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March 10, 2006

School District Insists on Use of Its Forms

In January, a school social worker from Gainesville City Schools went to the home of a Home School Legal Defense Association member family and advised the mother that she was required to utilize the declaration of intent and attendance forms provided by the school district. The member family had previously submitted their declaration of intent prior to the beginning of the school year using an HSLDA-developed form. The mother had also submitted monthly attendance reports to the school district as required by state law, but she had been using her own form to do so.

After the mother contacted HSLDA concerning this matter, Senior Counsel Dewitt Black wrote the school social worker and explained that use of the school district forms was not required by state law. Subsection (e) of 20-2-690 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated requires the Georgia State Board of Education to devise, adopt, and "make available" to local school superintendents, who shall in turn "make available" to parents or guardians of children in home study programs, such printed forms as may be reasonably necessary to carry out the reporting provisions of the homeschool law. However, there is no requirement that the forms made available be used by parents in submitting the declaration of intent or attendance reports. It is HSLDA's position that had the Georgia Legislature intended that the use of such forms be mandatory, the statute would contain language to this effect.

Any other HSLDA member families encountering difficulties with school officials concerning the use of state-developed forms should contact us for assistance.