J. Michael Smith, Esq.
Michael P. Farris, Esq.
Public School Access for Homeschoolers—A Legal Summary
State law permits non-enrolled students to participate in any activities sanctioned by the Wyoming High School Activities Association offered by the district. Wyoming Statutes Chapter 4 § 21-4-506. The Wyoming High School Activities Association allows home educated students to play on participating schools’ sports teams. WHSAA Rules 3.1.3, 6.2.0, 6.4.
State law also permits resident students to participate in dual enrollment programs within the district under the post-secondary educational enrollment options program. Wyoming Statutes § 21-20-201.
Wyoming Statutes § 21-4-506
21-4-506. Participation in activities by students not enrolled in the district; limitation on fees.
(a) Any school age child who is a resident of a school district, who is not under suspension or expulsion by a Wyoming school district and who is not enrolled as a full-time student in the district in which he resides, shall be permitted by the district to participate in any activities which are sanctioned by the Wyoming high school activities association and which are offered by the district subject to the following:
(i) The district may require the student to pay any fees for participation which are required by the Wyoming high school activities association;
(ii) The district may charge that student an additional fee for participating, but that fee shall be no more than any fee for participating charged to full-time students of the district. The district shall not require that student to pay tuition or to pay any other fees or charges as a condition of participation;
(iii) As a condition of participation, the student shall be required to comply with all other rules and policies of the district or any school activities association applicable to all students participating in the activity and not related to the assessment of fees or charges.
Wyoming Statutes § 21-20-201
21-20-201. Agreement between districts and post secondary education institutions required; student participation; credits; financial arrangements; transportation; accessibility; required annual reporting.
(a) To provide a post secondary education enrollment options program under this section, a Wyoming school district board of trustees and a Wyoming community college district board of trustees or the University of Wyoming shall enter into an agreement whereby students resident of the participating district may attend post secondary education programs offered by the university or a participating community college. Effective for the 2011-2012 school year and each school year thereafter, the post secondary education enrollment options agreement shall comply with minimum educational standards defined by the commission in consultation with the department of education, community colleges and the University of Wyoming, including post secondary education enrollment options provided by means of distance education. Additional student eligibility requirements for program participation shall be based upon criteria established by the university or the community college in collaboration with the department of education, which address the high school grade level, uniform prior curricula requirements, academic achievement levels and national examination performance indicators.
(b) An eligible student may, according to the agreement between the school district and the university or community college, enroll in a postsecondary education program offered at:
(i) The university, a community college, an off-campus center or at a site meeting safety and accessibility requirements under the instruction of a faculty member;
(ii) A higher education center which is part of a college outreach cooperative education services agreement entered into by one (1) or more community college districts and one (1) or more school districts under W.S. 21-20-104; or
(iii) A high school or other facility maintained by the participating district, under the instruction of a certified teacher employed by the district or by a faculty member of the institution entering into an agreement with the district.
(c) A student participating in a postsecondary education enrollment options program pursuant to this section shall upon successfully completing any course offered under the program, receive academic credit by the resident school district which shall be counted towards the graduation requirements of the district. Evidence of successful completion of each course, the secondary credits granted and a statement that the credits were earned through program participation shall be made a part of the participating student’s records maintained by the district. In addition, the participating student shall receive postsecondary education credit for any course successfully completed under the program.
(d) The school district and the university or community college district entering into an agreement for purposes of this section shall, if there are any fees within the agreement, establish fees to be assessed the school district for student participation under the program, the payment schedule for the established fees and other necessary arrangements to facilitate fee payment and collection. Any textbooks, materials or equipment purchased under the established fees shall be addressed within the agreement entered into between the university or college and the school district. The university or community college shall not directly assess and collect any fee from the participating student for textbooks, materials, student services or any other fees otherwise assessed and collected from students attending the institution.
(e) A student participating in the program shall be counted within the average daily membership of the resident school district as defined under W.S. 21-13-101(a)(i) and concurrently by the participating higher education institution for its full-time equivalent enrollment count. Effective September 1, 2012 and each September 1 thereafter, any school district or institution participating in an enrollment options program agreement under this section, including any board of cooperative educational services established under W.S. 21-20-104 and involved in the program, shall file a report with the community college commission on student participation and completion and on revenues and expenditures attributable to program activities for the immediately preceding school year. The report shall be based upon policy and guidelines developed by the statewide discussions conducted pursuant to section 2 of 2010 Senate File 39 as enacted into law. Not later than October 1 of each school year, the commission shall report to the joint education interim committee, the community colleges, the department of education and the University of Wyoming on statewide program revenues, expenditures and student participation and completion.
(f) If the postsecondary education options program is offered at a facility operated by the university or participating community college which is located at a reasonable distance from the high school at which the participating student is enrolled, the district may provide for the transportation of the student between the high school and the location at which the program is offered. Costs incurred by the district under this subsection shall be included as part of the district transportation expenses as used in computing the district foundation program amount under W.S. 21-13-309.
(g) Nothing in this section prohibits a high school student from taking a college or university course apart from agreements outlined in this section if the student bears the cost.
(h) Each school district board of trustees shall in conjunction with the University of Wyoming, community college district boards of trustees or other post secondary education institutions accredited by recognized and accepted accrediting agencies, make post secondary education options programs pursuant to this section reasonably accessible to eligible students.