Adequate Education Grant Formula Changed

Homeschoolers Affected

On July 8, 2003, HB608 became law without the signature of the governor. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Hess of Hooksett, was introduced to reduce the total amount of funds provided by the state to communities, since it was believed that the existing formula had a flaw that caused the yearly grants to increase beyond the original intent of the formula. This bill changes the formula by which adequate education grants to communities are calculated in an way that affects homeschoolers.

Under the new formula, homeschoolers are specifically excluded from attendance figures. Originally the legislators may have thought that this was a cost-cutting measure; the DOE may have informed them that it does not decrease the total amount the state needs to allocate. Even so, excluding homeschoolers from attendance figures has the effect of slightly raising the cost-per-pupil figure, which makes the legislature look more generous on paper.

Because the state mandates homeschoolers have access to "curricular courses and co-curricular programs" at public schools (see RSA 193:1-c ), legislators modifed the formula to add to the district's grant a weighted amount proportional to the level of participation by homeschooled students.

One slight complication: the new formula is to take effect in 2003-2004. However, the allotments are to be based on data gathered in the 2000-2001 school year. At that time, many districts did not record participation by homeschoolers in a way that allows them to collect the money owed to them under the new formula.

At the September 9, 2003 HEAC meeting, Joyce Johnson of the DOE and Supt James Weiss of the NH School Administrators Association discussed the possibility that leaving homeschoolers who use their superintendent as a participating agency, but do not participate in school activities, out of the formula creates an unfunded mandate, which is not allowed under the state constitution. Outside of the meeting, it was noted that RSA 193:1-c also requires districts to provide access to non-public school students, but the new formula does not provide funding for those students.

Under guidelines issued by the DOE, (see below), participation in one-time activities, such as attending plays or putting an entry in the science fair, would not allow districts to count the homeschooler under the formula, however districts are not mandated to provide access to those activities, either. Districts will not be re-imbursed for home educated students enrolled in courses unless they complete the course and attend a minimum number of hours, which could mean that home educators may find districts unreceptive to low levels of participation or partial-year enrollments.

Source Old New
RSA 198:38 Definitions X. "Average daily membership in residence'' and "resident pupils'' mean the average daily membership in residence as defined in RSA 189:1-d, IV except that no kindergarten pupil shall count as more than 1/2 day attendance per calendar day. VIII. "Average daily membership in residence" and "resident pupils" mean the average daily membership in residence as defined in RSA 189:1-d, IV, except that no kindergarten pupil shall count as more than 1/2 day attendance per calendar day. Children who are home schooled pursuant to a home education program approved by the department in accordance with RSA 193-A shall not be included in this definition.
RSA 198:38 Definitions VII. "Weighted pupils'' means resident pupils weighted as follows: no paragraph (e) exists VII. "Weighted pupils'' means resident pupils weighted as follows:
(e) Each pupil who is home educated pursuant to a program approved under RSA 193-A shall be added as follows:
   (1) 0.1 for each home educated pupil participating in a public school activity; and
   (2) An additional 0.15 for each academic course taken in a public school, provided that no co-curricular activity, as defined by the department of education, shall count as an academic course under this subparagraph.
RSA 189:1-d I. "Average daily attendance'' means the aggregate half-day attendance divided by the number of half-days actually in session for a given school district in a given school year.
II. "Average daily membership'' means the aggregate half-day membership divided by the number of half-days actually in session for a given school district in a given school year.
III. "Average daily membership in attendance'' means the aggregate half-day membership of the students in attendance divided by the number of half-days actually in session for a given school district in a given school year.
IV. "Average daily membership in residence'' means the average daily membership of students enrolled in public schools within the district or students whose tuition is being paid by the district to another approved public or private school for a given school district in a given school year.
I. "Attendance" means full-time participation in a program of instruction under the direction of a teacher employed by the school district. Educationally disabled home educated pupils educated at school district expense under the direction of a teacher employed by the school district shall be included.
II. "Membership" means pupils of whom attendance is expected, whether a pupil is present or absent on any given day.
III. "Average daily membership in attendance" means the aggregate half-day membership of pupils attending schools operated by a school district divided by the number of half-days of instruction offered. The average daily membership in attendance for preschool and kindergarten pupils shall be divided by the number of instructional days offered to higher-level elementary grades.
IV. "Average daily membership in residence" means the average daily membership in attendance of pupils who are legal residents of the school district pursuant to RSA 193:12 or RSA 193:27, IV and are attending any public school, or who are attending any charter school or private school program approved by the department of education at the expense of the school district.

Excerpted from New Hampshire Student Accounting Handbook , p. 8

Home Schooled Students

In 2003, new legislation changed the statutory definition of average daily membership to explicitly exclude home schooled students. Home schooled students should not be reported on the A3 (districts average daily membership), and must not be included in the regular fall enrollment count. While the district must keep a list of home schooled students, it is not expected to track their daily activities, so in most cases, it is not necessary to list home schooled students in a register. To avoid misreporting home schooled students it is strongly recommended that home schooled students not be listed in school registers unless he is taking a course. Information about home schooled students for whom the district is the participating agency should be kept on a separate roster in the central office.

If a home schooled student attends a class or participates in a cocurricular activity, the district must keep track of the studentís attendance. This may be done on a separate roster or within the regular register. If attendance is tracked in the regular register it is essential that the entries be coded or listed in a way that will ensure that these students will not be counted in either the regular fall enrollment or the year-end ADM count. As with other attendance records, this information should be saved in perpetuity. The state Adequacy Aid distribution for 2003-2004 included an allocation for home schooled students participating in classes or cocurricular activities, and this allocation may be part of future distributions.

July 21, 2003
New Hampshire Department of Education
Division of Program Support
Bureau of Information Services
Phone 603-271-2778
Fax 603-271-3875

Supplemental Data Collection for FY04 Adequacy Aid
Academic and Cocurricular Participation of Home Schooled Students
During the 00-01 School Year

One of the changes to FY04 Adequacy Aid involves the treatment of home schooled students. Home schooled students have been removed from the definition of Average Daily Membership, but the formula now includes an extra weight for home schooled students participating in academic classes or cocurricular activities. The House version of HB608 had an FY06 start date for the inclusion of participating home schooled students, but the conference committee version, which became law, has an effective date of FY04. FY04 Adequacy is based on students from the 00-01 school year. Districts that are able to document the participation of home schooled students during the 00-01 school year should report that participation on the attached form. If records for 00-01 are incomplete, all participation that can be documented should be reported. Students must be reported by town of residence.

Credit Courses: Count each one-quarter, one-half or full-credit academic course completed by a home schooled student. Home schooled students must have complied with regular attendance policies. To be counted, courses must meet local standards as well as the State's Minimum Standards for instructional hours. The State minimum number of instructional hours for a full credit course is 135 for high school and 120 for the lower grades. At the high school level count only those courses for which non-home schooled students received comparable academic credit. For the lower grades, use instructional hours to determine credits.

Driver education may be counted only if it is offered to students at no cost. Academic programs at the elementary and middle/junior high level are usually limited to subject specific or integrated programs involving: language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language, art, music, health and physical education, consumer and homemaking education, industrial arts/technology, and computer science. Count courses in increments of one-quarter credits based on instructional hours. Each quarter must be equal to or greater than one-quarter of the required hours. Do not round up.

Cocurricular Activities: These consist of activities which are designed to supplement and enrich regular academic instruction or provide opportunities for social development. Cocurricular activities typically consist of sports, performance groups and various organizations which have either an academic or community service focus. These organized activities are sanctioned by the school board, operated by the district and supervised by district staff (paid or unpaid). The activities have attendance policies and membership is recorded in a student's record. Do not count activities funded primarily by participant fees or outside organizations, or activities, such as the Boy Scouts, that utilize school facilities but are not managed by the school districts.

Adequacy Aid Weight:

Each home schooled student participating in one or more academic or cocurricular activities will be counted as an additional 0.10 ADM ($339) for the town of residence. If the student's participation includes one or more academic courses an additional 0.15 ($509) will be added for each full academic credit. Additional cocurricular participation carries no additional weight.

Basic Participation Academic Total
Softball 0.10 0.10 ($339)
Softball and Basketball 0.10 0.10 ($339)
Biology (1 cr.) 0.10 0.15 0.25 ($848)
Softball, Basketball and Biology (1 cr.) 0.10 0.15 0.25 ($848)
Biology (1 cr.) and Band (.25 cr.) 0.10 0.1875 0.2875 ($975)

If a home schooled student residing in one district attended a school in another district only the district of attendance should report the student. The district of residence should verify proper credit, by requesting a copy of the report from the district of attendance.

Please complete one spreadsheet for each district. The file is available online at the Department's web site, under Reports and Statistics, State Aid, FY04 Adequacy Aid. For each district and town of residence you need only enter (1) the number of home schooled students that participated in any cocurricular activity or academic course, and (2) the total number of academic credits, if any. The weighted ADM will be calculated.

At your option, you may list individual students and use this form as backup documentation. Save each file using the district name. Return the spreadsheet by email to Ron Leclerc at no later than August 22, 2003. You will receive an email acknowledgement of receipt. You must also fax or mail a printout, signed by both the Superintendent and School Board Chairperson of the district of attendance no later than September 5, 2003. If a district had no participation that can be documented check the appropriate box, add signatures and return by fax.

If you need help with the spreadsheet call Ron Leclerc at 271-3876 (except July 21-25). If you have questions about credits or other requirements contact Sallie Fellows at 271-0073 (except July 23-25).

page created by Chris Hamilton
last modified 9/10/03