Omaha Family Has Close Call
A family in Omaha (Boone County) has been permitted to continue home schooling after initially being denied permission by the Arkansas Department of Education. The department of education cited failure to provide timely notice to the local school district, as stipulated by Section 6-15-503 of Arkansas Statutes Annotated, which requires parents or guardians to give written notice of their intent to home school to the local school district superintendent by August 15 of each school year. Parents desiring to begin home instruction during the spring semester must give notice no later than December 15 of that school year.
The Boone County family had moved to Arkansas from Michigan during the latter part of July this year and were not aware of the notice requirement and the corresponding deadline of August 15. As a result, notice was not provided to the local superintendent until August 18, three days after the statutory deadline, and only after the mother had contacted Home School Legal Defense Association to find out what the law was.
HSLDA attorney Dewitt Black contacted the department of education on behalf of this family. Attorney Black referred the department to Section 4.02 of the Regulations and Procedures for Home Schools which relate to continuation of home schooling by a family moving to Arkansas from another state. This provision of the regulations permits students enrolled in a state-recognized home school in another state prior to moving to Arkansas to continue home schooling in Arkansas if the parent or guardian files a notice of intent within 20 school days after moving to the state, along with proof of having home schooled in the state from which the family moved.
Since no school days had passed since the family had moved to Arkansas, HSLDA argued that the notice of intent given on August 18 was not late. Additionally, a Michigan court had already determined the family to be in compliance with Michigan law prior to their move to Arkansas. The Arkansas Department of Education was furnished with a copy of this court order. After considering the information submitted by HSLDA, the department of education relented and sent a letter to the family advising them that they would be permitted to teach their children at home for the 1994-95 school year.