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Pocatello-Chubbuck Realizes Error

After months of locking homeschooled students out of part-time public school enrollment, the Pocatello-Chubbuck school district is finally obeying the law.

Although Idaho law specifies that a homeschooled student may participate in any public school program, Pocatello-Chubbuck recently began a financially motivated campaign to block participation unless the homeschooled student attended public school programs for at least 150 minutes per day.

Initial attempts to deter the school district from pursuing its unlawful policy failed. Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff spoke to district representatives and local homeschooling families attended a public hearing to protest the policy. Brushing aside all opposition, the school district forged ahead. It looked like litigation might be the only solution.

HSLDA learned, however, that the school district’s rationale for its policy—its belief that it would not get state funding for a homeschooled student taking only one public school course—was simply incorrect. The Idaho Department of Education (DOE) told us that a district actually could get state funding for a student enrolled in only one public school course or program.

HSLDA put the DOE in communication with district personnel, who finally realized they had erred.

In December, Pocatello-Chubbuck tacitly acknowledged its error and changed its policy to comply with state law. (It also added new procedural requirements—so get ready for more red tape.) Visit our website for the latest Idaho news.

—by Scott A. Woodruff