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6/20/2005 5:49:12 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Nebraska--Confusion at the Department of Education

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Nebraska--Confusion at the Department of Education

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

We have been receiving a number of calls from families who have
received the latest Department of Education paperwork. There seems to
be some confusion regarding the new law governing six-year-old
students. Legislative Bill 868 amended the compulsory attendance law
by raising the age from 16 to 18 (but providing an option for
homeschoolers to graduate early), and lowering the age from 7 to 6
(while permitting homeschoolers to opt out of this requirement with a
sworn statement). Unfortunately, the Department of Education
initially interpreted this change to require parents of six-year-olds
to send all paperwork to their local school district. This is not
accurate.

The law requires parents of children who will turn 6 by January 1 to
file paperwork with either the state Department of Education or their
local school district. If parents prefer to file that paperwork with
the state, they should provide the standard Rule 12 or Rule 13
paperwork as they would for any of their other homeschooled children.
If parents would rather avoid this complicated filing, they may submit
a simpler statement, signed under penalties of perjury, to their local
district. Either option is valid; it is the parent's choice.

The affidavit for a local school district is available from HSLDA's
website here: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2394

Parents who file with the state Department of Education must use the
Department's forms, available here:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2395

Beth Bolte, of the Nebraska Department of Education, has assured us
she will not return any Rule 12 or Rule 13 paperwork filed on behalf
of a child who will turn 6 by January 1. Therefore, despite any
earlier communication or statements to the contrary which may appear
on the Department's website, there should be no real difficulty in
implementing the law.

HSLDA takes no position as to whether it is better to file with the
Department or with a local school district. Some parents prefer to
avoid making themselves personally known to school officials in their
own community, while others would rather use the simpler form and file
closer to home. The choice is up to each individual family, and we
are unaware of any negative effects either choice might have on the
greater homeschool community.


Sincerely,

Scott W. Somerville, Esq.
HSLDA Staff Attorney
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