May 8, 2001

HSLDA's letter to Mr. Orr

October 22, 2001

(970) 392-2646

Mr. Clair Orr
Office of the Colorado State Board of Education
201 East Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80203

    Re: Sargent School District's Home School Program

Mr. Orr:

We are writing to provide your office with information as to why we oppose the enrollment program offered by Sargent School District. By way of introduction, the Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit organization of attorneys dedicated to protecting the right of parents to educate their children at home. We presently have over 70,000 member home schooling families across the country, with over 1,300 families in the State of Colorado.

First of all, we feel that this is an underhanded method for Sargent School District to avail itself of state funding by manipulating the district's head count for the days on which funding is based. Only a small percentage of the monies is used to benefit the home school student, while the remainder is used for other purposes.

This is a serious misappropriation of funds. The monies going to Sargent School District should be used to improve the public school system, or should be returned to tax payers.

We are also concerned that this funding will weaken the freedom that home schoolers in Colorado have fought so hard to obtain. Providing home schoolers with funding would require some accountability for the responsible use of funding and adequate educational performance of home school children.

Home-based education in Colorado is governed by Section 22-33-104.5 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. Because I largely drafted the present law and was involved in testifying on its behalf, I am very familiar with its requirements. Section 3(e) states that parents conducting a home-based educational program "shall certify, in writing, only a statement containing the name, age, place of residence, and number of hours of attendance of each child." Additionally, home schoolers are required to take a standardized achievement test after grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. Home schoolers who comply with these requirements are free to conduct their educational programs without any further government regulation. However, accepting money from the local school district could potentially subject them to further government control.

We have seen this progression toward more regulation in other states as school districts are required to account for the funds given to home school students. Our desire is to maintain clear distinctions between public and home education, and for these reasons our organization opposes programs similar to the one offered by Sargent School District.

Feel free to call me if you have any further questions. In order to counsel our members regarding Sargent School District's program, we would request that you contact us regarding the Board's decision in this matter.


Christopher J. Klicka Esq.

 Other Resources

Colorado Revisiting Sargent School District's "Payoff" Gambit

Colorado School District Adopts New Tactic