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5/20/2003 4:20:20 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maine--Governor Signs Homeschool Bill Into Law

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 20, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

On Friday, May 16, Governor John Baldacci signed into law Legislative
Document 160, putting into effect a complete overhaul of Maine's
homeschool law. The need to obtain "approval" is now a distant
memory. The authority of local school boards to exercise "oversight"
of home schooling is abolished. Thanks to your hard work, the
Department of Education's role has been dramatically reduced.

The next challenge we may face could be an attempt by the Department
of Education to adopt regulations that create restrictions similar to
those the legislature just abolished. HSLDA will be watching this
very closely. We must not allow ourselves to be dragged backwards. I
plan to attend a meeting in June with Edwin Kastuck of the Department
of Education to work to ensure that the Department stays within the
law.

Below is HSLDA's advice for members concerning following the new law
this summer.

GUIDANCE FOR OPERATING UNDER THE NEW MAINE HOMESCHOOL LAW

1. File a written notice of intent (not "application") 10 days before
or after the child's home instruction begins.

The notice includes the following:

> name, signature, and address of the parent or guardian,

> the name and age of the student,

> the date home instruction will or did begin,

> a statement of assurance that instruction will be provided for at
least 175 days annually and will cover the required subjects(same as
previously required).

> a statement of assurance that the parents will submit a year-end
assessment (same options as before). If you home schooled during the
2002-2003 school year, include your annual assessment with your
notice of intent.

2. The notice of intent must be filed simultaneously with the local
school administrative unit and with the commissioner of education.
Although no specific form is required, one is available on our
website, and we recommend that members use it. (See link below.)

3. Although not required, we strongly recommend that you mail the
S.A.U.'s and commissioner's copies of the notice of intent and all
subsequent annual letters (with the accompanying assessments) by
certified mail, return receipt requested. Staple the green postal
receipt to the appropriate document when the Post Office returns it
to you so you can readily document your compliance if a question ever
arises. (It is not uncommon for school officials to misplace paper
work from homeschoolers).

4. If you filed an application last fall and never received a
letter of "approval" from the Commissioner, I recommend that you
immediately file a "notice of intent" from our web page. The
Commissioner no longer has power to approve anyone's application,
even those still pending. Filing a notice of intent will immediately
place you in compliance with the compulsory attendance law. Your
first annual letter and assessment will be due by Sept. 1 of this
year.

5. The academic year is no longer rigidly required to begin Sept. 1
and end Aug. 31. You may determine when your academic year begins
and ends. The annual letter and assessment, however, is due no later
than Sept. 1, even if this does not coincide with the academic year
you choose.

6. You must keep the following records until the home school program
concludes: all notices, letters and assessments you file with the
S.A.U and Commissioner. I recommend that you keep them longer--until
the student has finished all higher education, trade or professional
school, and all trade or professional licensure he may seek.

7. If your local S.A.U. notifies you that they will release
"directory information" about your student unless you reply, they are
not aware of the additional privacy protection LD 160 brought. Let
HSLDA know immediately.

8. LD 160 has no impact on those who homeschool via a non-approved
private school. It has no impact on access to public school sports,
classes, etc.

During this period of transition, we must be especially vigilant.
Please let HSLDA know at once if any state or local official places
demands on families that are not authorized under law. If one family
acquiesces when an official oversteps proper bounds, it encourages
the official to believe he was entitled to do what he did, and then
proceed to violate the rights of other families, as well. If it
continues unchallenged it may become a policy.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, as has been truly said.
The blessing of liberty itself, however, and all the blessings that
flow from liberty, far surpass the small burden we carry to protect
it and help it grow. Maine home schoolers, who came to Augusta by
the hundreds to support LD 160, hold this conviction deeply.

To read more information on LD 160 (as well as bill text) visit:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=861

For a copy of HSLDA's new Maine notice of intent form visit:
http://members.hslda.org/state/ME/default.asp
(Requires member login.)

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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