HOMESCHOOL STUDENTS ACCESS TO PUBLIC SCHOOL
FACILITIES AND PROGRAMS STUDY
(HB 1247, Chapter 34:1, Laws of 1998)
The committee finds that current access by homeschoolers to public school facilities and programs, including but not limited to, facilities and programs for art, music and science varies depending on the school district. A 1995 study completed by the Department of Education showed that (with 46 of 67 SAUs responding) 5 school districts completely prohibited any homeschooler access. Remaining respondents reported extremely divers policies, including some with open door policies.
There are two statutes which the committee finds relevant to this issue: (1) 189:1-a Duty to Provide Education, which states, "It shall be the duty of the school board to provide, at district expense, elementary and secondary education to all pupils who reside in the district ";and (2) 193:1-a II Dual Enrollment, which states, "Nonpublic or home educated, resident students shall be eligible to attend curricular, public school courses subject to local board policy."
Additionally, in the House Journal dated February 8, 1994, page 250, Rep. Karen K. Hutchinson wrote an Ought to Pass "blurb" for what was then HB 1109, relative to dual enrollment (which became RSA 193:1-a II), which states, "The committee believes that resident students enrolled in non-public schools or home-educated students should have the ability to utilize public school facilities within parameters set by local board policy since the public schools are financially supported by the families of these students."
Therefore, the committee finds that the legislative intent with regard to the Dual Enrollment statute was to require access by homeschoolers to public school facilities.
Further, the committee finds that local board policy which prohibits access by homeschoolers to "curricular, public school courses" is unlawful. Reasonable parameters for access would be no more limiting for homeschooled students than for regularly enrolled students.
Since current law does provide for homeschooler access, the committee does not recommend legislation. The committee does recommend that the Department of Education send a copy of this report to all school boards, superintendents, and principals, as we feel that it is the desire of these public school officials to comply with the law.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the committee,
Representative Marie N. Rabideau, Chairman
Rep. Susan Clay Sen. Gary Francoeur
Rep. Betty Hoadly Sen. John King
Rep. Rolan Lefebvre Sen. David Wheeler