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3/19/2003 3:49:46 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Minnesota--Independence of Nonpublic Schools Threatened

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 19, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Minnesota is one of the only states in the country that provide some
tax relief to homeschool families. Both homeschool and private school
students are eligible for tax deductions and tax credits. Two new
bills, House File 743 and 747 and their respective companion bills in
the Senate, Senate File 760 and 761, threaten the independence of the
entire private school community in Minnesota. While homeschool
families are not as directly threatened, it is essential that
homeschoolers rise up now to kill this bill.

HF 743/ SF 760 would force many private schools to comply with the
state's high school graduation requirements for public schools. HF
747/ SF 761 would prohibit private schools from discriminating on the
basis of religion, previous disciplinary proceedings, etc.

While the bills do not directly require every private school to
comply, they have the same practical effect. If these bills pass,
private school expenses would only be eligible for tax deductions if
the private school promises to meet the state's high school
graduation requirements and gives up the right to exclude students
due to religion, previous disciplinary proceedings and so forth. This
means that if even one paying customer wants to claim tax benefits,
the school must choose between its freedom and one child's tuition.
Given the super-tight budgets of most private schools, these bills
add up to an intolerable assault on the independence of private
schools in Minnesota.

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Contact your representative and senator and urge them to vote "No"
on HF 743/ SF 760 and HF 747/ SF 761. You can say, "Many Minnesota
families are paying their own money for a high quality education for
their own children. I oppose these bills because they are an attempt
to take over private education." You can use HSLDA's legislative
toolbox (www.hslda.org/toolbox) to determine who your legislators
are.

2. Please forward this message to other homeschoolers, private school
families, and Minnesota taxpayers.

BACKGROUND

Minnesota is one of the few states that provide any tax relief for
homeschoolers. But, as HF 743/ SF 760 and HF 747/ SF 761 prove, this
puts homeschool and private school families at risk of mean-spirited
legislation. This attack on freedom requires the strongest possible
response, whether or not your family has ever claimed these tax
benefits.

The enemies of non-public education would like to use any tax breaks
as a means of control. For homeschoolers, this threat is not
particularly severe. If parents want to claim the tiny amount of
money that is available under current law, they can pay the price of
taking the high school graduation test. For a traditional private
school however, this change in the law has unacceptable consequences.
If even one paying customer wants to claim a tax deduction, the
entire school must adjust its curriculum to line up with the state's
high school graduation requirements. The school must give up its
freedom to choose its own students according to its own criteria. Few
private schools can afford to turn away paying customers, so the
state can force the majority of private school students to follow the
new state requirements because a minority of private school families
want these meager benefits.

Whether your family participates in this program or not, your voice
is needed now. We urge all homeschoolers to work together to defend
educational freedom today.

Very truly yours,

Scott W. Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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