Private School Regulation
Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: Certificates of
approval are required in Maryland to operate "noncollegiate educational
institutions," which include private Nursery Schools for students 2-4 years
of age, Kindergartens, and Grade 1-12 schools. A Certificate of Approval
is issued based on the adequacy and appropriateness of the facilities,
conditions of entrance and scholarship, educational qualifications and
standards for the purpose of the institution, its program, and certificates
or diplomas issued. Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article, §2-206(e).
Regulations promulgated pursuant to Education Article §2-206
for approval of nonpublic schools include COMAR 13A.09.09, Education
Programs in Nonpublic Schools and Child Care Centers and COMAR
13A.09.10, Educational Programs in Nonpublic Schools and Child
Care and Treatment Facilities.
Institutions operated by bona fide church organizations are exempt
from the requirement to hold a Certificate of Approval from the Maryland
State Board of Education. The head of the bona fide church organization
must, however, submit to the State Department of Education acceptable
evidence of the bona fide church organization legal authority status
and certification of the legal authority?s assumption of responsibility
for governing and operating the nonpublic school.
Requirements described below pertain to nonpublic
general education programs that do not receive public funds and
are approved under COMAR 13A.09.09.
Recordkeeping/Reports: Approved nonpublic schools
must maintain a cumulative record of each student enrolled including
the following: approved nonpublic school name, school address, student?s
first, middle, and last names; student?s birth date; student?s home
address; month and year student entered; nursery school level or
grade upon enrollment; month and year student withdrew; student?s
performance information in each curricular area; code for the meaning
of performance information; and number of days in attendance. Each
school annually certifies its compliance with the approval regulations
by completing and submitting an Annual Report form provided by the
Maryland Department of Education. COMAR 13A.09.09.08.
Approved nonpublic high schools must be prepared to present a transcript
of the secondary school record of each student for each year enrolled
that contains specified components: student?s first, middle, and
last names; student?s date of birth; student?s home address; credits
and grades earned in each subject area; code for the meaning of the
grading system; transfer credits accepted by the secondary school;
month and year the student initially entered; month and year the
student withdrew or graduated; and number of days of attendance.
If a private school ends operations in Maryland, the institution
must file with the State Superintendent of Schools the original or
a legible copy of all essential records of the academic achievement
of each former student in grades 9 through 12. The records will become
a permanent file maintained by the State Superintendent to provide
an academic record as required by postsecondary educational institutions
for admission. Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article §2-304.
The State Board of Education requires each private school to report
annually, on or before August 31, the school's enrollment and courses
of study on forms provided by the Board. Annotated Code of Maryland,
Education Article §2-205(n).
An approved nonpublic school must provide complete information about
the operation of its school and certify compliance with the approval
regulations annually on forms provided by the Department. COMAR 13A.09.09.04B.
The principal/head teacher of a private school is required to report
immediately a student's absence or irregular attendance without lawful
excuse, or evidence of maladjustment to the county superintendent,
supervisor of pupil personnel, or his designee, in order to resolve
the situation. Education Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, §7-302.
Length of School Year: An approved nonpublic school
must provide for at least 170 days for implementation of the school
program. COMAR 13A.09.09.10C.
Discrimination: An approved nonpublic school must
certify to the Department of Education that it does not practice
discrimination based upon race, color, or national origin. Education
Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, 2-206(e)(3) and COMAR 13A.09.09.10E
Teacher Certification: Teachers at approved nonpublic
schools must have a bachelor's degree or 120 semester hour equivalence.
Exception to this requirement is permitted teachers of secondary
school courses other than English language arts, social studies,
mathematics, and science with other exceptional qualifications. Teachers
in a Montessori school must also have a Montessori diploma for the
level of assignment. COMAR 13A.09.09.06.
Curriculum: The State Board of Education establishes
minimum requirements for issuing certificates or diplomas by private
noncollegiate educational institutions that include private K-12
schools. Md. Education Code Ann. §2-206(d). An approved nonpublic
school must have an educational program in English-language arts,
mathematics, science, and social studies which is appropriate for
students enrolled. COMAR 13A. 09.09.07A(2).
An approved nonpublic school must require at a minimum the following
credits for secondary school graduation: four credits in English-language
arts; two credits in social studies to include at least one credit
in U.S. History; four credits in science and mathematics (at least
one credit in each); and eight additional credits in accordance with
the school's written requirements. COMAR 13A 09.09.09.
Special Education: Children who need special educational
services that are not provided in a public program will be placed
in an appropriate nonpublic educational program that offers these
services at public expense. Md. Education Code Ann. §8-406.
The State Board of Education is responsible for adopting guidelines
for the approval of public placement of handicapped children in nonpublic
schools if the local school system can not provide an appropriate
placement. Standards for the education of handicapped children enrolled
in programs operated by agencies other than a county board must be
as high as the standards for county board programs. The standards
for the education of students with disabilities are found in the
Code of Maryland Regulations 13A.09.10.
County boards of education must provide/arrange for the transportation
of handicapped students publicly placed in nonpublic schools. Md.
Education Code Ann. §8-410.
Health: For initial issuance of a certificate
of approval, a nonpublic school must verify that it is in compliance
with applicable health, fire safety, and zoning regulations. COMAR
An individual who has tuberculosis in a communicable stage may not
work in any capacity in a private or parochial school. Certification
and tests may be required as regulated by the Department of Health
and Mental Hygiene. Education Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, §7-406.
County health departments must provide and fund hearing and vision
screening for all students in approved nonpublic schools and approved
nonpublic special education facilities. Education Article, Annotated
Code of Maryland, §7-404.
An approved nonpublic school, in conjunction with the local health
department, must provide scoliosis screening tests for all students
at least once in grades 6 through 8. Education Article, Annotated
Code of Maryland, §7-405 and COMAR 13A.09.09.11.C.
Safety: All nonpublic school employees and employers
who have frequent contact with, or access to, students enrolled at
a school are required to apply for and undergo a criminal background
check. The applicants are responsible for fees assessed unless the
employer agrees to pay the costs. Family Law Article, Annotated Code
of Maryland, Title 5, Part VI.
Any adult who has reason to believe a child has been subjected to
abuse or neglect, must notify the appropriate authorities and the
head of the school. Family Law Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, §5-704.
Transportation: School buses used to transport
students to nonpublic schools must be equipped with seat back crash
pads that meet the standards established by the Motor Vehicle Administration.
Md. Transportation Code Ann. §22-417.
School buses, owned by private schools that are exempt from federal
income tax under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, are
not subject to excise taxes upon issuance of a certificate of title.
Md. Transportation Code Ann. §13-810.
Home Schooling: Parents/legal guardians can assume
responsibility for the education of their children. Such parents/legal
guardians must provide regular, thorough instruction in the subjects
that are taught in the public schools. Parents/legal guardians may
unilaterally select the curriculum and instructional materials and
equipment they wish to use. COMAR 13A.10.01
Parents/legal guardians must select an entity to supervise the home
instruction they provide. That entity may be the local school system
or a nonpublic entity that is approved by the Maryland State Department
of Education or a nonpublic entity that is registered with the Department.
The nonpublic entities registered with that Department include: 1)
nonpublic schools operated by a bona fide church organization that
have chosen not to hold a Certificate of Approval from the Maryland
State Board of Education; 2) the education ministries of bona fide
church organizations; and 3) approved nonpublic schools. COMAR 13A.10.01.
Public Aid to Private Schools/Private School Students: Property,
used exclusively for a charitable or educational purpose to promote
the general welfare of the people of Maryland and owned by a nonprofit
educational organization, is exempt from property tax. The limit
on exemptions for real property is 100 acres. Md. Tax-Property Code
Ann. §7-202(b), (c).
The Archaeology Office, Department of Housing and Community Development,
makes exhibits available to private schools and assists in the instruction
of the life of the early settlers and natives of the State. Md. Natural
Resources Code Ann. §2-303(7).
The State Archivist provides without charge a copy of each new Maryland
Manual to each private educational institution. Md. State Government
Code Ann. §9-1027.
County Boards may allow private and parochial schools to connect
to a closed-circuit educational television system maintained for
public schools at the discretion of the public school system. Education
Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, §7-107.
Miscellaneous: Maryland law provides for representation
of nonpublic schools on the Professional Standards and Teacher Education
Board. Two administrative or supervisory staff of approved Maryland
nonpublic schools are chosen to serve on the 25 member board from
nominees provided by the Association of Independent Schools. Education
Article, Annotated Code of Maryland, §6-703.
A school board's refusal to permit a student at a sectarian high
school to participate in county extra-curricular activity did not
violate student's rights under the Maryland constitution. Thomas
v. Allegany County Bd. of Education, 443 A.2d 622 (1982).