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10/13/2011 4:40:28 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Idaho--Pocatello-Chubbuck to Vote Tuesday on Plan to Deny Dual Enrollment

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Idaho--Pocatello-Chubbuck to Vote
Tuesday on Plan to Deny Dual Enrollment

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

On Tuesday, the Pocatello-Chubbuck school district is expected to cast
its final vote on a policy that would prohibit homeschool students
from dual enrolling to take a single course. It would permit
part-time enrollment only if the student would spend at least 150
minutes daily in the public school.

Many homeschool parents have excellent reasons to completely stay away
from public school programs.

However, parents who live in the district and who value the right to
participate in public school programs would be well advised to take
quick and appropriate action on this issue (calling school board
members, attending the coming meeting, etc.). Halting the policy in
the first place may be far more successful than trying to challenge it
later. Modifying the policy so it would not apply to homeschoolers
(but only to virtual and private school students) would be another
good resolution.

We have been informed that a final vote on the policy is scheduled to
take place on Tuesday, October 18 at the school board meeting
scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m..

BACKGROUND

Idaho Code sec.33-203 gives homeschool students the right (subject to
certain requirements) to dual enroll in a public school and
participate in "any program" of the public school. For example, this
statute would give a student a right to take one class, for example, a
French class, in the local public school.

But the proposed policy would forbid the student from taking only
French. In order to take the French class, the student would be
compelled to sign up for one or more other programs that would total
at least 150 minutes daily. Applied this way, the proposed policy
would violate the student's rights under Idaho Code sec.33-203.

We anticipate the school district will try to justify its violation of
state law by relying on the flawed logic that they are not required to
permit dual enrollment for a single class since they will not receive
state funding for a student present fewer than 150 minutes per day.
(They will presumably still accept the property taxes from parents who
request dual enrollment for one class.)

The logic that ought to be applied is this: state law gives
homeschoolers a right to participate in every public school program,
and this right is not conditional upon funding. The school district's
anger over funding should be vented at the legislature, not homeschool
families.

And we anticipate that the school district will claim they can impose
this policy under the state law provision that allows them to adopt
"procedures" for dual enrollment. However, a "procedure" that
categorically denies access to an entire class of citizens who are
otherwise unequivocally entitled to access can hardly be described as
merely procedural. It is substantive in every meaningful sense. And
state law does not permit school districts to change the substance of
the law.

We are not aware of any other school district pursuing this policy.
However, if Pocatello can pull it off, it would be very surprising if
others don't follow.

Yesterday HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff spoke to a
representative of Superintendent Mary Vagner and pointed out that the
proposed policy violates state law. The superintendent's attorney
called back, and Woodruff urged her to work to modify the policy so it
would not apply to homeschoolers (but only virtual and private school
students).

Idaho Coalition of Home Educators (ICHE) and Christian Home Educators
of Idaho State (CHOIS) are following this issue closely, along with
HSLDA.

To view the 9-20-2011 version of the proposed policy (see Policy
Numbers 8130 and 8116) click here
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=12602To view the state law granting
access, click on this link: http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=12601

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.
HSLDASenior Counsel

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-> How long are you in for?

Some families are facing what seems like a lifelong commitment to
homeschooling, with children at both ends of the spectrum -- some
graduating and some just reaching school age. If you're going to
be "in" for a while, consider a lifetime membership with HSLDA.
It's a good deal for families with more than 10 years of
homeschooling ahead.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1936

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