December 7, 2001, 2001

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Admits Mistakes

Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction (DPI) sent a letter to a Home School Legal Defense Association member family informing them that their annual statement of enrollment was being rejected. According to DPI, the family's submitted form did not meet the statutory requirements because specific grade levels of each child were not supplied.

When informed of the situation by our member, HSLDA wrote to the state superintendent and pointed out the error of this rejection, since none of the code sections cited by DPI require a family to supply specific grade levels. A family must simply submit a "statement of enrollment," and parents may place children in one of two general ungraded categories: either (a) 1-8 ungraded or (b) 9-12 ungraded. Our member chose to list his two children in the 1-8 ungraded category, which completely satisfied all statutory requirements.

In response, DPI sent a second letter to this member family acknowledging receipt of HSLDA's letter and indicating that the family would not be required to list grade levels for each child.

DPI rejected another HSLDA family's statement of enrollment, stating that the family's failure to include their street address on the form caused the statement to fall short of statutory requirements.

In this situation, HSLDA pointed out that none of the statutory sections DPI cited required a family to supply a street address on the DPI form. A post office box, as our member family used, satisfies the need for communication. We then requested DPI confirm its acceptance of the family's home-based private educational program.

DPI wrote to our member family, admitting that the street address is not "required" on the statement of enrollment and stating that choosing to withhold the street address would not alter the status of the family's home-based private educational program.

Member families encountering difficulty when submitting their paperwork to the appropriate authorities are encouraged to contact HSLDA's office for assistance.