Private School Regulation


Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: The Kansas Board of Education accredits public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. K.S.A. § 72-7513(a)(3). Nonpublic schools are not required to be accredited, however.

The official custodian of every nonaccredited private elementary or secondary school must register the name and address of the private elementary or secondary school with the Kansas Board of Education. The purpose of this provision is to make available the name and location of the school for the request of student records in the event of a student transfer K.S.A §§ 72-53,101, 72-53,102.

Education provided at the high school level by churches or religious denominations satisfies the Kansas compulsory attendance statute if approved by the Kansas Board of Education. Approval is granted for a two-year period based on the following criteria: 1) attendance is mandatory in at least 5 hours of learning activities for each day legally required in the public schools; 2) acceptable learning activities may include parent supervised-projects in agriculture and homemaking, work-study programs or accredited correspondence courses; 3) the program includes at least 15 hours per week of classroom work under the supervision of a capable instructor; 4) students file written reports of the activities they have pursued between class meetings that are regularly evaluated by the instructor; 5) the instructor maintains complete records of the students work and files the records on a monthly basis with the Kansas State Board of Education. K.S.A. 1999 Supp. § 72-111(e) (According to the Kansas Department of Education, no church or religious denomination utilizes these provisions, since they may operate as an accredited or a nonaccredited private school without the restrictions imposed under this subsection of the law.)

Recordkeeping/Reports: he governing authority of a nonpublic school must designate an employee to report students who are not regularly attending school as required by law. The designation must be made by September 1 and certified to the Secretary of Social and Rehabilitative Services, the County or District Attorney, and the Commissioner of Education, or their designee, within 10 days. If a student is absent without excuse for three consecutive school days, five or more school days in any semester, or seven school days in any school year, the nonpublic school shall notify the parents of their legal responsibility, and if an appropriate response is not received, file a report of the absences with the above authorities. K.S.A. 1999 Supp. § 72-1113.

Every nonpublic school operating within Kansas must require proof of identity, e.g. preferably a birth certificate, whenever a child enrolls in a school for the first time. If proof of identity is not presented within 30 days, the governing authority must give written notice to the local law enforcement agency for an investigation into the identity of the child. Persons with custody of the child must not be informed of the investigation while it is being conducted. Nonpublic schools are under a statutory duty to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies conducting the investigation and to provide access to the child. K.S.A. 1999 Supp. § 72-53,106.

Length of School Year/Day: To satisfy the Kansas compulsory attendance statute, private schools must offer instruction for a period of time which is substantially equivalent to the period of time public schools are open (1,116 hours per year). K.S.A. 1999 Supp. § 72-1111(a).

Teacher Certification: Teachers and administrators employed at accredited nonpublic schools must hold proper certification from the Kansas State Board of Education. There is no certification requirement for teachers or administrators employed at nonpublic schools not accredited by the Kansas State Board of Education. K.S.A. § 72-7513(a)(4) and K.A.R. § 91-31-19.

Accredited nonpublic schools are under a statutory duty to adopt a written personnel evaluation policy and procedure for certified personnel. The policy must be filed with the Kansas Board of Education and provide a minimum schedule of evaluations. Every employee must be evaluated at least one time per semester in the first two consecutive school years of employment, but not later than the 60th day. During the third and fourth years of employment, evaluations must occur annually, but not later than February 15. Thereafter, evaluations must occur at least once every three years but not later than February 15. K.S.A. § 72-9003

Curriculum: Accredited private and parochial elementary schools are required to provide a complete course of instruction in civil government, United States history, patriotism and citizenship. Accredited private and parochial high schools must give a course of instruction in the government and institutions of the United States, particularly the constitution of the United States. No student can graduate from high school without successfully passing such a course. K.S.A. § 72-1103.

Every accredited elementary school must teach reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, spelling, English grammar and composition, history of the United States and of Kansas, civil government and citizenship, health and hygiene, and other subjects as the State Board determines. K.S.A. § 72-1101.

Special Education: Local school boards have the authority to contract with any private nonprofit corporation or public or private institution within or without Kansas which has proper special education services for exceptional children. The curriculum shall be approved by the Commissioner of Education upon authorization by the state board. K.S.A. § 72-967(a)(5), as amended.

Special education services must be provided to students attending private, nonprofit elementary or secondary schools on an equal basis as the same services are provided to public school students if requested by the parents. Private, nonprofit elementary or secondary schools are defined as organizations regularly offering elementary or secondary education, exempt from federal income tax under ? 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, conforming to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and satisfying compulsory school attendance laws. If services for exceptional children must be provided in the public schools, transportation are provided by the school district. K.S.A. § 72-5392, 5393, as amended.

Health: As of July 1, 1994, every pupil up to the age of nine years who has not previously enrolled in any Kansas school must present a health assessment prior to admission. A health assessment includes a health history, physical examination and such screening tests as are medically indicated to determine hearing ability, vision ability, nutrition adequacy and appropriate growth and development. Nonpublic schools must provide all known incoming students who are subject to this provision with a copy of any governing policy adopted by the school board. Parents are exempt if they are opposed to the assessment based on the religious teachings of their denomination and file a statement to that effect. Local health departments and clinics may charge a sliding fee for the health assessment but no pupil can be denied the health assessment due to inability to pay. K.S.A. 1999 Supp. § 72-5214.

Private school students enrolling for the first time must present certification that they have received the tests and inoculations as required by the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Alternatively, a student may present medical certification that the test or inoculation would seriously harm their health or a written statement that the student is an adherent of a religious denomination whose teachings are opposed to such tenets or inoculations. Private schools must give a copy of this provision and any relevant school policy to all known pupils prior to the commencement of each school year. If a pupil transfer schools, the school must forward the certification or statement with the pupil's transcript to the new school. The area health department will provide tests and inoculations at public expense, to the extent that funds are available, when parent/guardians have not provided for the pupils and are not exempt on religious or medical grounds. K.S.A. 1999 Supp. § 72-5209, 5210.

Parochial and private school principals have a duty, if ordered to do so, to exclude children affected with diseases suspected of being infectious or contagious until the expiration of the prescribed period of isolation for the particular disease. K.S.A. § 65-122.

All private schools must provide a basic vision screening without charge to every pupil not less than once every two years. The school board must designate someone to perform the test and notify parents/guardians if an examination by a physician or optometrist is warranted. K.S.A. § 72-5204, 5205.

Students enrolled in accredited nonpublic schools are entitled to free basic hearing screenings during the first year of admission and not less than once every three years thereafter. If the nonpublic school attended is located within the school district of the child?s residence, the screening is provided at the nonpublic school. If the nonpublic school attended is located outside the school district of the child?s residence, the screening is conducted in a school of the school district. K.S.A. § 72-1205.

Safety: Private and nonpublic schools are subject to annual safety inspections. The state fire marshal will notify the school of any dangerous conditions that require correction. Schools may petition for review in the local district court if they disagree with the fire marshall's assessment. K.S.A. § 31-144.

Administrators of private schools are required to conduct at least one fire drill each month at some time during school hours as prescribed by the state fire marshall. In addition, private schools are required to conduct at least three tornado drills during the school year subject to the fire marshall's approval. K.S.A. § 31-133(a)(5), (8).

Smoking or the use of tobacco products in school buildings is prohibited. K.S.A. § 72-53,107.

Private school buildings must comply with applicable building, mechanical, electric and plumbing codes. In addition, the construction of all school buildings must be accessible to persons with a disability to the extent required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. K.S.A. § 31-150.

It is a violation of the Kansas criminal code to possess a firearm on the property of an accredited nonpublic school or to refuse to surrender or immediately remove any firearm when requested by a school employee. K.S.A. § 21-4204.

Under Kansas' criminal code, it is a felony for persons over 18 years of age to possess a controlled substance with an intent to sell on or within 1,000 feet of any property used for an accredited nonpublic school or extracurricular school activity. K.S.A. § 65-4127a, 4127b.

No liquor retail, microbrewery, or farm winery license may be issued for premises within 200 feet of a parochial school, unless the school was established within 20 feet of the premises after the license had been issued. K.S.A. § 41-710.

Students and teachers in private schools working in specified activities in vocational, technical or industrial art shops or laboratories and/or chemical-physical laboratories are required to wear appropriate industrial quality eye protective devices. K.S.A. § 72-5207.

Transportation: Private and parochial school students are entitled to transportation along the regular route of the school bus if transportation is provided to public school students. School districts may also provide additional transportation for nonpublic interschool or intraschool functions; but, the terms and conditions must be the same for public and nonpublic students. K.S.A. § 72-8306, 8316.

Privately owned school buses operated under contract with a nonpublic school must comply with state rules and regulations governing the design and operation of school buses implemented by the State Board of Education. K.S.A. § 8-2009.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The Kansas Constitution prohibits any control of the public educational funds by religious sects. Kansas Const., Art. 6, Sec. 6.

Property used exclusively for educational purposes is exempt from property taxation in Kansas. Kansas Const., Art. 11, Sec. 1. (b); K.S.A. § 79-201.

Private schools may participate in the food service programs and receive reimbursement for meals served. K.S.A. § 72-5112, 5117, 5119.

Students attending accredited nonpublic schools and enrolled in an approved course in driver training offered at the school may participate in the state safety fund and receive remuneration for their expenses. K.S.A. § 8-272.

Nonpublic schools may take advantage of computerized information search services provided through the state library and through the State Board of Education. K.S.A. §§ 72-7527, 75-2563.

Homeschooling: The Kansas compulsory attendance law requires that the parents of children ages 7 through 18 have those children regularly attend school during the school year. The compulsory attendance law can be satisfied through home schooling, provided it is operated for substantially the same length of time as the public schools (1,116 hours per year), be taught by a "competent instructor", offer planned and scheduled instruction appropriate to the age-level of each student being educated, and monitors and keeps records of the achievement and progress of its students. Additionally, private nonaccredited schools, including home schools, must register with the State Board of Education.

Miscellaneous: Private or parochial schools have a duty to display the United States flag and official state flag every school day from a flagstaff or in inclement weather within the school building. K.S.A. §§ 73-707, 73-712.

Accredited nonpublic schools and their employees are immune from civil liability for any report of student alcohol or drug abuse unless the report was made in bad faith or with malicious purpose. K.S.A. § 72-53,104.

It is a defense to the criminal act, promoting obscenity, that the obscene material was acquired by the private or parochial school and distributed as part of an approved course of instruction at the school. K.S.A. § 21-4301(4)(c).

The governing authority of a nonpublic school must adopt rules for determining valid excuses for absence from school. K.S.A. 1999 Supp. § 72-1113(c)(2), (g).

Kansas provides for nonpublic school representation on the Teaching and School Administration Professional Standards Advisory Board. By statute, two members of the 21-member board come from nonpublic schools. K.S.A. § 72-8502(d)(8), (9).

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.