Private School Regulation
Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: New Jersey law places registration
requirements on a limited category of private schools that are not operated
by charitable institutions or religious denominations, i.e. for-profit
nonsectarian private boarding schools established after 1920 and private
schools charging tuition for certain vocational education. This limited
category of schools must obtain a certificate of approval from the Commissioner
of Education to legally operate within the state. N.J. Rev. Stat. 18A:69-1 et
Recordkeeping/Reports: Private schools must report statistics
relating to the conduct of the institution as required by the Commissioner,
annually on or before August 1. No private schools may be required to report
expenses or finances; nor shall any such report prepared by the school
be made public. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A-6-4.
Length of School Year/Day: New Jersey's Compulsory Education Law
requires children between the ages of 6 and 16 years of age to attend school
during all the days and hours that the public schools are in session in
the district. N.J. Rev. Stat. §§ 18A:38-25; 18A:38-26.
Curriculum: The Compulsory Education Law requires attendance at
a public school or a day school in which there is given instruction equivalent
to that provided in the public schools for children of similar grades and
attainments. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:38-25.
Private schools must provide regular courses of instruction in the constitution
of the United States from the 7th grade and through high school. N.J. Rev.
Stat. § 18A:6-3.
Private schools must provide regular courses of instruction in accident
and fire prevention. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:6-2.
Special Education: Local boards of education must provide for
the identification of nonpublic school students, ages 5-21, who cannot
be accommodated through the school facilities usually provided because
of handicaps. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:46-6. The examination and classification
of nonpublic school children occurs in a location determined by the local
board and approved by the Commissioner. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:46-8
New Jersey provides for the public placement of handicapped children in
accredited nonpublic schools if a child study team determines: 1) that
a suitable special education program cannot be provided otherwise; 2) the
nonpublic school is the most appropriate placement for the child; 3) services
are nonsectarian; 4) the school is not specifically approved for the education
of handicapped pupils; and 5) the board of education places the child with
the consent of the Commissioner, or by a court order. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:46-14.
N.J. Admin. Code tit. 6A: 14-6.5, 4.2. Tuition rates at private schools
may not exceed the actual cost per pupil determined under rules prescribed
by the Commissioner and approved by the State Board of Education. N.J.
Rev. Stat. § 18A:46-21. N.J. Admin. Code tit. 6A: 14-7.8.
Nonpublic school students requiring the services of a certified speech-language
specialist are entitled to receive services through the local board of
education. Services require the consent of the parent/guardian and are
provided in a location determined by the local school board, pursuant to
the rules and regulations of the State Board. (Nonpublic schools are defined
within this provision as schools offering K-12 education, fulfilling compulsory
school attendance requirements, and complying with Title VI of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964.) If student transportation is necessary to receive
services, the local board of education will provide the transportation.
N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:46-19.1 et seq.
Health: Private schools must insure compliance with the State
Sanitary Code governing immunizations required for attending school. N.J.
Rev. Stat. § 26:1A-9. A child is exempt from pertussis vaccine as
a condition for admission to a private school if the child's physician
states in writing that the vaccine is medically contraindicated. N.J. Rev.
Stat. § 26:2N-4.
Private schools may close due to an epidemic. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:4-5.
The administrator of a nonpublic school must develop a policy governing
the emergency administration epinephrine via an auto-injector to a pupil
for life threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. N.J. Rev. State. §§ 18A:
40-12.5 and 12.6.
Safety: Schools of two or more rooms, or of one room located on
a second floor, must have at least 2 fire drills each month. If provided,
fire escapes must be part of the drill. Teachers must keep all doors and
exits of their rooms and buildings unlocked during the school hours. N.J.
Rev. Stat. § 18A:41-1.
Schools having furnace room, hallway, or stair-tower fire or smoke doors
must keep them closed when the building is occupied. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:41-2.
Nonpublic schools may require applicants for positions involving regular
contact with pupils to have a criminal history record check for information
that would disqualify the individual for employment. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:6-4.13.
Substitute employees rehired annually at nonpublic schools that require
a criminal history record check need only undergo a record check upon initial
employment. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:6-4.17.
Any private school personnel who in good faith reports a person in an
attempt to help cure his dependency on a controlled substance will not
be liable for civil damages. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2A:62A-4; § 18A:40A-14.
School bus drivers used by private schools for transportation to and from
school must submit to a medical exam for the presence of alcohol, narcotics
or habit-producing drugs. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 39:3-10.1a.
A municipality may authorize the chief executive officer to close any
portion of a street within a block of a private school to resolve a safety
problem for ingress and egress to the school or for the provision of recreational
facilities for children attending the school. Closure must not exceed 1
hour between 7:30 and 10:00 A.M., 2 hours between 11:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M.
and 1 hour between 2:30 and 4:30 P.M. when school is in session. N.J. Rev.
Stat. § 40:67-16.7.
Transportation: The New Jersey Constitution declares that the
state legislature may, within reasonable limitations as to distance, provide
student transportation (ages 5-18) to and from any school. New Jersey Const.
Art. 8, 4, par. 3.
Pupils attending nonprofit nonpublic schools not more than 20 miles from
their residence are entitled to transportation if the school district provides
transportation for public school pupils. If the cost of the transportation
exceeds a set amount ($675 in 1992-93), the allocation will be given to
the parent/guardian toward the cost of the transportation. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:39-1.
The governing body of a nonpublic school may authorize personnel or parents
to transport school children to related school activities in a private
vehicle with a capacity of 8 or less. The transportation will be exempt
from all the additional requirements imposed on the transportation of pupils
by school bus. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:39-20.1.
Home Schooling: New Jersey does not have a code that addresses
the area of home schooling. New Jersey?s compulsory education law states
that every child between the ages of six and 16 must attend a public or
private school, or receive "equivalent instruction elsewhere than at school".
N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A: 38-25.
Responsibility for enforcing the compulsory education law rests with the
local board of education. When a school board has reason to believe that
a parent or guardian is not complying with the compulsory education law,
the local board of education can initiate truancy proceedings in municipal
court, requiring parents or legal guardians to document their activities
in providing "equivalent instruction". N.J. Rev. Stat. §§ 18A:
38-27 through 18A: 38-31.
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: "Private
school" is defined under New Jersey's education provisions as "a school,
under college grade, which does not derive its support entirely or in part
from public funds." N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:1-1.
The New Jersey Constitution provides that tax exemptions cannot be repealed
for real and personal property owned by a corporation/association organized
for religious, educational, or charitable purposes and used exclusively
for those purposes. New Jersey Const. Art. 8, 1, par. 2.
Local school boards of education have a duty to loan textbooks without
charge upon individual request to students attending K-12 nonpublic schools.
(Nonpublic schools are defined within this provision as schools offering
K-12 education, fulfilling compulsory school attendance requirements, and
complying with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.) School boards
are not required to expend funds in excess of State aid provided. Loaned
textbooks must be textbooks used in any public elementary or secondary
school and approved by the board of education. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:58-37.1.
Local boards of education provide auxiliary services, i.e. compensatory
education services for computation and communication skills, supportive
services for limited English-speaking students, and home instruction, on
an equal basis to pupils in both public and nonpublic schools. Children
enrolled full-time in a nonpublic school between the ages of 5 and 20 are
eligible. (Nonpublic schools are defined within this provision as schools
offering K-12 education, fulfilling compulsory school attendance requirements,
and complying with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.) If student
transportation is necessary to receive services, the local board of education
will provide the transportation. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:46A-1.
The County Educational Audiovisual Commissions may contract with nonprofit
private schools within the county to provide educational audiovisual aids
to the private schools. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:51-6.
The Educational Services Commission may enter into contracts to provide
educational services and programs to nonpublic schools. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:6-63.
To the extent permitted by law, the Educational Information and Resource
Center provides support and services to nonprofit, nonpublic schools. The
services provided by the center include: a lending library of educational
and instructional materials; preparation of media and materials for informational
and instructional purposes; an educational information storage and retrieval
system; special topic seminars and conferences; and consultant advice,
information and expertise. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:6-95.1.
Local boards of education provide nursing services for pupils enrolled
full-time in nonpublic schools. The services include, but are not limited
to, medical examinations, dental screening, hearing examinations, and maintenance
of student health records. In addition, the emergency care provided public
school pupils is extended to nonpublic school students who are injured
or become ill at school or during athletic activities. Nonpublic schools
may decline the nursing services by submitting written notification to
the local board of education. Students are not compelled to receive services
if their parent/guardian objects, except for a physical or medical examination
to determine whether the pupil is ill or infected with a communicable disease.
N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:40-23 et seq. N.J. Admin. Code tit. 6§ 29-8(a).
The local boards of education have a duty to loan educational materials
developed by the Commissioner of Education on the nature and effects of
drugs, alcohol, anabolic steroids, tobacco and controlled dangerous substances
to pupils attending nonpublic schools. N.J. Rev. Stat. §§ 18A:40A-5;
By statute, the Commissioner of Education is directed to promote environmental
education programs in nonprofit elementary and secondary schools and to
assist in their development. Nonprofit schools may use the state's environmental
education centers. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:6-91.1.
The New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education provides assistance and
advice to private schools on the implementation of Holocaust education
and awareness programs. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:4A-3.
Boards of Education may sell tracts of land no longer desirable for public
school purposes to nonprofit private schools for the handicapped at the
fair market price. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:20-9.2.
Nonprofit nonpublic schools participating in the National School Lunch
Program will be reimbursed with Federal funds, and if insufficient for
the cost, may be supplemented with state funds. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:58-7.1 et
seq. (Nonpublic schools are defined within this provision as schools
offering K-12 education, fulfilling compulsory school attendance requirements,
and complying with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.)
Corporations operated exclusively for educational purposes are exempt
from sales tax if the earnings do not benefit any private individual, the
organization's activities do not attempt to influence legislation, or intervene
in any political campaign. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 54:32B-9.
Private or parochial schools conducting a course in driver education approved
by the State Department of Education are not charged license fees. N.J.
Rev. Stat. § 39:12-2.
By statute, local school boards are required to present each pupil upon
graduation from any elementary school a bound copy of the Declaration of
Independence, the United States Constitution, and the New Jersey Constitution.
N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:36-18.
Miscellaneous: It is illegal for a municipality or county to discriminate
between public and private nonprofit day schools of elementary or high
school grade accredited by the State Department of Education by zoning
ordinances governing the use of land. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 40:55D-66.
The New Jersey Constitution makes games of chance legal for educational
or religious organizations when the net proceeds are devoted to educational
or religious uses. New Jersey Const. Art. 4, 7, par. 2A.
The Office of Financial Assistance prepares an annual report listing all
sources of financial assistance available to New Jersey students attending
any institution of higher education. The report is distributed to each
private secondary school in the state. N.J. Rev. Stat. §§ 18A:3-14.1;
Private school officials must provide a voter registration form and related
nonpartisan materials to each eligible high school pupil in conjunction
with the voter registration drive. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:36-27.
Parents of any minor who injure any public or nonpublic school property
are liable for damages for the amount of injury. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:37-3.
Employees of private schools are prohibited from inflicting corporal punishment
upon a pupil attending school. However, employees may use reasonable and
necessary force to quell a disturbance, threatening physical injury to
others, to obtain weapons, for self-defense and for the protection of persons
or property. N.J. Rev. Stat. §18A:6-1.
By statute, nonprofit, nonpublic schools are represented by two members
on the board of directors governing the Educational Information and Resource
Center. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 18A:6-97.
Private school educators are included in the steering committee for the
Governor's Teaching Scholars Loan Program. N.J. Rev. Stat.§ 18A:71-82.
Private secondary school students are eligible to participate in the Legislative
Internship Program operated in cooperation with the New Jersey Association
of High School Councils.