Private School Regulation


Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: The Nonpublic Education Council may recognize educational accrediting agencies. Minn. Stat. Ann. §123B.445.

Recordkeeping/Reports: Nonpublic schools must report the name, age, and address of each child receiving instruction to the local superintendent by October 1 of each school year. In addition, nonaccredited nonpublic schools must also report the name of each instructor with evidence of qualifications; provide an annual instructional calendar showing that instruction will occur at least 170 days; and make available documentation that the requisite subjects are being taught, including class schedules, materials for instruction, and descriptions of methods used to assess student achievement. Minn. Stat. Ann. §120A.24

A local superintendent or his designee may make an annual on-site visit at a mutually agreed upon time to an unaccredited or an accredited nonpublic school to monitor compliance with the compulsory education law. If there is evidence of noncompliance, the superintendent may make additional visits during the school year. Minn. Stat. Ann. §120A.26 Subd. 1.

Every school must maintain immunization records for students in attendance. The local department of health and board of health must be given access to the files. Within 60 days of the commencement of school, the administrator must file a report with the Commissioner of Education on forms provided, documenting the number of persons in attendance, the number of persons who have not been immunized, and the number of persons exempt from immunization. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 121A.15 Subd. 7 and 8. See Safety, Fire Drill Records.

Instruction in English: Instruction, textbooks, and materials must be offered in the English language. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22. Another language may be used for students with limited English proficiency. Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 124D.59-124D.61 et seq.

Discrimination: Minnesota defines nonpublic school as any school, church or religious organization, or home school where a student can fulfill compulsory education requirements, that is located in the state, and that meets the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 123B.41, Subd. 9.

Educational institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, or disability or failing to ensure physical and program access for disabled persons. Religious corporations, associations, and societies are exempt with respect to qualifications based on religion or sexual orientation, when these are bona fide occupational qualifications. Religious or denominational institutions may limit or give preference to applicants of the same religion. Single-sex private schools are also permitted. Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 363.02 Subd. 1, 3; 363.03 Subd. 5.

Teacher Certification: Private school instructors must meet one of the following requirements: 1) hold a valid Minnesota teaching license in the field and for the grade level taught; 2) be directly supervised by a person holding a valid Minnesota teaching license; 3) successfully complete a teacher competency examination; 4) provide instruction in a school that is accredited by a state recognized accrediting agency; or, 5) hold a baccalaureate degree. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22, Subd. 10.

Curriculum: Minnesota's compulsory education law requires instruction in 1) basic communication skills including reading and writing, literature, and fine arts; 2) mathematics and science; 3) social studies including history, geography, and government; and 4) health and physical education. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22, Subd. 9.

Students attending nonaccredited nonpublic schools must be assessed annually using a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement examination. Students attending nonpublic schools accredited by a state recognized accrediting agency are exempt from the testing requirement. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22, Subd. 11.

Special Education: Disabled students attending nonpublic schools that fulfill the compulsory instruction requirements and comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 may not be denied special instruction and services on a shared time basis through the public school. Transportation to and from the nonpublic school may be provided by the school district. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 125A.18.

Health: Immunizations are mandatory for students attending any elementary or secondary school in Minnesota unless contraindicated for medical reasons or contrary to conscientiously held beliefs of the parent/guardian or emancipated student. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 121A.15.

The Department of Education may assist nonpublic schools participating in a local school district's AIDS prevention or AIDS risk reduction program at a neutral site. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 121A.23.

Safety: Nonpublic schools are required to have at least 9 fire drills each school year and to keep all doors and exits unlocked from the inside during school hours. Records of drills must be posted for review by the state fire marshall. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 299F.30. All schools must be operated in compliance with the uniform fire code. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 299F.391.

Nonpublic schools may develop a voluntary fingerprinting program for pupils in conjunction with law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction where the nonpublic school is located. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 123B.07.

Nonpublic schools may participate in school district chemical abuse programs. Teachers at participating schools have a duty to report incidences of chemical abuse on school property or at school-related activities. Minn. Stat. Ann. §§ 121A.26; 121A.29.

Local authorities may establish the speed limit within a school zone of a nonpublic school based on an engineering and traffic investigation. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 169.14, Subd. 5a.

The Commissioner of Public Safety distributes a missing children's bulletin to nonpublic schools on a quarterly basis. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 299C.54.

An assault against a private school teacher performing official duties that results in demonstrable bodily harm is a gross misdemeanor. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 609.2231 Subd. 5.

Nonpublic school instructional or supervisory staff may use reasonable force to restrain a student from self-injury or injury to another or to property. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 609.379.

Transportation: A school district eligible to receive state aid for transportation must provide equal transportation within the district for all school children to any school when transportation is necessary because of distance or traffic condition. Transportation may be provided under limited circumstances to out-of-district schools. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 123B.86. Transportation is also authorized for nonpublic school students receiving pupil support services at public schools or neutral sites.

Home Schooling: Home schools have the same responsibilities under Minnesota as non-public schools.

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: Minnesota provides educational aids, such as textbooks, standardized tests and pupil support services for nonpublic school children. Minn. Stat. §§ 123B.40 ? 123B.46. Textbooks include only secular, neutral and nonideological textbooks available to public school students. Pupil support services include health, guidance and counseling services. Health services may be provided on the nonpublic school grounds. Textbooks and instructional materials are loaned directly to pupils upon request of a parent on designated forms. If the state appropriation for services is not sufficient, the Department of Education must notify the school districts of the need to prorate the appropriation. Minn. Stat. § 123B.47.

School districts may provide nonpublic school students of limited English proficiency opportunity to participate in specially designed programs for such students attending public school. Minn. Stat. § 124D.65, Subd. 6.

Nonpublic school students may participate in the state's milk program that ensures all students have access to milk on a daily basis. Minn. Stat. Ann.  §124D.118.

If a nonpublic school participates in the school lunch aid program or school breakfast program, the school must make lactose-reduced milk available to students. Minn. Stat. Ann.  §124D.114.

Nonprofit, nonpublic, nonsectarian schools may contract with local school districts to provide educational services to at-risk children under the state's High School Graduation Incentives Program. Minn. Stat. Ann.  §124D.68.

Minnesota may pay all or part of the fee for advanced placement examinations for needy students attending nonpublic schools. Minn. Stat. Ann.  §120B.13.

Nonpublic schools may contract with local school districts to provide American Indian language and culture education programs to American Indian children. Minn. Stat. Ann.  §124D.74.

The Department of Education may provide assistance to nonpublic schools participating in a local school district's violence prevention education program at neutral sites. Minn. Stat. Ann.  §120B.22.

Miscellaneous: The Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation was established to promote academic excellence in Minnesota public and nonpublic schools. Through the foundation, students and teachers are recognized for academic excellence and an academic league provides competition for public and nonpublic students in elementary and secondary schools. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 124D.94, Subd. 2.

Nonpublic school administrative units are eligible for nonvoting associate memberships in the Educational Cooperative Service Units. The ECSU performs educational planning on a regional basis and provides educational programs and services. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 123A.21, Subd. 3.

Nonpublic school administrators are responsible for issuing age certificates for students in attendance who wish to obtain employment. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 181A.06.

Compulsory instruction in Minnesota affects those from ages 7 to 16. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22, Subd. 5. But students between 16 and 18 years old, who seek to withdraw from school, and their parents, must 1) attend a meeting with school personnel to discuss educational opportunities and alternatives; and 2) sign a written election to withdraw from school. Minn. Stat. Ann. § 120A.22, Subd. 8.

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.