Private School Regulation
South Dakota provides extensive guidelines for curriculum
offered in nonpublic schools.
Registration/Licensing/Accreditation: The South Dakota Board of
Education is authorized to establish standards for the classification and
accreditation of all schools. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-1-12(1).
The Secretary is responsible for the classification and accreditation under
the rules established by the Board. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-3-47.
Nonaccredited nonpublic schools, including church sponsored programs,
operating as "alternative education programs" must provide instruction
in the basic skills of language arts and mathematics for an equivalent
period of time as in the public schools. Children in attendance must annually
take a nationally standardized achievement test (basic skills) that is
currently used in the public school district where the child is instructed.
Instructors do not have to be certified but cannot teach more than 22 students.
S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-27-3.
See also Home Schooling
Recordkeeping/Reports: A person enrolling a student in a nonpublic
school must submit a certified copy of a birth certificate or an affidavit
issued by the Department of Health within 30 days of enrollment. S.D. Codified
Laws Ann. § 13-27-3.1. The superintendent of any nonpublic school
must regularly report to the state's attorney the name and address of any
child who has not presented a certified copy of a birth certificate. S.D.
Codified Laws Ann. § 13-27-3.3.
Length of School Year/Day: Under the compulsory attendance statute,
students attending nonpublic schools must attend for the entire term during
which the public school in the district is in session. S.D. Codified Laws
Ann. § 13-27-1. A school day is at least 5 1/2 hours exclusive of
intermissions. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-26-1. A school term must
consist of 175 days. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-26-2. Actual school
terms are established by the local school boards, but may not be less than
962 1/2 hours. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-26-2.1.
Instruction in English: Instruction in any school must promote
a mastery of the English language in oral and written communications. S.D.
Codified Laws Ann. § 13-33-11.
Discrimination: South Dakota prohibits discrimination in private
educational institutions based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, ancestry,
disability or national origin. Segregation by sex in athletic activities
does not constitute discrimination if the opportunity to participate in
athletic activities offered by the institution is substantially equal for
both sexes. Bona fide religious institutions that have a qualification
based on religion are exempt if the qualification is related to a bona
fide religious purpose. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §§ 20-13-1; 20-13-22.
Teacher Certification: The South Dakota Board of Education is
authorized to establish standards for certified personnel in all schools.
S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-1-12.1. No person may teach in any nonpublic
school the courses prescribed to be taught in the public schools unless
the person holds a certificate entitling him to teach the course in the
public schools. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-42-2. By statute, one
member of the 12-member South Dakota Advisory Council on Certification
must be an active nonpublic school classroom teacher. S.D. Codified Laws
Ann. § 13-42-23.
Elementary, secondary and vocational teachers may attend undergraduate
and graduate courses at state institutions for 50% of the tuition costs.
Certain requirements apply including: 1) courses must be a condition of
employment or necessary to maintain a certificate to teach; 2) space must
be available; 3) the teacher must be a resident of the state and employed
by an accredited school as a teacher; and 4) the teacher must maintain
an average academic grade of 3.0. The maximum credit hours for reduced
tuition is six per year. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §§ 13-55-24
Instructors in nonaccredited nonpublic schools do not have to be certified
but cannot teach more than 22 students. Instructors do not have to be certified
but cannot teach more than 22 students. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-27-3.
Curriculum: All schools must provide regular courses in the Constitution
of the United States and the state of South Dakota beginning not later
than the eighth grade and continuing through high school as determined
by the South Dakota Board of Education. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-33-4.
Moral and character instruction must be given in all nonpublic elementary
and secondary schools that is intended to impress upon the minds of students
the importance of citizenship, patriotism, honesty, self discipline, self
respect, sexual abstinence, respect for the contributions of minority and
ethnic groups to the heritage of South Dakota, regard for the elderly,
and respect for authority. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-33-6.1.
Health: The governing body of a nonpublic school is under a duty
to provide sanitary facilities and a supply of water suitable for drinking;
to maintain sanitary conditions; and to install electrical services, adequate
lighting and a telephone unless operating for less than one school term.
S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-24-16.
Any pupil entering school must present prior to admission certification
from a licensed physician that the child has 1) has been tested for tuberculosis
and is free from a contagious form of tuberculosis; and 2) has received
or is in the process of receiving adequate immunization against poliomyelitis,
diphtheria, pertussis, rubeola, rubella, mumps and tetanus, according to
recommendations provided by the Department of Health. In the alternative,
students may present 1) certification by a licensed physician stating that
a test or immunization would endanger the child's life or health; 2) a
written statement by a parent/guardian that the child is an adherent to
a religious doctrine opposed to the test or immunization; or 3) a written
statement by a parent/guardian requesting that the local health department
give the test and immunization because the parent/guardian lacks the means
to pay for the test or immunization. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-28-7.1.
Nonpublic school employees, who are in regular contact with, pupils must
submit a certification of health within 10 days after being employed. The
certification must include a statement that there is no evidence of a physical
condition that would endanger the health, safety or welfare of the pupils,
including tuberculosis. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-43-3.
Safety: Nonpublic schools must be constructed, equipped, operated
and maintained in a safe condition with respect to type of construction
and materials used, fireproofing, the number and types of ways of egress,
aisles and passageways, stairs and fire escapes, wall openings, exits and
exit signs, doors and doorways, shaft ways and other vertical openings,
fire alarm systems, electrical equipment, flammable and explosive materials,
heating systems and fuel storage, numbers of occupants, ventilation, and
all other emergency protection. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-25-1.
The Division of Commercial Inspection and Regulations may inspect all school
buildings operated as a part of a school. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-25-3.
Any person who has contact with children while serving at a private school
and suspects child abuse or neglect must notify the school principal, Superintendent,
or designee. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 26-8A-7. The school principal
must report the information orally and immediately to the state's attorney
of the county, the Department of Social Services, or to law enforcement
officers. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 26-8A-8.
Criminal conduct involving controlled substances and marijuana that occur
within 1,000 feet of a private elementary or secondary school is a felony
punishable by a minimum sentence of five years. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 22-42-19.
Nonpublic or parochial schools may develop a fingerprinting program for
students. The program must ensure that: 1) participation is voluntary;
2) the program is executed with parental consent; 3) the program is operated
under the supervision of local law enforcement agencies; 4) all completed
fingerprint forms are given to the parents and 5) no school maintains a
copy of the completed fingerprint forms. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §§ 26-15-1;
Transportation: School buses used for transportation of school
children owned by a nonpublic school or operated under contract with a
nonpublic school must be inspected annually by the Division of Highway
Patrol. A certificate will be issued if the bus meets state standards and
must be displayed in the vehicle above the windshield. Failure to comply
with this provision is a petty offense. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-29-6.
Home Schooling: Parents or guardians desiring
to educate their child at home must enroll their child in an alternative
instruction program. Applications to the school district of residence must
be filed yearly for all programs active and approved in the previous year.
Before an alternative instruction program can commence, an application
must be presented to the district administrative office and forwarded to
the respective board of education for approval or disapproval. S.D. Codified
Laws Ann § 13-27-3.
Instructors are not required to be certified. The person providing the
instruction must maintain records of student attendance and evidence showing
academic progress. Alternative instruction programs are required to operate
for a minimum of 175 days each school year. S.D. Codified Laws Ann § 13-27-3.
Instruction must be directed toward a mastery of the English language.
Math and reading/language arts are required curricular areas. The amount
of time for each curricular area must be equivalent to the instructional
time in the public schools. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-27-3.
When requested, textbooks are required to be loaned to alternative instruction
programs by the public school district where the program is located. S.D.
Codified Laws Ann. § 13-27-3
Alternative education students in grades 2, 4, 8, and 11 must participate
in a standardized testing program. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-27-3.
The Secretary of the Department of Education and Cultural Affairs may
inspect the attendance records and evidence showing academic progress for
an alternative education program if he has probable cause to believe the
program is not in compliance. Fourteen days written notice must be given.
S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 13-27-3.
Public Aid for Private Schools/Private School Students: Property
owned by any educational institution as an accredited or approved school
is exempt from taxation. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 10-4-13.
Religious educational institutions and nonprofit private educational institutions
are exempt from retail sales and service taxes. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 10-45-14.
The Secretary of Education and Cultural Affairs is authorized to enter
into contracts with United States agencies to administer programs for the
distribution of surplus commodities to schools and other recipients. S.D.
Codified Laws Ann. § 13-14-2.
Miscellaneous: Nonpublic schools are subject to the same legal
age provisions applicable to public schools. The minimum age for enrollment
in first grade is six years old by September 1st. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §§ 13-28-2;
Employment at an elementary or secondary school is exempt from coverage
under South Dakota's unemployment compensation provisions. S.D. Codified
Laws Ann. § 61-1-10.4(a)(3).
South Dakota includes private school students in the school district's
average daily membership to calculate the apportionment among school districts
of the school fund income. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. §§ 13-13-1;
Approved and accredited nonpublic schools may delegate, on a year to year
basis, the control of interscholastic activities to any voluntary and nonprofit
association, provided the membership is open to all approved and accredited
high schools and that the constitution, bylaws, and rules of the association
are subject to the ratification by the member schools. S.D. Codified Laws
Ann. § 13-36-4. Parochial school's use of public school facilities
does not constitute "aid to sectarian school." South Dakota High School
Interscholastic Activities Assn. v. St. Mary's Inter-Parochial High School
of Salem, 247 NW 2d 481 (1976).