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Notary Requirement Removed from Notice of Intent!

by Scott Woodruff • July 8, 2019

The homeschool notice of intent form HSLDA makes available to members no longer includes a place to indicate that it has been notarized. In a similar vein, the Arkansas Department of Education’s form now indicates that the notary stamp is totally optional.

Here’s some background.

For a number of years, the state’s driver’s license laws required homeschool students under age 18 who were seeking an instruction permit or driver’s license to prove they were being educated appropriately. Satisfying this requirement involved the submission of a notarized copy (not the notarized original) of their notice of intent to homeschool.

Inconsistent Laws

At the same time, however, a provision in the homeschool laws required the original notice of intent (not a copy) to be notarized for a student seeking a driver’s instruction permit or license. I had a number of discussions pointing out the inconsistency of these two laws—the requirement to submit a notarized copy vs. the requirement to submit a notarized original. I explained how silly it was for the homeschool statute to require the original to be notarized when the driver’s license laws only required a notarized copy.

Fast forward to this year. Representatives Jim Dotson and Richard Womack sponsored a bill that did better than merely resolve the notarized original vs. notarized copy conflict. House Bill 1867 repealed everything that made proof of education part of the driver’s license laws.

The bill was quickly approved in both houses by unanimous votes and signed by the governor. State officials who handle driver’s license issues are now out of the business of checking up on the education of young people.

Dealing with Change

But you may ask: Did the homeschool laws themselves change to delete the notary requirement on the notice of intent? Strictly speaking, no.

But sometimes judges don’t interpret laws literally. When the legislature passes a law that creates confusion or inconsistency, judges and lawyers will often interpret the law to accomplish what the legislature truly wanted.

The only purpose in notarizing a notice of intent was to facilitate the driver’s license process. Since H.B. 1867 repealed the requirement to prove education status, it’s obvious the legislature no longer deems it necessary or even desirable for homeschoolers to notarize their notice of intent—even when the student will seek a permit or license. The requirement to notarize the notice of intent has been repealed by implication, in our view.

We are comfortable saying that families do not need to notarize the notice even if their student is seeking a permit or license. The Department of Education appears to agree. The notice of intent form they have drafted for 2019-2020 says the notary stamp is optional.

(Arkansas law still requires a 16- or 17-year-old homeschool student applying to enter an adult education program or obtain a GED to submit a notarized copy of his notice of intent.)

Scott Woodruff

Senior Counsel

Scott is a seasoned attorney and homeschool advocate with decades of involvement in homeschool legal issues and cases. Read more.

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