Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: There is no
general requirement in Illinois that non-public schools register
with, be licensed by, or be accredited by the Illinois State
Board of Education, although certain non-public school facilities
need to be approved to serve public school special education
students. However, non-public schools have the option of
applying for registration and recognition on a voluntary
basis. A school is registered when it has filed with the
Board a "Nonpublic School Registration, Enrollment, and Staff
Report" furnishing such evidence as required to assure compliance
with federal and state laws regarding health examination
and immunization, attendance, length of term, nondiscrimination,
and applicable fire and health safety requirements. Minimum
requirements for the recognition of nonpublic schools cover
the organization, administration, instructional programs,
instructional programs, extra-classroom activities, pupil
services, school facilities, and personnel. Policy and
Guidelines for Registration and Recognition of Nonpublic
Elementary and Secondary Schools, March 1984.
Recordkeeping/Reports: The State Board of Education
includes in its annual report to the Governor and General
Assembly the number of men and women teachers and total enrollment
of private schools. 105 Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS)
ch. 5, para. 2-3.11.
Every school shall report to the State Board of Education
by October 15, the number of children who have received immunizations
and health examinations, the number of children who have
not complied, and the number of children exempt on religious
or medical grounds. 105 ILCS ch. 5, para. 27-8.1.
Length of School Year/Days: The school year calendar
for registered and recognized nonpublic schools must provide
a minimum of 176 days of no less than five hours of instruction,
or a yearly total of 880 hours of instruction. Policy
and Guidelines for Registration and Recognition of Nonpublic
Elementary and Secondary Schools, March 1984, 2.01B and
Instruction in English: Attendance at a private
or parochial school satisfied the Illinois compulsory attendance
statute if the instruction in the branches of education is
in the English language. 105 ILCS ch. 5, para. 26-1.1.
Curriculum: Attendance at a private or a parochial
school satisfies the Illinois compulsory attendance statute
if the children are taught the branches of education taught
to children of corresponding age and grade in the public
schools. 105 ILCS ch. 5, para. 26-1.1.
Illinois has adopted the Critical Health Problems and Comprehensive
Health Education Act for all elementary and secondary schools
in the state. The curricula includes studies in human growth
and development, family life instruction, AIDS education
(grades 6-12), alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse. Pupils are
not required to study AIDS or family life instruction if
the parent/guardian submits a written objection. The State
Board of Education establishes the minimum amount of instruction
time to be devoted to the program at all grade levels and
makes available instructional materials and guidelines to
assist schools. 105 ILCS ch. 110, para. 3-4.
Nonpublic school students are eligible to enroll in driver
education courses provided through the public schools. 105
ILCS ch. 5, para. 27-24.2, 4.
Special Education: Illinois publicly places children
with disabilities in private schools complying with state
regulations if the special education program of a district
is unable to meet the needs of the child. 105 ILCS ch. 5,
Students with disabilities attending nonpublic schools are
eligible to receive special education services through part-time
attendance at a public school. Transportation shall be provided
if required in the child's individual educational. 105 ILCS
ch. 5, para. 14-6.01.
Health: Private school students are required to
have a health examination, including a tuberculosis skin
test if residing in designated areas, within one year prior
to entering kindergarten or first grade, upon entering the
fifth and ninth grade, and, irrespective of grade, immediately
prior to entrance, each child must present proof of an examination
as required. At the same time, students must present proof
of immunizations against preventable communicable diseases
as required by the Department of Public Health. Children
may be exempt based on the religious objections of the parents
or due to medical contraindications. Every school must report
to the State Board of Education by October 15, the number
of children who have received immunizations and health examinations,
the number of children who have not complied, and the number
of children exempt on religious or medical grounds. 105 ILCS
ch. 5, para. 27-8.1; 410 ILCS ch. 235, para. 6.
Safety: The Office of the State Fire Marshal promulgates
rules governing the conduct of fire drills. Private schools
are required to hold no less than three full-participation
fire drills during the regular school term. 105 ILCS ch.
120, para. 1, 2; ch. 5, para. 10-20.22.
Under the Illinois Missing Child Program, private school
administrators are provided periodic information bulletins
from the Department of Enforcement apprising them of missing
children. If the school determines that a missing child is
attending the school, the administrator shall immediately
notify the authorities. 105 ILCS ch. 5, para. 2-3.73.
Private school students, teachers and visitors must wear
industrial quality eye protective devices when participating
in harmful specified courses. 105 ILCS ch. 115, para. 1.
Liquor licenses are not issued to retailers within 100 feet
of any elementary or secondary school, with some exceptions.
235 Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 5, para. 6-11.
Transportation: District school boards that provide
transportation to and from local public schools must provide
transportation, without cost, for students attending nonpublic
schools. If the student resides at least 1 1/2 miles from
the school and along the regular route of the public school
bus, the transportation will extend from a point on the route
nearest or most easily accessible to the home and the school.
If the student resides within 1 1/2 miles from the school,
transportation will be afforded on the same basis as provided
for public school students. Separate bus routes for nonpublic
school students are permitted if it is safer, more economical,
and more efficient. 105 ILCS ch. 5, para. 29-4. State reimbursement
for public school transportation may be withheld for failure
to furnish transportation to nonpublic school students. People
ex rel. Bd. of Educ. v. State Bd. of Educ., 344 N.E.2d
The school board of any school district may agree to provide
transportation for students attending nonpublic school activities,
if the Board provides transportation for public school students
and the buses are not needed for public school activities.
A charge must be assessed in an amount not less than the
cost, including a reasonable allowance for depreciation of
the vehicle. 105 ILCS ch. 5, para. 29-3.2.
The Chicago Transit Board is authorized to provide free
transportation, or transportation at reduced fares, to pupils
in attendance at private schools offering grades of instruction
comparable to those offered in public schools. 70 ILCS ch.
3605, para. 30.
Private school bus drivers must be over 21 years of age,
have at least 1 year of driving experience, and hold a valid
school bus driver permit. 625 ILCS ch. 5, para. 6-104 (b),
Home Schooling: The term "private school" in the
context used under compulsory education requirements, that
is, any child attending a private or parochial school where
children are taught the branches of education taught to children
of corresponding age and grade in the public schools and
where the instruction of the child in the branches of education
are in English, applies to children schooled at home. People
v. Levisen, 404 Ill. 574, 90 N.E. 2d 213 (1950).
The regional superintendent has the responsibility for monitoring
compliance with the compulsory attendance law. In so doing,
the regional superintendent may expect the parents who seek
to educate their children at home to establish that they
are providing instruction that is at least commensurate with
the standards of the public schools. The burden of proof
rests with the parents. The parents may be expected to document
the subjects taught which must include "branches of learning" taught
in the public school, the time frame in which instruction
will be offered, and the competency of the parent or other
instructor(s). It is not necessary for the instructor to
have a teacher?s certificate. The parents may also be expected
to establish by written examinations or by some other method
that the child?s achievement is comparable to that of the
child?s peers of corresponding age and grade level. Scoma
v. Chicago Board of Education, 391 F. Supp. 452 (N.D.
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: No
county, city, town, township, school district or other public
corporation may make any appropriation to support or sustain
any school or academy controlled by any church or sectarian
denomination. Illinois Const., Art. 10 § 3; 105 ILCS
5 § 22-10.
Illinois Expense Credit: Beginning with tax years ending
after December 31, 1999, a taxpayer who is the custodian
of one or more qualifying pupils shall be allowed a credit
against the tax imposed by Illinois for qualified education
expenses, but in no event may the total credit claimed by
a family exceed $500. Additionally, the tax credit cannot
reduce the taxpayer?s liability to less than zero. 35 ILCS
5/201 (m) as amended by P.A. 91-0009.
The State Board of Education is under a statutory duty to
provide the loan of secular textbooks listed for use by the
Board free of charge to any student in the state enrolled
at a public school or at a school other than a public school
which is in compliance with the compulsory attendance laws
and the federal nondiscrimination statute, Title VI of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq. ILCS ch.
105, para. 18-17. See also Ill. Admin. Code tit. 23, §350.10-.30.
The Illinois General Assembly may exempt from taxation property
used exclusively for school and religious purposes. Illinois
Const. Art. IX, Sec. 6.
Tangible personal property purchased by an institution for
religious or educational purposes is exempt from Illinois
use tax. 105 ILCS ch. 3, para. 5.
Private school students and teachers are entitled to equitable
participation in all services and activities provided under
computer literacy grants awarded to school districts and
educational service regions. 105 ILCS ch. 5, para. 2-3.43.
Private school students and teachers may benefit from programs
and services offered through the state's Educational Service
Centers, provided public schools have already been afforded
adequate access. The Centers provide education for gifted
children through area service centers, computer technology
education, mathematics science and reading resources for
teachers including continuing education, inservice training
and staff development. 105 ILCS ch. 5, para. 2-3.62.
Private schools are eligible to participate in the Illinois
school lunch and breakfast programs. Applications are provided
by the State Board of Education and must be filed through
the Regional Superintendent of Schools. 105 ILCS ch. 125,
Nonpublic schools are eligible for state grants under the
Asbestos Abatement Act. Any recovery by the nonpublic school
through litigation, must be used to reimburse the state Asbestos
Abatement Fund. 105 ILCS ch. 105, para. 9c.
Miscellaneous: Nonpublic school principals may arrange
for the part-time attendance of their students at a public
school in the school district where the student resides if
there is sufficient space. 105 ILCS ch. 5, para. 10-20.24.
Nonpublic schools may employ public school employees part-time
or on a temporary basis provided the employment is in no
way connected or subsidized by their public school employment,
or conflicts with an employee's public school duties. 105
ILCS ch. 5, para. 24-1.1.
Nonprofit private schools conducted by eleemosynary or religious
institutions are protected from excessive tort liability
costs under the Tort Liability of Schools Act. Civil actions
for personal or property injury must be commenced within
one year, notice given to the school within 6 months, and
liability is limited to $10,000 in each separate cause of
action unless otherwise provided by law. 745 ILCS ch. 25,
Private schools may conceal the location or address of an
individual covered by an order of protection issued by the
courts under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986.
The school must maintain a certified copy of the order in
the student's records. 750 ILCS ch. 60, para. 222.
Illinois gives parents a statutory right to school conference
and activity leave (8 hours), with certain qualifications.
Private schools must notify parents of their school visitation
rights. In addition, it is the responsibility of the school
administrator to verify the parent/guardian's school visitation
for employers. 820 ILCS ch. 147, para. 30.