Iowa on Hold
HSLDA is still awaiting a ruling on the appeal of the Geiske case. The judge has had the case for over six months without a decision. The judge could reverse without the necessity of addressing any of the constitutional arguments raised by HSLDA by applying the technical ruling in Iowa v. Trucke, 410 N.S.2d 242 (Iowa 1987). Like the Truckes, the Geiskes were prematurely charged because the 120-day schooling requirement had not begun to run. However, to this date, there is still no word from the appellate court.
Meanwhile, the school districts appear to desire to cause further turmoil for both families (the Trucke and Geiske families) again this year. Each school district is requesting information about the current programs of these respective families. HSLDA’s position, based upon the Trucke case, is that the school districts are not, by law, entitled to the information at this juncture. Since the inquiry is for the current school year, any homeschool family in Iowa would not have to begin school until May 2 since they could satisfy the 120-day requirement beginning on that date.
For those members who have hired certified teachers, although there is no appellate court decision that has provided guidelines on how many hours would be necessary to fulfill the statutory requirement, in the case of State v. Schuler, No. 53787 (Aug. 16, 1983), the State argued that the family was required to use the certified teacher for 120 days. The judge noted that teaching the three children of the family was different than teaching an average-sized class. Therefore, since the evidence showed a three-hours-a-week involvement, the judge found the family not guilty of violating the compulsory attendance law.
Additionally, Kathy Collins, legal consultant to the department of education, has been quoted as saying,
. . . If one were to attempt to devine legislative intent behind our rules, (equivalency) one would find a definite avoidance and clear rejection of a minimum number of hours of teacher contact time. However, I am not reluctant to say that the legislative intent . . . embraces the concept of weekly involvement.
We continue to wait for the Iowa Supreme Court or other appellate court to invalidate the certification requirement. In the meantime, members will want to monitor the legislative progress for the proposed homeschool bill.