Recordkeeping/Reports: Parochial, denominational, and
private schools must keep a register of student enrollment and
daily attendance in a manner prescribed by the state and open
for inspection by the local superintendent or attendance assistant.
Fla. Stat. Ch. 232.021. The register may be used as evidence
in a court procedure for the enforcement of the Florida compulsory
education statute. Fla. Stat. Ch. 233.19(5).
Prior to admission to pre-kindergarten or kindergarten, a private
school principal must require that the child provide evidence
of age such as a transcript of the child?s birth record or certificate
of baptism. Fla. Stat. Ch. 232.03.
Nonpublic schools which become defunct must arrange for the
transfer of student records to the local public school superintendent,
or if a member, the principal office of a nonpublic school system
or association. Notice of transfer must be given to the Department
of Education. Fla. Stat. Ch. 228.092.
Nonpublic schools serving K-12 students must file a database
survey form with the Florida Department of Education indicating
the name of the institution, address, telephone number, type,
administrative officers, enrollment by grade or special group,
number of graduates, number of instructional and administrative
personnel, number of school days, and other data as needed under
?228.092 and 232.021. Fla. Stat. ch. 229.808 (1),(2),(3),(4)-(7).
Length of School Year/Days: Attendance at a nonpublic
school satisfies the compulsory school attendance law if the
child maintains regular attendance during the school term of
either 180 actual school days or a minimum of 170 actual school
days and the hourly equivalent of 180 actual school days, (i.e.
K, 540 net instructional hours; Grade 1 through 3, 720 net instructional
hours; and, Grades 4 through 12, 900 net instructional hours).
Fla. Admin. Code Ann. R. 6A-1.09512.
Curriculum: Florida regulates biological experiments
performed on living subjects conducted in grades K-12. For example,
no dissection may be performed on any living mammalian vertebrate
or bird. Students can be excused upon written request by parent/guardian
from dissection of nonliving mammals or birds. Nonpublic schools
keeping live animals on the premises must house in a humane and
safe manner. Nonpublic schoolteachers failing to comply with
these provisions may be disciplined by the school authorities.
Fla. Stat. ch. 233.0674(2)(a)(h) and (4).
Special Education: Diagnostic and resource centers are
authorized to provide testing and evaluation services to nonpublic
school students. Fla. Stat. ch. 229.834. The local district school
boards may provide instruction for exceptional students through
contractual arrangements with approved nonpublic schools at a
cost determined by the board. Fla. Stat. ch. 230.23 (m)2. Fla.
Admin. Code Ann. R. 6A-6.0361.
Health: Nonpublic schools must require each student,
upon his initial entrance into school, to present a certification
of school-entry health examination performed within one year
of enrollment. Students are exempt if parents/guardians object
on religious grounds in a written statement. Fla. Stat. ch. 232.0315.
Prior to admittance to a nonpublic school, children must submit
a certification of immunization for the prevention of communicable
diseases as required by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative
Services, including immunizations for poliomyelitis, diphtheria,
rubeola, rubella, pertussis, mumps, tetanus. Nonpublic schools
must also provide appropriate screening for its pupils for scoliosis
at the proper age. Students are exempt if their parents/guardians
object in writing based on a conflict with religious tenets or
practices. Fla. Stat. ch. 232.032.
Private schools that prepare food intended for individual portion
service must comply with the minimum sanitation standards promulgated
by the Department of Health. Fla. Stat. ch. 381.0072 (b).
Safety: Chief administrative officers of nonpublic schools
must file a complete set of fingerprints for state processing
and checking for criminal background. The cost must be borne
by the applicant or nonpublic school. Persons convicted of crimes
involving moral turpitude are prohibited from owning or operating
a nonpublic school. The chief administrative officer may also
require school employees to file a complete set of fingerprints.
Fla. Stat. ch. 229.808(3).
Instructional personnel required to hold a teaching certificate
in nonpublic schools must file a complete set of fingerprints
for state and federal processing for a criminal background check.
Fla. Stat. Ch. 231.17.
Private School teachers, officials, and other personnel, who
know or have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is abused
or neglected must report the information to the Department of
Children and Families' central abuse registry and tracking system.
Fla. Stat. Ch. 29.201.
Transportation: Nonpublic schools operating school buses
with a seating capacity of 24 or more pupils must comply with
state requirements outlined in Ch. 234 Fla. Stat. Ch 316.615(1)(a).
Nonpublic schools operating school buses seating less than 24
students must comply with state requirements regarding inspections,
equipment, liability insurance, and drive physical examination
District school boards may make available by contract bus driver
training programs to nonpublic school bus drivers. Fla. Stat.
Florida nonpublic schools with racially nondiscriminatory student
admission policies may purchase school buses through the state
pool purchase program. Fla. Stat. ch. 234.301.
School crossing guard training programs administered by local
government entities may provide training to nonpublic schools
by contract. Fla. Stat. Ch. 316.75.
Home Schooling: The parent or legal guardian must notify
the superintendent of schools of the county in which the parent
or guardian resides of his or her intent to establish a home
education program. The notice must be in writing, signed by the
parent or guardian, and must include the names, addresses, and
birth dates of the children being home schooled. The parent or
guardian is not required to hold a valid regular Florida certificate
to teach. Fla. Stat. 228.041.
The parent or guardian must maintain a portfolio of records
and materials. The portfolio must consist of the following: a
log of educational activities that induces the title of any reading
materials used; a sample of any writings, worksheets, workbooks,
or creative materials used or developed by the student. The portfolio
must be kept for two years. Fla. Stat. 232.0201.
The parent or guardian must provide for an annual educational
evaluation to document pupil academic progress at a level commensurate
with his or her ability. The parent or guardian selects the method
of evaluation and files a copy annually with the superintendent?s
office in the resident county. If the pupil does not demonstrate
adequate progress, the superintendent shall notify the parents
in writing. The parent or guardian will have one year to provide
remedial instruction to the pupil. Continuation in the home education
program is contingent on the pupil demonstrating education progress
at the end of the probationary period. Fla. Stat. 232.0201.
The requirements of the school day in s. 228.041 do not apply
to home education programs.
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: Florida
Department of Education is authorized to sell at cost educational
materials and products developed by or under its direction to
nonpublic schools and the general public. Fla. Stat. Ch. 233.255(2).
Educational institutions, including parochial church or private
schools and their property are exempt from taxation. Fla. Stat.
Ch. 196.198, 196.012(5).
Educational institutions, including church and nonprofit private
schools meeting certain requirements are also exempt from tax
on the sale and use of tangible personal property, annual and
nonrecurring tax on intangible personal property and local occupational
license tax. Fla. Stat. Ch. 212.08, 199.183, 205.22.
Motor fuel taxes paid by nonpublic schools for operating school
buses will be returned to the schools to be used for transportation
related purposes. Fla. Stat. Ch. 212.67(1)(d)1,2.
Nonpublic school teachers and administrators may participate
in inservice teacher education programs on comprehensive health
education and substance abuse prevention, provided they assume
the prorated share of the cost. Fla. Stat. Ch. 2433.067(9).
Nonpublic school students are eligible to participate in Florida?s
Bright Future Scholarship Program established to reward Florida
high school graduates who merit recognition of high academic
achievement. Fla. Stat. Ch. 240.40201.
Miscellaneous: An organization of nonpublic schools
meeting specific state requirements may develop a master plan
for inservice educational training which may be used for extension
of a certificate or a new endorsement. The plan must be submitted
to the Commissioner for approval. Any costs associated with approval
of the plan are borne by the organization. Fla. Stat. Ch. 236.0811(2)(a)2,