Private School Regulation



Recordkeeping/Reports: Private schools are required to maintain on file the official certificates of immunization for every enrolled student. The Department of Health may examine, audit or verify the records of immunizations. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-4-906(2), (3).

Whenever requested by the local school district, but not more than monthly, private schools must certify in writing the students' names, ages, places of residence and number of days of attendance since the preceding report. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-1-114.

Length of School Year/Days: Attendance at a private school satisfies the Colorado compulsory school attendance law if enrolled for a minimum of 172 days. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104.

Curriculum: Private schools satisfying the compulsory school attendance law must provide a basic academic education, i.e. a sequential program of instruction including, but not limited to communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, and science. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-104(6). Colorado private schools must give regular courses of instruction in the Constitution of the United States in seventh grade through high school. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 22-1-108; 22-1-109.

Private school teachers have a duty to instruct students in the proper respect and use of the U.S. flag. The Commissioner of Education will provide the necessary information for all teachers in the state of Colorado. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-1-106; 22-1-107.

Special Education: The board of education of a school district has the power to provide special educational services and arrangements for the benefit of educationally deprived children in the district who attend nonpublic schools out of federal grants designated for that purpose. The provision of services must be made without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-32-110(cc).

Health: The Department of Health is under a duty to establish and enforce sanitary standards for the operation and maintenance of schools. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-1-107(1)(m).

Private school students must receive immunizations as specified by the State Board of Health. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 24-4-901; 25-4-902; 25-4-904. Exemptions are allowed based on religious belief, endangerment to life, or sound medical practice.

Transfer students have 60 days in which to submit a certificate of immunization. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-4-903. The Department of Health provides official certificate of immunization forms. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-4-906.

Private schools are obligated to suspend or expel any student failing to obtain the proper school entry immunizations unless the student is otherwise exempt. Prior to suspension or expulsion, the appropriate school authority must give direct personal notification to the student's parent/guardian, the emancipated student, or the student eighteen years of age, and inform them of the student's rights. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 25-4-902; 25-4-902.5; 25-4-903 and 25-4-907.

Safety: Private schools are prohibited from using toxic fire extinguishing agents in any fire extinguisher or fire-extinguishing device. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 9-3-101.

Private schools are required to provide eye protective devices for the use of all students, teachers, and visitors, and to require such eye protective devices to be worn when participating in activities or using hazardous substances likely to cause injury to the eyes. Colo. Re. Stat. §§ 22-3-101; 22-3-102.

Private schools providing food services are required to obtain an annual certificate of inspection for food service establishments. Parochial and private schools are granted certificates without incurring fees. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-44-201; 12-44-207(2); 12-44-208.

Private school officials and employees are required to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the county department or local law enforcement agency. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 19-3-304.

For employment purposes, nonpublic schools have access to information provided by the Colorado Department of Education regarding a potential employee's past unlawful conduct i.e whether an individual has been dismissed or resigned from a school district as a result of an allegation of unlawful behavior involving a child that was supported by a preponderance of the evidence. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-1-121(1)(b).

Home Schooling: The parent or guardian must provide a written notification to the local school district office 14 days in advance, explaining his or her intent to home school. All costs of home education are assumed by the parents. The only requirement for the instructor of a child being home schooled is that the person be a parent, guardian, or adult relative. The home education program must be a minimum of 172 days and include communication skills (reading, writing, and speaking), mathematics, history, civics, literature, science, and the Constitution of the United States. The parent must keep records of attendance, test and evaluation results, and immunization records. The child needs to be tested or evaluated every two years beginning at the third grade. There is no state diploma and a district?s diploma is given only to those who complete the public school program. Parents may present a diploma to their student upon completion of the home school program. Home schooled children may take the GED as an option. Colo. Rev. Stat., Article 33, ?104.5.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private Students: Public aid, i.e. aid from the general assembly, any county, city, town, township, school district or public corporation, to sectarian schools is expressly prohibited. Colo. Const. Art. IX, Section 7. The state legislature is expressly prohibited from appropriating money for educational purposes to any person, corporation, or community not under the absolute control of the state, or to any denominational, or sectarian institution or association. Colo. Const. Art 5, Section 34.

The board of education of a school district is authorized to provide library resources for the benefit of children and the use of teachers to benefit children in the nonpublic schools out of federal grants made for this purpose. The provision of resources must be made without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 2-32-110(dd).

Real and personal property used solely for religious worship or schools is exempt from taxation unless otherwise provided by general law. Colo. Const. Art. 10, Section 5. Nonprofit private schools are exempt from real and personal property tax. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 39-3-107. 8 Colo. Code Regs. § 1304-2.

Private school teachers, nurses and administrators may participate in in-service education institutes or curriculum development programs under the Colorado Comprehensive Health Education Act. A prorated cost of participation may be required. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-25-108. Colorado law provides for cooperative ventures in teacher education programs between public and private schools and institutions of higher education. Colo. Re. Stat. § 22-62-102.

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.