff members of private schools who in the performance of their occupational duties have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has suffered harm as a result of child abuse or neglect must immediately report the harm to the Alaska Department of Education. A person required to report child abuse or neglect to the Department is not relieved of the obligation by notifying his supervisor of the harm. If the alleged abuse occurred at a private school and was caused by a school employee, the law enforcement agency will notify the chief administrator of the school. In the event the allegation of abuse is against the chief administrator or his immediate family, the agency will notify the Commissioner of Education. The notification must set out the factual determination of the law enforcement agency. Alaska Stat. § 47.17.020(a)(2), (f), (g).

Transportation: The Alaskan Department of Education and Early Development provides transportation for nonpublic school students who travel comparable distances and the same routes as public school students. Alaska Stat. § 14.09.020

Home Schooling: An annual assessment of the minimum course of study must be completed. The minimum course of study is reading, writing, use of numbers, citizenship, history, government, physical education, comprehensive health education, English, natural science, and fine arts. Alaska Stat. §§ 166b; 131.

The public school may allow home school students to use public school resources, including taking courses at the public school. Home school students are not issued diplomas unless they are enrolled in a correspondence course that provides diplomas.

Home school students found to have a disability can continue to receive services under an IEP while they are home schooled.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: Private schools and religious schools by definition do not receive direct state or federal funding. Alaska Stat. § 14.45.200.

The Alaska Constitution provides "No money shall be paid from public funds for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution." Alaska Constitution, Education, and Welfare, Art. VII, Sec.1.

The Alaska Constitution exempts property used exclusively for nonprofit religious, charitable, or educational purposes from taxation. Alaska Constitution, Finance and Taxation Art.IX, Sec. 1.

Miscellaneous: Private schools may apply for membership in the Alaska School Activities Association, an association established to promote and govern interscholastic activities. Alaska Admin. Code tit. 4, § 06.115.



Source: U.S. Department of Education, 1999 - This information is presented for research use only and should not be construed as legal advice.  Please consult an attorney for further information.