Private School Regulation


Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: State accreditation is voluntary for non-public schools. During the 1999-2000 academic year 33 non-public schools were accredited through the State and another 29 through the Northwest Association of Schools and colleges. Idaho Code § 33-119.

Recordkeeping/Reports: Upon enrollment, a private elementary or secondary school must notify the parent/guardian in writing that he must provide reliable proof of the student's identity and birth date within 30 days. If the parent/guardian fails to comply, the private school must immediately notify the local law enforcement agency and inform the parent/guardian in writing that he has 10 additional days to comply. The private school must immediately report to the local law enforcement agency any documentation provided that appears inaccurate or suspicious. Idaho Code § 18-4511.2.

Private schools are required to flag the records of any student reported missing or runaway by the Department of Law Enforcement. The school must report any subsequent request for the records to the local law enforcement agency. Idaho Code § 18-4511.1.

Within 14 days after enrollment, the private school must request a certified copy of the student's record from the student's previous school. A private school must comply with the request for records within 10 days of receipt unless the student was flagged as a missing or runaway child. In that event, the school should notify the local law enforcement agency of the request. Nonetheless, a private school can withhold a transferred student's records for nonpayment of tuition or fees pursuant to prior agreement. Idaho Code § 18-4511.

Length of School Year/Days: To comply with the Idaho compulsory attendance statute, attendance at a private or parochial school must be during a period equal to that in which public schools are in session. Idaho Code § 33-202.

Teacher Certification: Non-public schools who choose to be accredited through either the State or Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges must require certification standards which are the same as the public schools. However, if a non-public school chooses a different route for accreditation or chooses not to be accredited then its instructors need only abide by the requirements of another accrediting agency or develop its own educational requirements for staff members. Idaho Code § 33-1201.

Curriculum: The Idaho compulsory school attendance statute provides that parents/guardians must cause their school-age children to be instructed in the subjects commonly taught in the public schools. Idaho Code ? 33-202. (The State Board of Education prescribes the minimum courses to be taught in all elementary and secondary schools. In addition, the Board issues syllabi, study guides and instructional aids as needed. Idaho Code § 33-118.)

All elementary and secondary schools are required to provide instruction in the Constitution of the United States. The State Board of Education adopts materials and determines the grades in which instruction must be given. Instruction must also be given in the proper use of the American flag, the recitation of the pledge of allegiance, the national anthem, and "America". Idaho Code § 33-1602.

Private/parochial school students may enroll in driver training courses offered by the local school district. Fees cannot be assessed that are not required for public school students. Idaho Code § 33-1703.

Health: Private/parochial school students must provide a statement of the child's immunity to certain childhood diseases upon admission to the school. The statement must document that the child has received or is in the process of receiving the immunizations, or is immune through prior contraction of the disease. The Idaho Board of Health and Welfare is charged with specifying the requisite immunizations and the school reporting requirements. Idaho Code § 39-4801.

Safety: The State Board of Education, in cooperation with the State Board of Health and Welfare, regulates school building sanitation, sewage disposal, and water supply. If a school building is believed deficient, the Board may require an examination by an engineer. The engineer's report will be transmitted to the school, maintained for public inspection there, and published in a local newspaper. Idaho Code § 33-122.

Private school governing boards may choose to maintain and supervise a school safety patrol to assist children crossing public streets or highways. Idaho Code § 33-1801.

It is unlawful to carry a concealed weapon in a private school. It is a misdemeanor for any person under 21 to carry a concealed firearm, dirk knife, bowie knife, dagger, metal knuckles or other deadly weapon while on the property of a private elementary or secondary school. Idaho Code §§ 18-3302C(1), 18-3302D.

Transportation: Public school districts may transport nonpublic school students, where practicable, when the full costs for providing the transportation are recovered. Idaho Code § 33-1501. The Idaho Supreme Court held public funding of transportation of private school pupils unconstitutional in Epeldi v. Engelking, 488 P.2d 860 (1971), cert. denied, 406 U.S. 957 (1972). Idaho Code § 49-402(2).

Home Schooling: A nonpublic student is any student who received educational instruction outside of a public school classroom and can include, but is not limited to, a private school or a home school. As such, a home school student must be comparably instructed to students in the public school during the compulsory attendance ages of 7 through 16 years of age. Idaho Code, title 33, § 202. Idaho does not regulate or monitor home school instruction. It is the sole responsibility of the parent or guardian to monitor their child?s progress and attendance in the home school.

The parent or guardian of a home schooled child is allowed to enroll the student in the public school for dual enrollment purposes. Dual enrollment allows the student to enter into any program, including public school classes and extra-curricular activities, in the public school that are available to other students subject to compliance with the same rules and regulations as other students. Idaho Code, title 33, § 203.

Home school students may participate in state-wide testing and assessment. A home school student may be able to receive a diploma from a high school or can take the General Education Development (GED) test and, upon successful completion of all requirements, may apply for an Idaho High School Equivalency Certificate. Administrative Rules of the Idaho State Board of Education.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The Idaho Constitution prohibits public appropriations to support sectarian schools. Idaho Const. Art. IX, 5.

The sale of meals by private schools under the federal school lunch program is exempt from Idaho sales tax. Idaho Code § 63-3622J.

Miscellaneous: Confidential communications by a private school student to any certificated counselor, psychologist or psychological examiner employed by a private school are privileged and protected against disclosure in any civil or criminal action to which the student is a party. Idaho Code § 9-203.

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.