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Bills Would Change Access to Public School Classes
Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Wisconsin. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>
Three bills pending in the Wisconsin Legislature would change homeschoolers’ access to public school classes.
The enactment of Act 20 last year gave public school systems blank-check authority to impose admissions requirements for entrance into any individual class a homeschool student might want to take. It also kept in place a school’s long-standing power to create unique requirements for admission into the school itself under Wisconsin Code 118.145(1).
This created a situation where a homeschooler’s ability to take a class could be stymied two separate ways: by the school asserting the student is not qualified to be admitted to the school itself, or by the school asserting the student is not qualified to take the class he wants.
AB 555 (as amended January 7, 2014) removes the power of the school system to create unique requirements for admissions into the school itself. This would be a positive change for those who desire public school classes. The bill does not change the school’s power to create admission requirements for each individual class.
AB 555 has a companion bill in the Senate, SB 458. SB 458 has not (at least at this moment) been amended to conform to AB 555. As SB 458 currently stands, it would leave in place a school system’s power to impose requirements for admission into the school, but remove the power to impose requirements for admission into individual high school classes. This would be a positive change for those who want to take public school classes.
Another pending bill, AB 329, would completely restore the status quo to what it was before the enactment of Act 20 last summer. The “pro” is that this would result in schools no longer having power to impose admissions requirements on individual classes.
The “con” is that by restoring the status quo, AB 329 would remove two provisions of Act 20 that actually made small improvements in access to public school classes: the ability to take elementary school classes and the ability to take one class outside the student’s district of residence. No hearing has been held on AB 329, and there is no companion bill.
We want you to be informed about these bills, all of which have some good features, but we are not requesting any action.
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