Private School Regulation
Oregon's constitution prohibits state appropriations
for the benefit of any religious institution.
Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: Private K-12
schools may, but are not required to be, registered as a private
school with the Department of Education. The application for registration
must demonstrate: 1) the teachers are qualified, but not necessarily
licensed; 2) the owner/principal and employees are qualified by education
and experience to provide instruction; 3) the facility is adequate
to protect the health and safety of the children; 4) the curriculum
considers the goals of modern education and the requirements of a
sound, comprehensive curriculum with particular emphasis on the highest
practical standards and in secondary schools establishment of academic
standards necessary to attend institutions of higher education. Courses
should be taught for an equivalent period of time as required for
public school students. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 345.525. Registration
requirements are set out in detail at Or. Admin. R. 581-45-500 through
581-45-580. Representation by a private school that it is registered
when it is not a registered private school is a misdemeanor. Or.
Rev. Stat.§ 345.990(2). Registration is renewable annually on
or before October 15. Or. Admin. R. 581-45-500.
Ore. Const. Art.
1, Sec. 5.
Private schools offering residential programs for children must be licensed
by the Children's Services Division. The standards for licensing encompass
the physical health, care, and safety of the children. The Superintendent of
Public Instruction will advise on the education program conducted by the residential
school. No licensing fees are charged. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 418.327.
Private schools must be approved for the public placement of students for
special education services. OAR 581-15-126.
Recordkeeping/Reports: Private elementary and secondary schools
must transfer student progress records within ten days when notified of the
student's enrollment in another school. Or. Rev. Stat. § 326.575.
Length of School Year/Day: Students attending a private or
parochial school for a period equivalent to that required of children attending
public schools are exempt from public school attendance. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 339.030(1).
Instruction in English: Instruction in all subjects in private
and parochial schools must be conducted primarily in English, except instruction
in foreign languages and bilingual education for pupils whose native tongue
is other than English. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 336.074.
Teacher Certification: Teachers at registered private schools
may demonstrate their qualifications by: 1) possessing a current teaching license;
2) teaching at least half time in the subject field in which the bachelor's
degree was obtained while actively working toward an Oregon teaching certificate;
or 3) possess relevant verifiable experience consistent with the educational
goals of the school and the Department of Education. Or. Admin. R. 581-45-530.
Curriculum: Students being taught the courses of study usually
taught in grades 1 through 12 in the public schools at a private or parochial
school are exempt from public school attendance. Or. Rev. Stat. § 339.030(1).
All private schools must provide courses of instruction in the Constitution
and history of the United States from grade 8 through grade 12. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 336.057.
Private schools may offer courses in driver instruction. State reimbursement
for costs however is provided for private school students only if they complete
the course in a public school or other facility. Or. Rev. Stat.§§ 343.720;
See Safety, Fire and Earthquake Instruction.
Special Education: School districts must make available special
education designed to meet the needs of resident handicapped children in private
schools. Such special education must not be provided in the private school.
School districts must provide such children with genuine opportunities for
equitable participation in special education consistent with the number of
children and their needs. Or. Admin. R. 581-15-166 (1978).
Private educational agencies furnishing special education to handicapped children
pursuant to a contract with a public agency must have on file with the Oregon
Department of Education a plan approved for the special education programs.
The plan must 1) describe the population to be served and the instructional
services to be provided; 2) include a staff roster indicating name, instructional
qualification, and assignment of all special education personnel employed by
the private educational agency; 3) describe facilities, equipment and materials
to be furnished and utilized; 4) document compliance with state and local health,
fire and safety standards; and 4) meet additional minimum standards set out
by regulation. Or. Admin. R. 581-15-126 (1978).
Health: Oregon recognizes immunization as a parental responsibility.
Prior to admission to school, students must provide evidence of immunization
as required by the Health Division or a statement that they are being reared
as an adherent to a religion opposed to immunization. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 433.240;
Private schools may adopt more stringent requirements for measles immunization
if medical and religious exemptions are included and the requirements comply
with the United States Public Health Service Advisory Committee on Immunization
Practices recommendations. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 433.284.
Private schools may not permit persons under 18 to possess tobacco products
while present on school grounds unless lawfully prescribed. The school must
have written policies prohibiting possession and written plans to implement
the policies. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 339.865.
School administrators may exclude from school a child or employee suspected
to be exposed to a "restrictable disease" as defined by the Health Division.
Or. Rev. Stat.§§ 433.235; 433.260.
Safety: Private and parochial schools
having an average daily attendance of 50 or more must provide instruction in
exiting the building in an emergency and seeking shelter in case of an earthquake.
Drills must be held at least once a month. Exit doors must be maintained so
they can open from the inside without a key during school hours. Children in
grades 1 through 8 must be instructed in fire and earthquake dangers and drills
for 30 minutes in each school month. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 336.072.
Any private official school employee having reasonable cause to believe that
a person with whom the official comes in contact in an official capacity has
suffered abuse or has abused a child shall make a report immediately to the
Children's Services Division or to a law enforcement agency within the county.
Or. Rev. Stat.§§ 418.740, 750, 755.
All painting or finish applied to interior combustible surfaces except floors
and trim of private school buildings, must be of a fire-retardant material
meeting flame spread regulations established by the State Fire Marshall. Or.
Rev. Stat.§ 479.140.
It is illegal in Oregon to operate a methadone clinic within 1,000 feet of
the real property of a private elementary, vocational, or secondary school.
Or. Rev. Stat.§ 430.590.
Unless authorized by law, it is illegal to manufacture or deliver controlled
substances within 1,000 feet of the real property of a private elementary,
vocational, or secondary school attended by minors. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 475.999.
Oregon assists and regulates traffic patrols appointed by private or parochial
schools to protect pupils crossing highways on their way to school. Members
must be 18 or older or have parental consent, display a "traffic patrol badge",
and may display a directional sign or signal. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 336.450;
It is a criminal offense to possess a firearm in a private school building
with some exceptions. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 166.360; 166.370.
Private or parochial schools through secondary level with a capacity greater
than 250 individuals are subject to additional building code regulations for
structures vulnerable to earthquakes. Or. Rev. Stat. § 455.447.
Transportation: All children attending private or parochial
schools under the compulsory school attendance laws are entitled to transportation
along or near the designated routes when the district provides transportation
for public school students. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 332.415.
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: Oregon's
constitution prohibits any state approval for the benefit of any religious
institution. Ore. Const. Art. 1, Sec. 5. An early free textbook statute was
struck down based on this provision in 1961. Dickman v. School District
62C, 366 P.2d 533, cert. denied, Carlson v. Dickman, 371
U.S. 823 (1962).
Miscellaneous: Church-operated parochial schools are exempt
from unemployment compensation taxes. Emp. Div. v. Archdiocese of Portland,
600 P.2d. 926 (1979), but see, Salem College & Academy, Inc.
v. Employment Division, 695 P.2d 25 (1985).
By statute, Oregon has a Private Elementary and Secondary School Advisory
Committee to advise the State Board of Education on minimum criteria for private
schools and private school registration. Six members are selected by the State
Board from nominees of private school organizations and one member is a lay
person not associated with private schools. Or. Rev. Stat.§ 345.575.
Representatives of private and parochial schools serve on the Health Division
Advisory Committee to advise on regulations to promote disease control in schools.
Or. Rev. Stat.§ 433.245