(Last Updated November 25, 2015)
Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval
- Accreditation: optional
- The state board must establish standards for accrediting secondary schools and set minimum requirements that public, private, or parochial secondary schools must meet to be accredited. A secondary school is defined as one organized and administered for grades 7 through 12, in any combination. Idaho Code §33-119.
- Private and parochial schools may choose to seek accreditation with the Northwest Accreditation Commission. Idaho Administrative Procedures Act (IDAPA) 08.02.02.128.
- If a private school is accredited, it must meet the assurances for Idaho. Idaho Assurances for Accreditation.
- Registration: no requirements
- Licensing: no requirements
- Approval: no requirements
- Every person employed in an accredited private elementary or secondary school as a teacher, supervisor, administrator, education specialist, school nurse, or school librarian must hold a certificate from the state board of education for the service being rendered. The state board can endorse a certificate valid in another state for use in Idaho for not more than five years when the qualifications are not lower than those required for a certificate in Idaho. Idaho Code §33-1201.
Length of School Year and Days
- To comply with the Idaho compulsory attendance statute, attendance at a private or parochial school must be “during a period in each year equal to that in which the public schools are in session.” Idaho Code §33-202.
- The Idaho compulsory school attendance statute requires parents and guardians to ensure that their school-age children receive instruction in the subjects commonly taught in the public schools. Idaho Code §33-202.
- Private and parochial school students may enroll in driver training courses offered by the local school district. Fees cannot be assessed that are not required for public school students. Idaho Code §33-1703.
- The Idaho State Board of Education’s committee to select curriculum must include one representative from a private or parochial school (a parent, teacher or administrator). IDAPA 08.02.03.128.
Recordkeeping and Reports
- When a student enrolls for the first time in a private elementary or secondary school, the school must notify the parent or guardian in writing that he or she must provide reliable proof of the student’s identity and birth date within 30 days. If the parent or guardian fails to comply, the private school must immediately notify the local law enforcement agency of this failure and inform the parent or guardian in writing that he or she has 10 additional days to comply. The private school must immediately report to the local law enforcement agency any documentation provided that appears inaccurate or suspicious. Idaho Code §18-4511(2).
- Within 14 days after enrolling a transfer student, the private school must request a certified copy of the student’s record from his or her previous school. A private or public school must comply with the request for records within 10 days of receipt unless the student was flagged as a missing or runaway child. In that event, that school must notify the local law enforcement agency of the request for a flagged record. However, a private school that is accredited by the state board of education and that has an agreement allowing it to retain a student’s records for nonpayment of tuition or fees may do so. The school must notify the student’s new school of the reason the records are being withheld. And, even though the records are withheld, the school must notify the local law enforcement agency if the student’s record has been flagged as described above. Idaho Code §18-4511(3).
- Private schools are required to flag the records of any student reported missing or as a runaway by the Idaho state police. The school must report any subsequent request for the records to its local law enforcement agency. Idaho Code §18-4511(1).
- Confidential communications by a private school student to any certificated counselor, psychologist or psychological examiner employed by a private school are privileged and protected against disclosure in any civil or criminal action to which the student is a party. Idaho Code §9-203(6).
- Idaho’s superintendent of public instruction shall notify a school district or private school regarding the enrollment of a registered juvenile sex offender and, if known, the offender’s probationary or treatment status. Idaho Code §18-8408.
Health and Safety Requirements
- The parent or guardian of any student admitted to a private or parochial school must, upon admission, provide a record regarding the child’s immunity to certain childhood diseases. The statement, to be signed by a physician or his or her representative, must document that the child has received or is in the process of receiving the immunizations, or is immune through prior contraction of the disease. The Idaho Board of Health and Welfare is charged with specifying the requisite immunizations and the school reporting requirements. Idaho Code §39-4801.
- Private school governing boards may maintain and supervise a school safety patrol to assist children crossing public streets or highways. Idaho Code §33-1801.
- “It is unlawful and a misdemeanor for any person to carry a firearm or other deadly weapon on any school property, or in portions of any building, stadium or other structure on school grounds being used, at the time of the violation, for a school-sponsored event or activity.” Idaho Code §18-3302D(1).
- Any person who owns, operates, or is employed by a school, including private, for educational purposes for children four through six years of age or a private kindergarten, must comply with Idaho’s criminal history check requirements. Idaho Code §39-1105(3).
- Public school districts may transport nonpublic school students, “where practicable, when the full costs for providing the transportation are recovered.” Idaho Code § 33-1501.
- The Idaho Supreme Court held public funding of transportation for private school pupils unconstitutional in Epeldi v. Engelking, 488 P.2d 860 (1971).
- The annual fee is $24 for each school bus registered to transport children to or from school or in connection with school-approved activities and that is operated either (1) by a nonprofit, nonpublic school, or (2) according to a contract with a school district. Idaho Code §49-402(2).
- No state policy on textbooks regarding private schools currently exists.
- No state policy on testing or assessments regarding private schools currently exists.
- Chapter 9 of the Idaho Special Education Manual 2015 describes the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004).
- An education agency that contracts with a private school to provide special education services must ensure that the private school is approved by the state department of education to provide these services. The state department of education may approve a private school if the school is accredited and nonsectarian; meets minimum health, fire, and safety standards; and provides special education services consistent with governing special education requirements. IDAPA 08.02.03.109.02.
Nursing and Health
- Idaho child nutrition programs provide cash assistance and commodity foods to ensure children are adequately fed in public, private, and charter schools, residential child care institutions, preschools, and child and adult care centers and homes. The Idaho Child Nutrition Department follows the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Idaho State Department of Education Child and Adult Care Food Program website.
- No state policy on technology regarding private schools currently exists.
- No state policy on professional development regarding private schools currently exists.
Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions
- No state policy on reimbursement for performing state and local functions regarding private schools currently exists.
- Meals sold by private schools under the federal school lunch program are exempt from the Idaho sales tax. Idaho Code §63-3622J.
Public Aid for Private Education
- Constitutional Provisions: The Idaho Constitution prohibits public appropriations to support sectarian schools. Idaho Constitution, Art. IX, 5.
- Programs for Financial Assistance for Attendance at Private Schools: No such state programs currently exist.
Home Education Programs
- A nonpublic student is one who receives educational instruction outside of a public school classroom, including a private or home school. Idaho Code §33-203(9).
- Idaho does not require any registration or reporting related to homeschooled students.
Initial and Renewal Applications
- No state policy on applications regarding home schools currently exists.
Curriculum and Instruction
- A homeschooled student must be comparably instructed to students in the public school during the compulsory attendance ages of seven through 16 years. Idaho Code §33-202
Assessment and Diploma
- Homeschooled students may participate in statewide testing and assessment. Idaho State Department of Education School Choice Packet.
- A homeschooled student may, at the age of 18, take the General Education Development (GED) test and, upon successful completion of all requirements, apply for an Idaho High School Equivalency Certificate. There are exceptions to the age criteria. Idaho State Department of Education School Choice Packet.
- No state policy on special education regarding home schools currently exists.
Public School Access
- The parent or guardian of a homeschooled child is allowed to enroll the student in the public school for dual enrollment purposes. Dual enrollment allows the student to enter into any program, including public school classes and extracurricular activities, in the public school that are available to other students subject to compliance with the same rules and regulations as other students. Idaho Code §33-203.