California provides significant educational opportunities
and health programs to private school students.
Recordkeeping/Reports: Private schools are
required to maintain a record of attendance for students. Every
absence for a half day or more must be documented. Cal. Ed. Code § 48222.
Private school parents have an absolute right to access any
and all pupil records related to their children that are maintained
by the school. Editing or withholding records is prohibited.
Cal. Ed. Code §§ 49069, 49061.
Whenever a pupil transfers from a public school district to
private school, or transfers from a private school to a school
district, the pupil's permanent record or a copy thereof must
be transferred by the former district or private school upon
request. Parents have a right to receive a copy of the record
and to challenge the content of the record at a hearing. Cal.
Educ. Code § 49068, 49070.
Private schools must maintain for one year a record of the school
bus safety instruction provided by the school. The record must
indicate the name and location of school, date of instruction,
supervising adults, number of participating students, grade levels,
subjects covered, time taken for instruction, bus driver's name,
and bus number. The record is subject to inspection by the Department
of the California Highway Patrol. Cal. Educ. Code § 39831.5.
Private schools are required to file an affidavit with the Superintendent
of Public Instruction between the first and fifteenth day of
October of each year. The affidavit must contain the following
information: 1) all names under which it has done and is doing
business; 2) address of every place of business in California;
3) location of records and custodian of records; 4) names and
addresses of directors and principal officers; 5) school enrollment
by grades, number of teachers, coeducational or enrollment limited
to boys or girls and boarding facilities; 6) that school attendance
records, courses of study, and faculty information records maintained
by the school are true and accurate; and 7) that criminal record
summary information for employees has been obtained pursuant
to Section 44237. Cal Educ. Code § 33190. Where the instructor
also serves as the school administrator, the affidavit must be
made available upon request to the parents/guardians of students
or prospective students. Cal Educ. Code § 33191.
County boards of education may require private schools to report
the withdrawal of any student, whether by severance, expulsion,
exclusion, exemption, transfer, or suspension beyond 10 school
days. The report must include names, ages, last known address
and the reason for withdrawal. Cal Educ. Code § 48202(a).
Private schools are required to report the withdrawal (as defined
above) or denial of admission of physically handicapped, mentally
retarded, or multiple handicapped students to the county superintendent.
Cal Educ. Code § 48203.
Instruction in English: English is the basic
language of instruction in all schools. The governing board of
any private school may determine when and under what circumstances
instruction may be given bilingually. Pupils proficient in English
and fluent in a foreign language may be instructed in classes
conducted in that foreign language. Cal Educ. Code § 30.
Private schools must be taught in the English language except
when educationally advantageous to pupils. Cal. Educ. Code §§ 48222,30.
Discrimination: Individuals with disabilities
are entitled to full and equal access as other members of the
general public to private schools. Cal. Civ. Code § 54.1.
Teacher Certification: Children instructed
in private full-time day schools by "persons capable of teaching" are
exempt from public school attendance under the compulsory education
law. Cal. Educ. Code § 48222.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing must forward
to private schools on a monthly basis a list of all teachers
who have had their state teaching credential revoked or suspended.
The Commission must also send on a quarterly basis a complete
and updated list of all teachers who have had their teaching
credentials revoked or suspended, excluding teachers who have
had their credentials reinstated, or who are deceased. Cal Educ.
Code § 44237(g). Private schools may request information
regarding the fitness of any applicant for a teaching position
from the Commission. Cal Educ. Code § 44341(d).
Curriculum: Students attending private schools
are exempt from California's compulsory attendance law if the
schools offer instruction in the several branches of study required
in the public schools of the state. Cal. Educ. Code § 48222.
Special Education: California's Community Mental
Health Services publicly place students with serious emotional
disturbances in private schools. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §§ 5852.5,
5864, 5865, 5877.
Private schools serving exceptional need students under a state
contract must comply with state provisions governing the suspension
of pupils with previously identified exceptional needs and the
use of behavioral interventions with exceptional need students.
Cal. Educ. Code § 48911, 48911.5.
Nonpublic schools are represented on California's Local Pilot
Program Advisory Committee serving students with exceptional
needs. The pilot program was established for the 1992-93, 1993-94,
and 1994-95 fiscal years to design effective mainstreaming programs
in the public schools for students currently publicly placed
in private facilities. Cal. Educ. Code § 56728.7(d)(1).
California publicly places students with exceptional needs in
nonpublic, nonsectarian schools. Individual education program
team members and or parents may request a private school placement
based on the educational needs of the child. Cal. Educ. Code §§ 56342,
56365, 56365.5, 56730.6.
Health: California provides financial assistance
to private and parochial schools under the Child Nutrition Program.
The funding reimburses the school cafeteria accounts based upon
the number of qualifying meals served to students. Cal. Educ.
Code §§ 41311, 49530.5, 49531.
Private elementary and secondary schools cannot unconditionally
admit a student unless he has been fully immunized for: diphtheria,
haemophilus influenzae type b (except for children who have reached
the age of 4 years, six months), measles, mumps and pertussis
(except for students who have reached 7 years), poliomyelitis,
rubella, tetanus and any other disease deemed appropriate by
the State Department of Health Services. Cal. Health and Safety
Code § 3381.
Prior to employment at a private or parochial elementary or
secondary school, individuals must present a certificate showing
that they have been examined within the last 60 days found to
be free of communicable tuberculosis. Additional testing is required
at least once each four years or more if directed by the school.
The private school is responsible for maintaining up-to-date
certificates for each person covered. Private schools have the
discretion to waive this requirement for employees who are employed
less than a school year and who do not have frequent or prolonged
contact with pupils. Employees transporting students must provide
a certificate unless they transport students on an infrequent
basis not to exceed once a month. Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 3450,
3453. Volunteers must also present a certificate that they have
been found free of communicable tuberculosis within the last
4 years. At the discretion of the governing authority of a private
school, this section shall not apply to volunteers whose functions
do not necessitate frequent or prolonged contact with pupils.
Cal. Health & Safety Code § 3454.
Under the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program for
Medicaid Recipients, private schools with first grade students
and/or kindergartners are required to report by January 15 of
each year to the State Department of Health Services and the
State Department of Education: (1) the total number of children
enrolled in first grade; (2) the number of children who have
had a health screening examination; and (3) the number of children
whose parents waived the health screening examination. Private
schools serving first graders and/or kindergartners must inform
parents of this provision. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 324.2.
Private elementary and secondary students are eligible to receive
the topical application of fluoride or other decay-inhibiting
agent to the teeth through the State Department of Health Services
within the school year. Cal. Health & Safety Code §§ 3500,
3501, 3503, 3504 and 3505.
Safety: Private school buildings are subject
to an annual inspection through the State Fire Marshall's office.
Cal. Health & Safety Code § 13146.3.
Private schools entirely enclosed (except for building walls)
by fences or walls must maintain gates of sufficient size to
permit the entrance of ambulances, police equipment, and fire
fighting apparatus. Locking devices must be designed to permit
ready entrance by chain or bolt cutting devices. Cal. Educ. Code § 32020.
The local sheriff or chief of police will immediately notify
a private school if any of the school employees are arrested
for controlled substance offenses. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11591(3).
California requires new noncertified employees at private elementary
and high schools having contact with minor pupils to obtain criminal
record summaries from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the
Federal Bureau of Investigation. DOJ will provide the records
to the designated private school employers to be maintained in
a secured file separate from personnel files. The criminal record
summary will include only arrests resulting in conviction or
pending final adjudication for any sex offense, controlled substance
offense, or crime of violence. Cal. Educ. Code § 44237(a),
Private schools have a duty to equip schools with eye protective
devices for students, teachers and visitors and to require eye
protective devices to be worn when observing or participating
in an activity where the use of hazardous substances are likely
to cause injury to the eyes. Cal. Educ. Code §§ 32030-32032.
Private schools are required to equip the school with a first
aid kit to accompany pupils whenever they are taken on school-sponsored
field trips. Cal. Educ. Code § 32040. When field trips are
taken into areas commonly known to be infested by poisonous snakes,
the first aid kit must contain medically accepted snakebite remedies.
The field trip must be accompanied by an agent of the school
who has completed a course in first aid certified by the American
Red Cross which emphasizes the treatment of snakebites. Cal.
Educ. Code § 32043.
Art and craft materials deemed to contain a toxic substance
by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment or a
toxic substance causing chronic illness are prohibited for use
by students in K-6 grade private schools. Materials containing
toxic substances causing chronic illness may not be used by students
in 7-12 grade private schools unless it meets labeling standards.
Cal. Educ. Code §§ 32064-66.
Any public school building approved by the Department of General
Services for occupancy is deemed to meet the local building requirements
for use as a private school. Cal. Educ. Code § 39156.
Private schools are subject to the provisions of the "Private
Schools Building Safety Act of 1986" to ensure that children
attending private schools are afforded equivalent earthquake
safety as afforded public school students. The Act regulates
the design and structure of private schools and provides for
inspections by an enforcement agency. The Act defines "private
school structure" as "any building used for educational purposes
through the 12th grade by 50 or more persons for more than 12
hours per week or 4 hours in any one day." Certain structures
2,000 square feet or less in floor area are exempt. Cal. Educ.
Code § 39160 et seq.
Persons 18 years of age or over who unlawfully sell heroin,
cocaine, cocaine base or any analog of these substances, within
1,000 feet of private school grounds when minors are using the
facility, will receive additional imprisonment in the state prison
for two years. Cal. Health & Safety Code § 11353, 11353.1(a)(2).
The governing board of each private school must establish an
earthquake emergency procedure system in every private school
building having an occupant capacity of 50 or more pupils or
more than one classroom. The earthquake emergency procedure system
must include: 1) a school building disaster plan; b) a drop procedure;
3) protective measures to be taken before, during, and following
an earthquake; and 4) a program to ensure students and staff
are trained in the earthquake emergency procedure system. Cal.
Educ. Code §§ 35295-35297.
Persons in charge of private schools may not allow any cup or
glass to be used in common for drinking purposes. Cal. Health & Safety
Code § 3700.
Transportation: County Superintendents
may provide transportation to pupils attending private schools
upon the same terms, in the same manner and over the same routes
as provided for pupils attending public schools. The authorization
is limited to actual transportation and not transportation payments
of money. Cal. Educ. Code § 48222; Cal. Educ. Code § 39808.
State subsidized transportation for children attending parochial
schools is proper under the California Constitution in view of
the broad police powers of the state to promote educational welfare
and safety of the children. Bowker v. Baker, 167 P.2d
California distinguishes between school buses, school pupil
activity buses, and youth buses in the applicable provisions
of the vehicle code. Cal. Vehicle Code §§ 492, 545,
546, 680, 2808, and 12517; Cal. Educ. Code § 39830, 39831.
Private schools are subject to the same statutes, rules, and
regulations relating to construction, design, operation, equipment,
and color of school buses that apply to public schools unless
exempt by the Commissioner of the California Highway Patrol by
rule or regulation. Cal. Veh. Code §§ 2808.
Private schools are required to provide instruction in school
bus emergency procedures and passenger safety for students transported
in a school bus or school pupil activity bus. The instruction
must be given at least once a year to all transported pupils
pre-K through grade 8. In addition, safety instruction must be
given prior to departures on a school activity trip including
instruction on the location of emergency exits and location and
use of emergency equipment. A record must be maintained by the
school for one year documenting the details of the instruction.
Cal. Educ. Code § 39831.5.
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The
California Constitution prohibits the appropriation of public
money for the support of sectarian or denominational schools
or any other school not under the exclusive control of the officers
of the public schools. Cal. Const. Art. IX. Section 8. In addition,
Art. XVI. Section 5. prohibits any public support for a school
controlled by any religious creed, church, or sectarian denomination,
including any grant of personal property or real estate.
The lending of textbooks, without charge, to students attending
nonprofit, nonpublic schools violates the California Constitution
prohibiting appropriations for the support of sectarian schools. Cal.
Teachers Assoc. v. Riles, 632 P.2d 953 (1981).
County superintendents of schools may enter into agreements
with nonpublic private schools to provide for the use of audiovisual
curriculum materials, including equipment and apparatus. The
agreement must provide for an amount of payment equal to the
cost incurred in connection with the handling, loss, destruction,
or damage to the audiovisual curriculum materials. Such agreements
may only be entered into when such materials are not needed by
the public schools or the county superintendent. Cal. Educ. Code § 1251.
Nonpublic schools, i.e. schools satisfying attendance recordkeeping
requirements and exempt from taxation, may order instructional
materials from the state board. Cal. Educ. Code § 60310.
County superintendents of schools may enter into agreements
with nonpublic private schools to provide programs and classes
in outdoor science education and conservation education for private
school students. The private school must pay for the actual cost
of providing the programs or classes. Cal. Educ. Code §§ 8763,
Private schools are exempt from state park fees for school field
trips arranged through the Department of Parks and Monuments.
The exemption extends to pupils K-12, their escorts, teachers,
supervisory personnel, and bus drivers. (Hearst San Simeon State
Historic Monument excluded.) Cal. Pub. Res. Code § 5010.2.
The California legislature may exempt property used exclusively
for religious purposes and held by a nonprofit corporation from
property tax under the California Constitution. Cal. Const. Art.XIII.
Section 4. Church-related schools may be required to file factual
statements to qualify for the exemption. 62 Ops. Atty. Gen. 690,
The state legislature has provided that property used exclusively
for school purposes of less than collegiate grade are exempt
from taxation if the school meets certain requirements. Cal.
Rev. & T. Code § 214. Tax exempt status for parochial
K through 12 schools under § 214 is constitutional since
a nonprofit school has a charitable purpose. Lundberg v.
County of Alameda, 298 P.2d 1 (1956).
Private schools and nonprofit parent-teacher associations are "consumers" rather
than "retailers" for sales tax purposes with respect to 1) yearbooks
and catalogs prepared for distribution to students by the school
and 2) tangible personal property sold by the parent-teacher
organization if the profits are used exclusively for the organization.
Ca. Rev. & T. Code § 6361.5, 6370.
School meals provided to students by private schools are exempt
from sales tax. The exemption does not apply if the food is sold
for consumption within a place subject to an admission charge,
except for national and state parks and monuments. Ca. Rev. & T.
Code § 6363.
State agencies have the authority to enter into vocational education
contracts with approved private schools to provide training and
retraining programs for students. Cal. Educ. Code §§ 8090-92.
Miscellaneous: Private schools are assured
one representative appointment on the 20-member Educational Innovation
and Planning Commission. Cal. Educ. Code § 33502.
Private schools may withhold grades, diplomas, or transcripts
based on a minor's willful misconduct that results in personal
injury or property damage until reparations are made. The school
must afford the student his due process rights and notify the
parents in writing before taking any action. Cal. Educ. Code § 48904(b).
County superintendents may authorize private school officials
to issue work permits to students in accordance with state provisions
governing the employment of minors. Cal. Educ. Code § 49110.1
Private high schools are eligible to apply for permission to
establish cadet companies, battalions, or regiments of the California
Cadet Corps. Cal. Military and Veterans Code § 520.1
Under California law, private schools may not be converted to
charter schools. Cal. Educ. Code § 47602(b).
Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Councils funded by the state
shall encourage inclusion of private school representatives.
Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 18982.1