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J. Michael Smith, Esq.

Michael P. Farris, Esq.

Public School Access for Homeschoolers—A Legal Summary


Students receiving “competent public instruction” may dual enroll with the public school to participate in any academic, instructional, or extracurricular activities offered by the school district. Iowa Code § 256.46, 299A8, Iowa Administrative Code § 281-31.5-6.

Iowa Code § 256.46

Rules for participation in extracurricular activities by certain children.

The state board shall adopt rules that permit a child who does not meet the residence requirements for participation in extracurricular interscholastic contests or competitions sponsored or administered by an organization as defined in section 280.13 to participate in the contests or competitions immediately if the child is duly enrolled in a school, is otherwise eligible to participate, and meets one of the following circumstances or a similar circumstance: the child has been adopted; the child is placed under foster or shelter care; the child is living with one of the child’s parents as a result of divorce, separation, death, or other change in the child’s parents’ marital relationship; the child is a foreign exchange student; the child has been placed in a juvenile correctional facility; the child is a ward of the court or the state; the child is a participant in a substance abuse or mental health program; or the child is enrolled in an accredited nonpublic high school because the child’s district of residence has entered into a whole grade sharing agreement for the pupil’s grade with another district.

Iowa Code § 299A.8

Dual enrollment.

If a parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child who is receiving competent private instruction under this chapter or a child over compulsory age who is receiving private instruction submits a request, the child shall also be registered in a public school for dual enrollment purposes. If the child is enrolled in a public school district for dual enrollment purposes, the child shall be permitted to participate in any academic activities in the district and shall also be permitted to participate on the same basis as public school children in any extracurricular activities available to children in the child’s grade or group, and the parent, guardian, or legal custodian shall not be required to pay the costs of any annual evaluation under this chapter. If the child is enrolled for dual enrollment purposes, the child shall be included in the public school’s basic enrollment under section 257.6. A pupil enrolled in grades nine through twelve under this section shall be counted in the same manner as a shared-time pupil under section 257.6, subsection 1, paragraph "c".