The Home School Court Report
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November / December 2003

Colleges and homeschoolers

Paul Owen's story

The big picture
2003 art contest

The judges and their thoughts on the artwork

Winners of the three categories
Farris meets with President
A gift for the next generation
Homeschooling grows up

Along the way

Abounding in the work of the Lord

Resource information
From the heart
Across the states
Active cases
In the trenches
Freedom watch
Members only
About campus
President's page


HSLDA social services contact policy/A plethora of forms

HSLDA legal inquiries

Prayer & Praise




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Virtual school program hits speed bump

Tiny Pocahontas School District in rural Iowa had big plans when it invited homeschooling families across the state to join its virtual school program. Pocahontas was hoping to receive full state funding for every student who signed up, but the Iowa Department of Education has brought the district back to reality.

In a memo dated August 28, 2003, Department Director Ted Stillwill said that a student who enrolls in the virtual school program would not be considered enrolled in a "regular education program," as required by state law for a district to receive full funding.

On the other hand, Stillwill stated that the virtual school program might qualify as a Home School Assistance Program (HSAP) if all regulatory and statutory requirements were met. This would allow Pocahontas to receive 60%-per-pupil funding.

Stillwill's decision, which is squarely based on state law, creates a problem for Pocahontas, which was counting on 100% state funding to cover the high cost of the online program.

For families whose children are enrolled in public school, enrolling in a virtual public school would be a small step forward, since it would create a greater opportunity for parent-child interaction. For families who are homeschooling, however, enrolling in a virtual public school program would be a huge step backward, because they would lose their liberty to choose curriculum and their child's education would be under the control of the public school system.

— Scott A. Woodruff