August 22, 2001

Senate Bill 98: A Bill to Modify the Home School Law

Sen. Pat Pascoe

This bill changes a couple aspects of the home-based educational program law (CRS § 22-33-104.5). In order to ward off legislation requiring home schoolers to take the Colorado State Assessment Program (CSAP) test, home school organizations agreed to the following changes:

  1. The public school's recognition of home school transcripts. If a home school student wants to go back into the public school, school districts will no longer be required to automatically accept a home schooler's transcript. Also, school districts may test such students to determine their appropriate grade level.
  2. Where the notice of intent must be filed. Families will no longer have the option of filing their notice of intent with any school district in the state. They will have to file their notice of intent either with their local school district or with any contiguous school district.

Senate Bill 98 has passed both the Senate and the House and has been signed by the Governor.

Last fall, Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) held its 60th annual delegate assembly. During that time, CASB urged the general assembly to repeal the legislature's 2000 modifications to the home school law which allow families to send their notice of intent to home school to any school district in the state. The CASB also pushed for an amendment to "require home school students to participate in the Colorado Student Assessment Program" (CSAP). The board reasoned that "one way to assure some accountability in the home school program is to have these students participate as a group in the state assessment program."

CASB's goal was to include these amendments in S.B. 98. Treon Goossen of Concerned Parents of Colorado learned about this attempt and arranged a meeting with CASB's legislative counsel. HSLDA was also involved in the negotiations. As a result of these negotiations, CASB abandoned its amendment to require home schoolers to take the CSAP.

However, a compromise was reached, and an amendment was added to S.B. 98, which would end home schoolers' right to file in any school district in the state. The new amendment would limit home schoolers to filing in their own school district or any district bordering their own. Also, an amendment was added to give the district authority to reject a home schooler's transcripts if, upon testing a child, his or her test results did not verify the accuracy of the transcripts.

Although S.B. 98 finally passed both the House and the Senate and was signed by the governor, the amendment limiting home schoolers' right to file in any school district failed. This means that home schoolers in Colorado may still file their notice of intent to home school anywhere in the state.

Also, the language in the extra-curricular section of home school amendments was slightly altered to say, "A student enrolled in a nonpublic home-based education program shall have the same rights as a student enrolled in a public school of the school district in which the child resides or enrolled in and may participate on an equal basis."

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA is neutral on this bill.

 Other Resources

7/9/2001 Colorado Legislature Wraps Up

4/4/2001 Update: Restrictive Legislation Averted