Alabama
HOME | LAWS | ORGANIZATIONS | CASES | LEGISLATION | HEADLINES | COMMON CORE
Alabama

September 12, 2007

State Superintendent Amends Reporting Memorandum

In the September/October 2007 issue of The Home School Court Report, we reported that the Alabama State Superintendent of Education had notified all local public school superintendents in a memorandum that all church schools and private schools were required to complete the Annual Report of Non-Public Schools. The superintendent cited Sections 16-1-11 and 16-28-7 of the Alabama Code as the statutory authority for church schools to complete the first section of the report and return it to the Alabama State Department of Education (SDE). HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black’s letter to the state superintendent pointed out that neither one of these statutes contains any provision requiring church schools to make any reports to the SDE.

In response to Black’s letter, the state superintendent of education issued an amended memorandum dated July 9, 2007, continuing to insist that church schools complete the reporting form but relying upon the provisions of the Alabama Child Protection Act of 1999 as the legal authority for compelling this reporting. Responding to the SDE’s most recent justification for requiring church schools to complete the Annual Report of Non-Public Schools, Black again wrote to the state superintendent and explained Home School Legal Defense Association’s position as follows:

In reviewing the provisions of the Alabama Child Protection Act, we are unable to find any language requiring church schools to submit the Annual Report of Non-Public Schools or any similar form. While certain individuals must undergo background checks and fingerprinting, the type of reporting described in your memorandum of July 9 is not required. Please be so kind as to provide us with the citation of any particular statutory section of the Alabama Child Protection Act which authorizes the State Superintendent of Education to mandate the type of reporting for church schools described in your memorandum of July 9. For your information, Section 16-22A-3(15) of the Alabama Child Protection Act specifically excludes “Parents engaged in the home schooling of their own children” from its provisions. Many church schools in Alabama are composed exclusively of home schooling families.

In the absence of any statutory authority to the contrary, HSLDA continues to maintain that Alabama law does not require church schools to complete any portion of the Annual Report of Non-Public Schools.