Private School Regulation


Effective July 1, 1995, the State Board of Education will classify and charter nonpublic schools according to prescribed standards on a voluntary basis. No charter will be granted to a nonpublic school unless the school elects to administer standardized tests. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3301.07.

Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: Schools other than public schools must conform to the minimum standards prescribed by the State Board of Education. Ohio Rev. Code Ann.§ 3321.07.

The State Board of Education classifies and charters nonpublic schools according to prescribed standards on a voluntary basis. The State Board of Education will consider the particular needs, methods and objectives of nonpublic schools provided they do not conflict with a high quality general education and regular procedures are followed for the promotion of pupils. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. ? 3301.07(D). Effective July 1, 1995, no charter will be granted to a nonpublic school unless, pursuant to § 3301.0711(K), the school elects to administer the ninth grade statewide proficiency tests, prescribed under § 3301.0710(B), beginning July 1, 1995. The state board shall revoke the charter of any nonpublic school that does not comply with ? 3313.612, prohibiting nonpublic schools from granting high school diplomas to anyone unless they have attained at least the applicable scores on the ninth grade proficiency tests with limited exceptions or, does not participate in the ninth grade proficiency testing program under ? 3301.0710(B). Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3301.16. Ohio Admin. Code § 3301-35.

Recordkeeping/Reports: A student enrolling in a nonpublic school must present: 1) records of prior school enrollment; 2) a certified copy of a court order allocating parental rights, if applicable; and, 3) a certification of birth. Within 24 hours of enrollment, a school official must request the pupil's official records from the sending school. If the school claims it has no records of attendance or the records are not received within 14 days, or if the pupil does not present a certification of birth, the school official must notify the local law enforcement agency of the possibility that the pupil is a missing child. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.672.

Parochial and private schools must file annual reports to the State Board of Education on forms provided by the Board. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3301.14.

Private and parochial schools must report to the Treasurer of the Board of Education the names, ages, and residence of all pupils under 18 within the first two weeks of school to facilitate carrying out the laws relating to compulsory education and the employment of minors. Reports must be updated within the first week of every subsequent school month. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3321.12.

Nonpublic school administrators may request from the local school district an accounting of the moneys received by the district under ' 3317.06 for students attending chartered nonpublic schools.(See Public Aid.) Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3317.024(P).

Length of School Year/Day: Students enrolled in schools other than public schools must attend for equivalent hours and term of attendance for public school students. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3321.07.

Private and parochial schools may prescribe when a child may be excused for absence from school for good and sufficient reasons. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3321.04.

Discrimination: The provision of transportation for nonpublic school students with state funds is conditioned on the school's nondiscrimination in the selection of pupils, faculty members, and employees based on race, color, religion or national origin. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3327.01.

Blind, deaf, and mobility impaired persons assisted by guide dogs are entitled to the full and equal accommodations in institutions of education, including nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 955.43.

Teacher Certification: Standards for teacher certification for nontax-supported schools provide for certification without further educational requirements for individuals with a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Standards for teacher certification in nonchartered nontax-supported schools provide for certification without further educational requirements for individuals who have attended Bible colleges and Bible institutes. Teachers in nonchartered, nontax-supported schools are exempt from certification fees. Ohio Rev. Code Ann.§ 3301.071.

Curriculum: Chartered nonpublic schools may participate in the statewide proficiency test program if the chief administrator submits a written request to the Superintendent of Public Instruction prior to August 1. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3301.0711(K).

After September 15, 1998, no chartered nonpublic school may grant a high school diploma unless the student has attained applicable scores on requisite tests, with limited exceptions. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §§ 3313.612; 3301.0710.

Special Education: The Department of Education will consult with chartered nonpublic schools regarding sign language interpreters for the instruction of hearing-impaired children. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3323.17.

Health: No person may establish an institution for persons suffering from a communicable disease, defined by the Director of Health, within 2,000 feet of any private or parochial school. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.74.

Safety: Principals of private schools having an average daily attendance of 50 students or more must instruct and train the students to exit buildings by drills at least once a month. The doors and exits of school buildings must be unlocked during school buildings. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3737.73.

Ohio's Missing Child Educational Program will assist nonpublic schools in developing cooperative programs with local law enforcement agencies for fingerprinting children. The Office of the Attorney General will disseminate periodic information bulletins of missing children to nonpublic schools. If the chief administrator of a nonpublic school is notified that a missing child is attending his school, the administrator must notify the Missing Children Clearinghouse and the local law enforcement agency immediately. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. '' §§ 109.65; 3301.25.

The hiring officer of any chartered nonpublic school must request a criminal records check for any applicant for a position responsible for the care, custody, or control of a child. The request must be made to the Superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. If the applicant was convicted or plead guilty to certain crimes listed, the school cannot employ the individual. The cost of the criminal records check is born by the school, but may be passed on to the applicant if notified beforehand. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3319.39.

Chartered nonpublic schools must comply with written requests for student records from entities investigating complaints of child abuse and neglect unless the school determines they are prohibited by law and file a motion with the court. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2151.141.

The State Board of Education will provide technical assistance to chartered nonpublic schools on Block Parent Programs, i.e. voluntary programs to provide students temporary refuge. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3301.076.

If known, chartered nonpublic schools will be notified by the prosecuting attorney if an employed certificated teacher is convicted or pleads guilty to certain criminal violations. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3319.52.

Transportation: Students, grades K-8, who attend nonpublic schools and reside more than 2 miles from school and within 30 minutes travel time by yellow school bus from the public school of assignment to the nonpublic school will receive transportation unless the local and State Board of Education deems the transportation unnecessary or unreasonable. In lieu of transportation, the board may reimburse families the costs of transportation. School boards may provide students, grades 9-12, transportation to and from nonpublic schools. The boards must provide transportation for students with disabilities. Transportation is conditioned on the school's nondiscrimination in the selection of pupils, faculty members, and employees based on race, color, religion or national origin. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3327.01.

Transportation for students attending sectarian schools does not violate the Ohio constitutional provision prohibiting religious control over state school funds.Honohan v. Holt, 244 NE2d 537 (1968).

School districts may lease busses to nonpublic schools located within the district for school related activities that would be approved school related activities offered by a public school. The cost must not exceed the costs of operating the busses. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3327.13.

Home Schooling: A parent who elects to provide home education must supply the following information to the superintendent of schools of the district or residence: name and contact information for student/s, parent/s and instructor; assurance that home education will follow a prescribed list of subjects to be taught except that home education shall not be required to include any concept, topic, or practice that is in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parents; brief outline of the intended curriculum; list of textbooks or other basic teaching materials that the parent intends to use for home education; assurance that the child will be provided a minimum of 900 hours of home education each school year; and assurance that the home teacher has a high school diploma or the certificate of high school equivalence or standardized test scores that demonstrate high school equivalence or other equivalent credential found appropriate by the superintendent. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3321.04; Ohio Admin. Code § 3301-34-03.

The parent shall send to the superintendent an academic assessment report of the child for the previous school year at the time of supplying subsequent notification. Ohio Admin. Code § 3301-34-04.

If the annual academic assessment indicates that the child is not demonstrating reasonable proficiency, the parent will be required to develop a plan of remediation and submit a quarterly report to the superintendent. If the child does not demonstrate reasonable progress during remediation, the superintendent may, subsequent to a due process hearing, revoke the child?s excuse from attendance and notify the parents in writing to enroll the child within 30 calendar days in a school in compliance with Chapter 3301-35 of the Administrative Code. Ohio Admin. Code § 3301-34-05.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: According to the Ohio Constitution, a religious sect may not control any part of the state's school funds. Ohio Const. Art. VI, Sec. 2.

State allocations paid to local school districts for chartered nonpublic schools may be used for the following purposes: 1) approved secular textbooks; 2) speech and hearing diagnostic services; 3) physician, nursing, dental, and optometric services; 4) diagnostic psychological services; 5) guidance and counseling services; 6) remedial services; 7) standardized tests and scoring services; 8) programs for handicapped and gifted children; 9) clerical personnel for the administration of programs; and 10) secular, neutral, and nonideological computer software and mathematics or science equipment and materials generally used in the public schools. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3317.06.

The Superintendent of Public Instruction annually reimburses chartered nonpublic schools for actual mandated administrative and clerical costs incurred in preparing, maintaining and filing reports, forms, and records. Reimbursement will not exceed $250 per pupil enrolled in the nonpublic school. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3317.063.

Nonprofit private schools eligible to participate in food service programs should apply to the State Board of Education for assistance. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.813.

Nonpublic school students may participate in public school vocational education programs without assessment other than charges paid by public school students. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.90.

The sale of food to students in a cafeteria maintained in a private or parochial school is exempt from sales tax. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 5739.02.

Miscellaneous: The State Board of Education submits annually a ten-year projection of nonpublic school enrollment, by year and by grade level, to the Governor and General Assembly. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3301.07(F).

Principals of private and parochial schools must display the United States flag, not less than 5 feet in length, over, near, or within all schoolhouses when in session. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.80.

Nonpublic school students may participate in Ohio's post-secondary enrollment options program. Nonpublic schools must provide students information about the program prior to March 1. Students must notify the nonpublic school by March 30 of their intention to participate. The chief administrator of a nonpublic school must counsel students before participation of the possible risks and consequences of participation. Students may elect to receive both college credit and high school credit. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3365.02

Nonpublic school teachers, principals and administrators may use reasonable corporal punishment whenever such punishment is reasonably necessary to preserve discipline, subject to the school's own policies. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3319.41

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.