October 18, 2011

Record Keeping When Filing Paper PI-1206 Forms

Probably neither you nor anyone you know has ever been (or ever will be) asked to “prove” they filed their mandatory annual statement of enrollment (i.e., the PI-1206 form).

But with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) trying to save money now, apparently, by no longer keeping track of PI-1206 forms submitted on paper, some record-keeping questions arise.

Should You Keep PI-1206 Records at All?

Any time the law mandates filing something, it’s a good idea to be able to prove you did it. Chances are remote that you will ever be asked to prove you filed your statements of enrollment. But you should keep records just in case.

What Records Should be Kept?

In line with recommendations we make in other states where some type of filing is required, we recommend that you send your form by certified mail, return receipt requested. Staple the green postal receipt to your own copy of the PI-1206 when it comes back to you. This shows your form was received.

If you choose to not use certified mail, you should still keep a copy of your form for your own records.

Some have asked whether the usual letter the DPI sends after receiving a family’s paper form would suffice to prove that the family sent the statement of enrollment. While their letter does prove this, it contains so much misinformation that more harm than benefit may result if you use it. Therefore we recommend that you not rely on it.

For How Long?

Ten years after your student graduates, a prospective employer, college or trade school admissions officer, etc., might want to see a copy of the high school diploma you issued and the final high school transcript. And you would want to be able to provide those!

It’s much less likely that anyone would ask to see copies of PI-1206 forms while your student was in his high school program. But since it can’t be completely ruled out, we recommend that you keep the PI-1206 records for 9th–12th graders for as long as you keep a copy of their diploma and transcript-i.e., indefinitely.

Final Words

Homeschooling is not about red tape. It’s about the power of individualized academic and spiritual instruction in the loving context of a home. But taking care of the red tape can prevent annoying problems from developing down the road.