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No. 2

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Districts Can’t Make Laws

This past July, the Laramie County School District sent a letter to homeschooling parents informing them that their homeschool plans required board approval and had to be submitted no later than August 5. Several Home School Legal Defense Association member families notified HSLDA Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly, who responded to the superintendent clarifying that home-based educational programs in Wyoming are not subject to “board approval.”

In his letter, Donnelly explained that the school board’s function is a ministerial one and not discretionary, which would allow for the rejection of some programs. He requested that the school district revise its correspondence to accurately reflect this.

Although state law explicitly describes the legal requirements for home-based educational programs in Wyoming, some public school officials act as if they have the authority to create homeschool policies that differ from state law. Often the issues in these policies are relatively minor. At other times they are more serious—such as requiring a strict deadline or suggesting that the board of education has the discretionary authority to “approve” or conversely “reject” a family’s homeschool plans. Wyoming statutes do not permit a deadline for the submission of homeschool information and do not give school boards the authority to “approve” homeschool plans. State law supersedes any conflicting district policy.

Since Donnelly sent the letter, families have had no further contact from the school district.

— by Michael P. Donnelly