Private School Regulation
Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: The State Board of Education
has a duty to assess and evaluate private schools that desire state accreditation
and to prescribe courses of instruction, graduation requirements and standards
for private schools seeking state accreditation. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-2-2
The State Board of Education's authority to approve courses of instruction
in private schools does not extend to supervision, control or management over
private schools. Santa Fe Community School v. State Bd. of Education, 518 P.2d
Recordkeeping/Reports: The State Board of Education is under a statutory
duty to require periodic attendance reports from private schools on forms prescribed.
N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-2-2L.
The governing authority of a private school is responsible to initiate the
enforcement of the compulsory school attendance law for its enrolled students.
The private school must give written notice of noncompliance by certified mail
or personal service on the parent/guardian. If violations continue after written
notice, the student must be reported to the probation services office of the
judicial district where the student resides for an investigation. N.M. Stat.
Ann. § 22-12-7.
The school superintendent of a private and parochial school must prepare a
record showing the immunization status of every child enrolled in his/her school.
The record must be current and available to the public health authorities.
The superintendent must report the name of any parent/guardian neglecting to
immunize his child to the director of the Health Services Division, Health
and Environment Department. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-5-4.
Length of School
subject to the Compulsory School Attendance Law must attend school for at
least the length of time of the school year that is established in the school
district in which the person is a resident. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-12-2.
Curriculum: The State Board of Education regulates minimum standards
for approved driver-education and motorcycle driver-education courses. N.M.
Stat. Ann. § 22-13-12.
Special Education: Local school boards may publicly place exceptional
children in private, nonsectarian, nonprofit educational training centers.
Payment for education and services are made by the local board of education
from funds available. Agreements between local school boards and private schools
must provide for diagnoses and educational programs that meet state standards.
N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-13-8.
Health: No person with a communicable disease in a transmissible state
dangerous to the health of students may be employed in a private school. Private
school employees, including bus drivers, must present upon employment a certificate
from a licensed physician stating that the person is free from such communicable
diseases. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-10-10.
Children attending private or parochial schools are required to be immunized
according to rules and regulations promulgated by the Health Services Division,
Health and Environment Department, unless exempt due to medical contraindications
or religious beliefs. N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 24-5-1; 24-5-3.
The Health Services Division, Health and Environment Department, maintains
a program to educate the general public, including private school students,
on the nature and inheritance of sickle cell anemia. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 24-3-1.
Safety: Private schools are required to conduct at least one fire drill
each week during the first four weeks of the school year and at least once
each month thereafter for the remainder of the school year. If a paid fire
department is maintained in the area, a member of the department must be requested
to be in attendance to give instruction and constructive criticism. N.M. Stat.
Ann. § 22-13-14.
The state fire marshall is required by statute to prescribe rules, regulations
and programs, for teaching the proper methods of fire prevention and control
to all school children. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 59A-52-7.
It is a misdemeanor to willfully interfere with the educational process of
any private school by an act that would disrupt the functioning of the school.
N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-20-13.
Home Schooling: New Mexico defines a home school as "the operation
by a parent, legal guardian or other person having custody of a school-age
person who instructs a home study program that provides a basic academic educational
program, including, but not limited to, reading, language arts, mathematics,
social studies, and science". A home school operator must possess a high school
diploma or its equivalent. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-1-2 V.
Persons operating or intending to operate a home school must notify the superintendent
of schools of the school district in which the child is a resident within 30
days of beginning home schooling. Records of student attendance and disease
immunization must be maintained. A calendar indicating instruction at least
the length of the school year of the local district must be provided to the
local public school superintendent. N.M. Stat. Ann. ? 22-12-2. Students must
be tested according to statewide and local school district testing programs
to assess achievement. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-1-2.1
Students who are in a registered home school may also attend public schools
if the local school district wishes to provide such an option. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-2-8.3.
While simultaneously participating as a home school student and a public school
student, students may receive school credit for course work successfully completed
through public school instruction, but not for instruction provided at home.
Students may also combine school instruction with home instruction in "Family
Schools". Family Schools are programs that are approved by both the local and
state boards of education. Family School students are not registered home school
students. They are qualified public school students enrolled in alternative
education program and may receive credit for instruction provided both at school
and at home. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-5-5.6. Requests for Family Schools are
submitted to the State Board of Education at the option of the local school
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The New Mexico
Constitution prohibits the appropriation of any state educational funds to
support any sectarian, denominational or private school. New Mexico Const.
Art. XII, § 3. In addition, the Constitution prohibits appropriations
for educational purposes not under the absolute control of the state.
All property used for educational purposes is exempt from state taxation under
the New Mexico Constitution. New Mexico Const. Art. VIII § 3.
Students enrolled in an approved private school, grades 1-12, are entitled
to the free use of instructional material. Under the state's Instructional
Material Law, private schools may select materials for the students' use from
the multiple list adopted by the state board. N.M. Stat. Ann. §§22-15-1
Miscellaneous: A special use permit as a prerequisite to the operation
of a parochial school is not an unreasonable restriction upon a church's free
exercise of religion. City of Las Cruces v. Huerta, 692 P.2d 1331 (Ct. App.
Canvassing prospective students to sell a scholarship or collect tuition in
advance of registration for a private school is illegal without first obtaining
a permit from the state board. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-13-16.
The governing board of a private school may request family services on behalf
of a family if a child is absent from school without an excuse for more than
10 days during a semester and the school submits an affidavit documenting the
attempts to resolve the situation. Any person referring a family for family
services is immune from civil or criminal liability unless the person acted
in bad faith or with malicious purpose. N.M. Stat. Ann. § 32A-3A-3C.