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J. Michael Smith, Esq.
President

Michael P. Farris, Esq.
Chairman

Public School Access for Homeschoolers—A Legal Summary

VERMONT

School boards are required to adopt rules to integrate home study students into school courses, (cocurricular and extracurricular) and use of facilities. Vermont Statutes Annotated 16 § 563(24). School boards must follow Vermont Department of Education guidelines found in Code of Vermont Rules 22-000-009, Sec. 4401-4405.

Code of Vermont Rules 22-000-009, Sec. 4404

4401 Statutory Authority: Section 1(c) of Act 119 of 1998; 16 V.S.A. §563(24).

4402 Definitions

“Facilities” means the portions of a school building and grounds used by students for classes, study and co-curricular or extracurricular activities.

“Home study student” means a student enrolled in a registered home study program pursuant to 16 V.S.A. §166b.

“Integrated course” means a course covering two or more subjects that are taught in a unified manner by one teacher or team where the subjects cannot be separated into discrete sections for purposes of student attendance.

4403 Part-time Enrollment of Home Study Students in Public School Academic Programs

4403.1 A home study student shall be eligible to enroll as a part-time student in a school operated by his or her district of residence or, if the district does not operate a school, in a public school for which his or her district of residence is required to pay tuition.

4403.2 Each school board shall adopt, by July 1, 1999, policies and procedures to ensure that home study students who request part-time enrollment in academic courses or programs are accepted into those courses or programs, and are furnished with required learning materials, on the same basis as full-time students.

4403.3 Policies and procedures adopted under this rule shall:

(a) upon inquiry by a home study student or parent, require the provision by the district of the student’s residence of information concerning the availability of part-time enrollment in school. Such information shall include procedures, including registration deadlines, that home study students must follow to enroll on a part-time basis in the schools operated by the home study student’s district of residence. In the event the district of residence does not operate a school in the grades appropriate to the inquiring student, the student or parents shall be given information on how to contact neighboring school districts that accept tuition students from the district of residence.

(b) apply the same enrollment procedures and deadlines to home study students that apply to full-time students.

(c) specify any enrollment capacity limits that the school board will apply to particular academic courses or grade levels. Capacity limits shall apply equally to home study and full-time students.

(d) establish criteria to determine whether home study students are eligible to enroll in integrated courses and courses that are available only to students who fulfill prerequisites. Criteria applied to courses with prerequisites shall be applied equally to home study and full-time students. Reasonable indications that academic criteria have been met, including results from achievement tests or other indications of adequate preparation, may be required of home study students, so long as those students are required to meet the same prerequisite standards as full-time students.

(e) establish informal and expeditious processes to appeal denials of requests for part-time enrollment to administrators and/or the school board.

4404 Participation of Home Study Students in Public School Co-curricular and Extracurricular Activities

4404.1 A home study student shall be eligible to participate in or, when selection to participate in an activity is made on a competitive basis, to try out for, one or more co-curricular or extracurricular activities at a school operated by his or her district of residence or, if the district does not operate a school, at a public school for which his or her district is required to pay tuition. This rule is not intended to confer a right upon any student to participate in any activity. Although a home student need not enroll in academic programs to participate in activities under this rule, he or she must show compliance with insurance, physical examination, age, transfer and other requirements of the Vermont Principals Association on the same basis as enrolled students.

4404.2 Each school board shall adopt, by July 1, 1999, policies and procedures to ensure that home study students who wish to participate in co-curricular or extracurricular activities are accepted into those activities without first being required to enroll as part-time students at the sponsoring school.

4404.3 Policies and procedures adopted under this rule shall:

(a) upon inquiry by a home study student or parent, require the provision by the district of the student’s residence of information concerning the eligibility of home study students to participate in co-curricular or extracurricular activities. Such information shall include procedures, including registration deadlines, that home study students must follow to participate in activities at schools operated by the home study student’s district of residence. In the event the district of residence does not operate a school in the grades appropriate to the inquiring student, the student or parents shall be given information on how to contact neighboring school districts that accept tuition students from the district of residence.

(b) apply the same activity registration deadlines to home study students that apply to full-time students.

(c) apply the same academic eligibility requirements to home study students that apply to full-time students. Policies may require the parents of home study students to provide assurances that the school&rsqou;s academic eligibility standards are being met. Such assurances may be required at the same intervals during the year as is required of full-time students. A home study parent’s assurance that the student meets the district’s academic standards, provided at the intervals required by the school, shall be sufficient to satisfy academic eligibility requirements.

(d) establish priorities and criteria for admitting students to particular activities. When space is limited in a particular activity, preference may be given to enrolled students as long as the reporting requirement in § 4404.4 of these rules is met. Procedures for admitting home study students to activities with limited spaces may include lotteries, first-comefirst-served waiting lists and performance-based criteria for participation on sports teams or in activities.

(e) Policies adopted in compliance with this rule shall establish informal and expeditious procedures to appeal denials of requests to participate in activities to administrators and/or the school board.

4404.4 When a home study student’s request to participate in an activity is denied on the grounds that space is not available and that preference is given to full-time students, the school shall, within 30 days of the denial, notify the Home Study Consultant at the Department of Education on a form provided by the Department.

4405 Use of School Facilities by Home Study Students

4405.1 A home study student may use facilities at a school operated by his or her district of residence or, if the district does not operate a school, at a public school for which his or her district is required to pay tuition.

4405.2 Each school board shall adopt, by July 1, 1999, policies and procedures to ensure that home study students are allowed to use school facilities on the same basis as full-time students.

4405.3 Policies and procedures adopted under this rule shall:

(a) apply to home study students the same criteria, procedures and deadlines for requesting the use of school facilities as are applied to full-time students.

(b) upon inquiry by a home study student or parent, require the provision by the district of the student's residence of information concerning the use of school facilities operated by the district. In the event the district does not operate a school in the grades appropriate to the inquiring student, the student or parents shall be given information on how to contact neighboring school districts which accept tuition students from the district of residence.

(c) provide for the establishment of criteria to determine whether sufficient space is available to comply with specific requests for facilities use. Criteria may also be developed to establish fees, to be applied equally to home study and full-time students, for security, janitorial or other services not normally available at the time of the requested use.