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West Virginia

June 16, 2005

Jefferson County Acknowledges Errors

A secretary in the Jefferson County School District recently sent a letter to all homeschool families implying incorrectly that they must use the county's notice of intent form. West Virginia law allows families to use any form (or no form at all) for their annual notice of intent.

The county's form asked whether the family would assess their child with a standardized test or a portfolio evaluation. Families are not required to choose until they actually submit their assessment, however.

The letter also stated incorrectly that families must file the notice of intent by August 15. Families may file their notice of intent any time before the start of the school year. If starting during the school year, the law requires families to file the notice 14 days before the homeschool program begins, but this is unconstitutional since the state has no compelling reason to force a parent to wait 14 days before beginning home education.

HSLDA called the secretary, who quickly acknowledged her errors. She said she had not intended to send out incorrect information and was only trying to help homeschoolers. We reminded her of the importance of giving accurate information to families. At her request, we gave her suggestions on suitable wording for future letters.

We hope we have convinced the secretary that the best way to help homeschool families is to give them accurate information. Nonetheless, we will continue to monitor the situation.