Private School Regulation
Indiana State Board of Education has established a performance-based
accreditation system available to nonpublic schools. The
standards for accreditation are the same standards required
of all public schools. Indiana Code § 20-1-1.2-2. An
attempt to deny accreditation to a school which denies enrollment
on the basis of creed is an interference with the free exercise
of religion. Opp. of Atty. Gen. 1975, No. 22, p. 74.
Indiana State Board of Education implements a voluntary
system of recognition for nonpublic school educational programs.
The system recognizes the distinguishing characteristics
of nonpublic schools and is separate from the accreditation
standards available to nonpublic schools. Indiana Code §§ 20-1-1-6.2;
20-1-1.2-2. Ind. Admin. Code tit. 511, r. 6.1-9.
Recordkeeping/Reports: Private schools
may require students who initially enroll in the school after
July 1, 1988, to provide the name and address of the school
last attended and produce reliable proof of the student's
date of birth. The school shall request the student's records
within fourteen days of enrollment. Indiana Code § 20-8.1-3-17-1(a).
If the proof of a student's date of birth is not provided
within 30 days of enrollment or appears to be inaccurate
or fraudulent, the school shall notify the Indiana Clearinghouse
for Information on Missing Children to determine if the child
is reported missing. Indiana Code § 20-8.1-3-17-1(b).
If an Indiana private school receives a request for records,
the records must be promptly sent unless the student's records
have been flagged by the Indiana Clearinghouse for Information
on Missing Children. In that event, the private school must
immediately notify the clearinghouse and may not send the
records without the authorization of the clearinghouse. Indiana
Code § 20-8.1-3-17-1(d).
Private schools must keep an accurate daily record of attendance
to verify the enrollment and attendance of any particular
child upon request of the State Superintendent of Public
Instruction or local Superintendent of the School Corporation.
Indiana Code ? 20-8.1-3-23.
The principal/school administrator in every private school
must furnish, on request of the State Superintendent of Public
Instruction, the number of children by grade level attending
the school. If a pupil withdraws from the school and the
school does not receive a request for records within 15 school
days, then the private school must report to the state superintendent
of Public Instruction or the local Superintendent of the
School Corporation the name and address of the pupil and
the date he withdrew. Indiana Code § 20-8.1-3-24(b).
Length of School Year/Days: To comply with
the Indiana compulsory attendance statute, private school
attendance must extend for the number of days the local public
schools are in session. Indiana Code § 20-8.1-3-17(d).
Instruction in English: Indiana's compulsory
education statute requires that students attend either a
public school or "some other school which is taught in the
English language." Indiana Code § 20-8.1-3-17(a).
Curriculum: Nonpublic, nonaccredited and
unapproved schools are exempt from curriculum requirements.
Indiana Code § 20-8.1-3-17.3.
Nonpublic schools that voluntarily seek state accreditation
shall provide instruction in: (1) the constitutions of Indiana
and the United States in grades 6 through 12; (2) the systems
of government in Indiana and the United States, methods of
voting, party structures, election laws, and the responsibilities
of citizen participation in grades 6 through 12 for 5 full
class periods within the 2 weeks preceding each general election;
(3) morals instruction as outlined by the state superintendent
in grades 1-12; (4) safety education for one semester in
grade 8; (5) AIDS. Indiana Code § 20-10.1-1-0.5, 3,
4-1, 4-3, 4-4, 4-6, 4-10,
Nonpublic schools that voluntarily seek state accreditation
shall administer the Indiana Statewide Testing For Educational
Progress (ISTEP) to its students at the same time that school
corporations administer the test and make available to the
Department of Public Instruction the results. An accredited
nonpublic school is entitled to receive the ISTEP program
test and the scoring reports used by the Department at no
charge. Indiana Code § 20-10.1-16-9.
Special Education: Students requiring special
education may be placed at public expense in private schools,
in or out-of-state, if their disability precludes achievement
in the local public school setting. The state pays any costs
that exceed the regular cost of education born by the local
school board. Indiana Code § 20-1-6-19.
Transportation: The local school corporation
must provide transportation without charge for parochial
school students residing along a highway constituting the
regular route of a public school bus. Indiana Code § 20-9.1-7-1.
Private schools may contract with an urban mass transportation
system for the transportation of pupils to and from school.
Indiana Code § 36-9-4-54; Opp. of Atty. Gen. 1988, No.
Private school buses are regulated by the Indiana School
Bus Committee that governs the design and operation of all
school buses used for the transportation of school children.
Indiana Code § 9-21-12-4.
Private school bus drivers are required to attend an annual
safety meeting or workshop not to exceed 2 days in any one
calendar year. Indiana Code § 20-9.1-3-7, 11.5.
If a bus driver has less than 30 days experience in the
3 prior years, he must satisfactorily complete a preservice
school bus driver safety education training course. The course
is provided by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction
and may not exceed 40 hours. Indiana Code § 20-9.1-3-7.5,
Private school buses are subject to an annual inspection
by the Indiana Police Department to determine whether each
bus complies with the safety requirements prescribed for
school bus construction and equipment. Indiana Code § 20-9.1-4-5.
Home Schooling: Home schools in Indiana
are nonpublic, nonaccredited schools. Home educators must
teach a minimum of 180 days per calendar year. They choose
the days and keep attendance records. Home school educators
must register by submitting their grade level enrollment
to the Indiana Department of Education. Indiana Code ? 20-8.1-3-23(c); §20-8.1-3-24(b).
Instruction given in a home school must be equivalent to
instruction received in a public school. State law does not
define equivalency of instruction. Indiana Code §20-8.1-3-34.
State law exempts home schools from the curriculum and program
requirements which public schools must follow. Indiana Code
Home educated students can participate, with the approval
of the superintendent or the school board, in public school
educational activities. Indiana Code § 208.1-3-17.3.
Participation in elementary or junior high athletics is at
the discretion of the public school. Participation in high
school athletics is rare because the home schooled student?s
educational program must also conform to the bylaws of the
Indiana High School Athletic Association.
Home school students may not take ISTEP+ or any other public
school administered test unless they are enrolled in a public
school for at least one period a day. Home schooled children
will not receive a diploma from the local public school or
from the state. Seventeen-year-old students may take the
examination for the General Equivalency Development (GED)
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: The
Indiana Constitution provides that no money shall be drawn
from the treasury for the benefit of any religious or theological
institution. Indiana Constitution Art. 1, § 6.
Students who attend accredited nonpublic schools and meet
financial eligibility standards may receive reimbursement
payments from the state for textbooks. The Indiana Department
of Education provides each school with application forms;
the nonpublic schools assist the parents/emancipated minors
in completing the forms and make the determination of financial
eligibility. The school's application to the state must be
filed before November 1 of a school year. Parents/emancipated
minors may be reimbursed for textbooks (20% of the cost)
and workbooks and consumable textbooks (100% of the cost)
that have been adopted by the State Board of Education or
waived by the Board. Indiana Code §§ 20-8.1-9-9.5,
9.6, and 14.
School corporations may rent textbooks to students enrolled
in nonpublic schools in compliance with the minimum certification
standards of the Indiana Board of Education. Indiana Code § 20-10.1-10.2.
Nonprofit parochial schools maintained by recognized religious
denominations are exempt from gross income tax. In order
to obtain the exemption, the taxpayer must fulfill certain
filing and reporting requirements. Indiana Code § 6-2.1-3-22,
Students attending accredited nonpublic schools may be eligible
to participate in the Twenty-First Century Scholars Program.
Indiana Code § 20-12-70-2.
Miscellaneous: A school counselor is immune
from disclosing privileged or confidential communication
made by a student if the communication was made to him in
his counselor capacity. Indiana Code § 20-6.1-6-15.