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State Inspects Homeschools by Mail
So far during the 2009–2010 school year, HSLDA has received numerous inquiries from families who have been asked by the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE) to participate in the Home School Inspection By Mail Program or to complete a Home School Report form. Families receiving the inspection by mail form from DNPE are given the option of completing the form and returning it or meeting with a DNPE staff member to provide the information sought in the form. Additionally, parents are requested to mail copies of their attendance records and test results to DNPE by June 30, 2010, if they elect to participate in the inspection program.
Homeschools in North Carolina are required by the provisions of Section 115C-549 and Section 115C-557 of the General Statutes of North Carolina to make available for inspection at the principal office of the homeschool all test records for a period of one year after the testing. These are the only records which must be made available for inspection, although other statutes require homeschools to make and maintain annual attendance and disease immunization records for each child. There is no requirement that parents participate in any inspection by mail program of the test records, although parents may choose to do so if they so desire. Parents who elect not to participate in this program remain subject to the statutory requirement to make the test records available for inspection at their home at all reasonable times, except that the inspection may be conducted only once a year. This inspection requirement does not obligate families to permit state inspectors to enter their home.
The form being used in the Home School Inspection By Mail Program seeks information beyond what is required by state law. This includes the telephone number of the school, email address of the parent, the name of the county where the school is located, student enrollment by sex and age, confirmation that the school is operating on a regular schedule this year, and confirmation that attendance and immunization records are being maintained. The Home School Report form asks for the same information, but there is no statutory basis for requiring any type of annual report to DNPE. Further, while state law requires homeschools to notify DNPE upon termination of the homeschool, they need not report to DNPE each year that the school is continuing to operate.
HSLDA does not discourage homeschooling families in North Carolina from completing the state forms as requested by DNPE. However, parents operating homeschools should be knowledgeable of the limitations of authority granted to DNPE by the North Carolina General Assembly.