Private School Regulation


Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: Compulsory attendance at a public school is excused when written evidence is presented to the local school district board of trustees that the child is receiving equivalent instruction, in kind and amount, in some other school. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.070.

Under the Private Elementary and Secondary Education Authorization Act, private schools must be licensed according to minimum criteria established by the Board of Education. The criteria must be sufficient to effectuate the purpose of the Act but not unreasonably hinder legitimate educational innovation. The minimum standards ensure that the quality and content of instruction achieves the stated objective of the program; the school has adequate space, equipment, instructional materials and personnel to provide good quality education; the school complies with health and safety regulations; and, the institution is financially sound and capable of fulfilling its commitments. (See § 394.241 for itemized list.) Accreditation by national or regional accrediting agencies recognized by the United States Office of Education may be accepted as evidence of compliance with the minimum standards. License application fees are $300; renewal fees are $250. Schools applying for a license must file a surety bond for not less than $5,000 or a certificate of deposit for the same amount to provide indemnification for anyone suffering damage from the school resulting from a violation of the Act. Documents of indebtedness for tuition payments are governed by state statute. Authorization may be given for a term of not more than four years. The Superintendent of Public Instruction maintains a list of private elementary and secondary schools authorized to operate in the state and investigates complaints brought against the schools. Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 394.221; 394.231; 394.241; 394.271; 394.331; 394.351; 394.590.

Fraternal or benevolent institutions may claim an exemption to the provisions of the Private Elementary and Secondary Education Authorization Act if (a) the instruction is not operated for profit and (b) if they offer instruction only to their members or immediate relatives. Institutions claiming an exemption must file with the Board of Education the exemption on forms provided by the Department of Education or in a letter containing the required information. The exemption expires 2 years after the last day of the calendar month in which the filing is made. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.211.

The application process for a license is governed by state statute. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.251. Agents representing private schools are also governed by statute and must obtain a permit. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.261.

The Superintendent of Public Instruction inspects elementary and secondary schools at least every 2 years to ensure the facilities comply with health and safety regulations, maintain appropriate personnel records, and have adequate insurance coverage. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.245.

Regulations passed by the State Board of Education in September 1999 allows licensed schools to employ teachers licensed in other states or territories, as long as the percentage of licensed teachers vs. unlicensed teachers does not drop below 70 percent. The unlicensed teachers must have either a bachelor?s or master?s degree with verified full-time or supervised experience.

Recordkeeping/Reports: Private schools are required to furnish periodic reports of enrollment, attendance, and general progress within each school to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.130.

Private elementary and secondary schools may not permanently admit a student until the parent/guardian furnishes a birth certificate or other proof of the child's identity, and if applicable, the students prior school records. Children must be admitted to a school under the name appearing in the identifying documents, unless the parent/guardian furnishes a court order to the contrary or the child is in the custody of the welfare division. If the parent/guardian fails to furnish identifying documents within 30 days of conditional admission, the principal must notify the local law enforcement agency and request a determination whether the child has been reported missing. Nev. Rev. Stat. 394.145.

Before December 31 of each year, private schools must report on a form provided the number of students fully immunized to the Health Division of the Department of Human Resources. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.192(5).

Private elementary and secondary educational institutions discontinuing operations must file original or true copies of all student academic records with the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.341

Curriculum: Private schools must provide instruction for private school students in the subjects required by law for public school students, either under the prescribed regular state courses or through courses prepared by private schools and approved by the state board of education. Nothing in this section may be construed to interfere with the right of private schools to give religious instruction. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.130.

All private schools must provide instruction in the Constitution of the United States and the State of Nevada, including the origin and history, and the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals. At least one year of instruction is required at the elementary level and high school level. Private school students may not receive a certificate or diploma without having passed an examination on the constitutions. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.150. Teachers responsible for giving instruction must show satisfactory evidence of the necessary knowledge of the constitutions by examination or credentials. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.160.

Health: Students may not enroll in a private school without a certificate of immunization unless excused based on a religious belief or medical condition. Students may conditionally enter a private school if a parent/guardian submits a certificate that the child is currently receiving the required immunizations. Immunizations must be completed within 90 days or the child must be excluded from school until the immunization requirement has been met. Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 394.192(1)-(4); 394.193. If a dangerous contagious disease exists in a private school, a child excused from the immunization requirements must be immunized or excluded from school and the local health officer notified. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.198.

Safety: Private schools must conduct fire drills at least twice each month during the school year to instruct students in proper procedures. Not more than three drills may include instruction in the procedures in the event of a chemical explosion, related emergencies and other natural disasters. The state fire marshal prescribes regulations governing fire drills. Copies of this section shall be kept posted in every classroom of every private school. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.170.

Private elementary and secondary schools may establish missing children programs. The Attorney General and State Board of Education will provide private schools materials to assist. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.135.

Transportation: School districts with less than 100,000 in population who provide transportation for public school students may also provide transportation for resident students attending nonprofit private schools on established public school bus routes. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 392.300.

Private schools are subject to the Nevada laws regulating the condition, equipment and identification of vehicles used for pupil transportation. All vehicles are subject to inspection at all times. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 394.190.

Home Schooling: A child may be excused from compulsory attendance requirements when written evidence is provided to the board of trustees of the county school district that the child will receive equivalent instruction. The request must include a statement about the person who will be teaching, where the instruction will take place, the educational plan including the proposed educational goals and the instructional materials to be used, a calendar of the proposed days of teaching, and evidence of qualification of the instructor. NAC 392.025

The instruction may be given by a teacher, other than the parent, who possesses a Nevada teaching license for the grade to be taught; by the parent when the parent qualifies for or possesses a teaching license from any state for the grade to be taught or has provided instruction in the home in any state for at least three years; by the parent, in consultation with a person who possesses a Nevada teaching license for the grade to be taught or has provided home instruction in any state for at least three years; by the parent when the child is enrolled in an approved correspondence program; or by the parent when the parent has received a waiver. NAC 392.015

Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: Public school funds may not be used for any other purpose nor set apart for the use or benefit of sectarian or secular societies or associations. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 387.045.

Nonprofit private schools, including adjacent lots, furniture and equipment, are exempt from property tax. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 361.105.

Meals and food products for human consumption served by private schools, student organizations, and parent-teacher associations to students and teachers are exempt from sales tax. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 372.285.

Meals and food products for human consumption served by private schools, student organizations, and parent-teacher associations to students and teachers are exempt from the local school support tax. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 372.290.

Miscellaneous: Communications concerning possession or use of drugs or alcoholic beverages by a pupil to a licensed teacher employed by a private school and counseling the student are privileged communications and the teacher must not be examined as a witness concerning the communication in a civil or criminal action without the consent of the pupil. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 49.291. Communications during counseling with a certificated counselor and a private school student are privileged communications, except conversations relating to criminal offenses where the punishment is death or life imprisonment. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 49.290.

Private and parochial schools may elect to join the Association for Interscholastic Activities, subject to the same requirements and the same charges as public schools. Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 386.450; 386.460.

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.