Private School Regulation
denominational and parochial schools must comply with accreditation standards
or approval requirements established by the State Board of Education, or
parents may elect to comply with state requirements, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-601(2)-(6),
when state accreditation and approval requirements violate sincerely held
religious beliefs of parents/guardians. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-318(5)(c).
When parents elect to enroll their children in schools that do not meet
state accreditation or approval requirements, parents/guardians must sign
a statement that a) the accreditation and approval requirements "violate
sincerely held religious beliefs of the parents or legal guardians" or
such requirements "interfere with the decisions of the parents or legal
guardians in directing their child's education." b) an authorized representative
of parent/guardians will submit annually to the Commissioner of Education
information to show the school meets minimum requirements relating to health,
fire, and safety standards; report attendance records; maintain a sequential
program of instruction in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies,
and health; and that parent/guardians are satisfied that individuals monitoring
instruction are qualified and have demonstrated an alternative competency.
The State Board may require visitation of these schools and regular achievement
testing. Nothing in these requirements shall be construed to interfere
with religious instruction. Schools that are not inspected by an area or
diocesan representative holding a Nebraska Administrative and Supervisory
Certificate or a Nebraska Professional Administrative and Supervisory Certificate
must be inspected twice a year by local superintendents. Neb. Rev. Stat.
Recordkeeping/Reports: Private schools must notify in
writing persons enrolling new students that within 30 days they must provide
a certified copy of the student's birth certificate or other reliable proof
of the student's identity and age with an affidavit explaining why the
birth certificate is inaccessible. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2007(2).
On the third day of classes, in private, denominational, and parochial
schools, the teachers shall send to the superintendents or administrator
of the school a list of the pupils enrolled in his or her school with the
age, grade and address of each. Neb. Rev. Stat. 79-205.
Private, denominational, and parochial school teachers must keep a record
of the name, age, and address of each child enrolled, the number and county
of the school district, the number of days present and absent, and the
cause of absence. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-205.
Chief executive officers of nonpublic schools serving grades 7-12 must
report the number of students who dropped out, were suspended, or excluded
from school to the Commissioner of Education annually. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-527.
Student records must be provided at no charge to any public or private
school, upon request, when the student transfers. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-2,105
When notified that a student currently or previously enrolled is a missing
person, private schools must flag the student's records and report immediately
any request for the records or knowledge of the person's whereabouts to
the local law enforcement agency. Schools must not forward a copy of the
student's flagged record to a requesting school. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2007.
Length of School Year/Day: Under Nebraska's compulsory
education statute, school must be in session not less than 1,032 instruction
hours for elementary school and 1,080 instructional hours for high school.
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-201. The state may impose reasonable regulations
for the control and duration of basic education based on its responsibility
for the education of its citizens. Douglas v. Faith Baptist Church,
301 N.W.2d 571 (1981).
Instruction in English: Instruction must be given in
the English language in private, denominational and parochial schools.
Neb. Const. Art. I, Sec. 27.
Teacher Certification: Private, denominational, and
parochial school teachers in accredited and approved schools must hold
a valid Nebraska certificate or permit issued by the Commissioner of Education.
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-802.
Employees of schools electing not to be accredited or approved are not
required to meet certification requirement but must take appropriate subject
matter components of a nationally recognized teacher competency examination
or offer evidence of competence through informal methods of evaluation
developed by the State Board of Education. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-1601(5).
Curriculum: Private, denominational, and parochial schools,
K-5, must devote at least one hour per week for stories of American history
and American heroes, singing patriotic songs and memorization of the Star
Spangled Banner and America and the development of reverence for the flag
and proper conduct in its presentation. In 2 grades from grades 5-8, private,
denominational, and parochial schools must devote at least 3 periods per
week for American history from approved textbooks, taught to make the course
interesting and attractive, and to develop a love of country. In at least
2 grades of every high school, 3 periods per week must be devoted to civics,
including the constitutions of the United States and Nebraska, the benefits
and advantages of our form of government, the dangers and fallacies of
Nazism, communism, and similar ideologies, and the duties of citizenship.
Appropriate patriotic exercises must be held for Lincoln's birthday, Washington's
birthday, Flag Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran's Day. Nebraska requires
that all of these history courses stress contributions of all ethnic groups
in the growth of America, art music, education, medicine, literature, science,
politics, government and war service. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-724
Private schools must provide regular periods of instruction on fire dangers
and fire prevention. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-706.
Private schools may request materials for a comprehensive health education
course prepared by the Commissioner of Education. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-713.
Private, parochial and denominational school teachers must give special
emphasis in their instruction to common honesty, morality, courtesy, obedience
to law, respect for the national flag, the Constitution of the United States,
and the Constitution of Nebraska, respect for parents and the home, the
dignity and necessity of honest labor, and other lessons which promote
an upright and desirable citizenry. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-725.
Special Education: The Nebraska legislature may permit
state and political subdivisions to contract with nonsectarian institutions
for the education of disabled students. Neb. Const. Art. VII, Sec. 11.
See Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School
Health: Private schools may request assistance, including
vaccines, serums, services and guidance, from the Department of Health
in establishing immunization clinics. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-218.
Safety: Private, denominational and parochial schools
must provide monthly fire drills. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-706. Private
schools must conduct regular fire drills in accordance with adopted regulations
and keep all doors and exits unlocked during school hours. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 81-527.
The second Friday of May is designated as State Fire Day to be observed
by private and parochial schools to create awareness of fire damage. Neb.
Rev. Stat. § 79-705.
Transportation: School boards providing transportation
for children attending public schools must also provide transportation
on school bus routes without cost for children attending nonprofit private
schools approved for legal operation under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-318(5)(c).
(See Registration.) Nonprofit private schools must certify
to the public school district the names, addresses, days of school attendance
and other useful information, on forms provided by the State Department
of Education. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-601. This provision does not violate
the constitution of Nebraska. State ex rel. Bouc v. School Dist. of
City of Lincoln, 320 N.W.2d 472 (1982).
Companies providing bus service to private, denominational, or parochial
schools must give instruction in safe riding practices and emergency evacuation
drills at least twice during each school year. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-609.
School bus drivers must furnish to the governing authority of a nonpublic
school a driving permit issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles before
contracting to provide school bus services. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-608.
Nonpublic schools must have transportation vehicles inspected by a motor
vehicle mechanic before school opens in the fall and every 80 days during
the school year. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 79-602.
Home Schooling: A home school is considered an exempt
private school in Nebraska. In order to fulfill compulsory education requirements,
a parent or guardian must provide a Statement of Objections and Assurances
for any child between the ages of 7 and 16. Parents may object to sending
their child to an approved and accredited school because to do so would
violate the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parents or guardians
or because doing so would interfere with the decisions of the parents or
guardians in directing their child?s education.
A parent representative is designated for each exempt school. By August
1 of each year or prior to the date that the exempt school begins operation,
the parent representative must submit to the Commissioner:
- A calendar for the school year indicating a minimum instruction
of 1,080 for secondary schools and 1,032 for elementary schools;
- A list of the names of all instructional monitors in the exempt
school, their contact information, and their qualifications; and
- A chart of written summary showing the scope and sequence of
the sequential program of instruction designed to lead to basic
skills in the language arts, mathematics, science, social studies,
and health, by grade level.
When the department deems necessary, officials can visit the exempt school
at a mutually established time. Likewise, when the department deems it
necessary to conduct regular achievement testing of students, it may be
so at a mutually designated and established time. Neb Rev. Stat. Title
92, Chapter 12; Chapter 13.
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School
Students: The Nebraska Constitution prohibits state appropriations
for schools not owned or exclusively controlled by the state or a political
subdivision. Contracts with nonsectarian schools for the education of
disabled students are an exception. The Constitution specifically allows
for the distribution of federal funds in accordance with federal grants.
Neb. Const. Art. VII, Sec. 11.
Boards of Education have a duty to loan textbooks, upon request, to children
attending K-12 private schools approved for legal operation under Neb.
Rev. Stat. § 79-318(5)(c) (see Registration), when funds are specifically appropriated
by the state legislature. The textbooks must be designated for use in the
public schools and loaned to students free of charge. Neb. Rev. Stat. §79-734.
The loan of textbooks under this provision is permissible under the Constitutions
of Nebraska and the United States. Cunningham v. Lutjeharms, 437
N.W.2d 806 (1989).
Meals and food products sold for human consumption by private schools,
student organizations, and parent-teacher associations are exempt from
sales and use tax, including concession sales by elementary and secondary
schools to the general public. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 77-2704.10.