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January 13, 2012

Pocatello-Chubbuck Hoists White Flag on Part-Time Enrollment

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

Although state law specifies that a homeschool student can participate in any public school program, the Pocatello-Chubbuck school district recently began a financially motivated campaign to block students unless they attended public school programs for at least 150 minutes per day.

Many tried to deter the school district from pursuing its unlawful policy. HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff spoke to school district representatives and explained that their policy was unlawful. Homeschoolers attended a public hearing to protest the policy. Brushing aside all arguments and opposition, the school district persisted.

Families who tried to sign their homeschooled children up for one program or one class were rebuffed. 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 state Department of Education told us that a school district could actually get state funding for a student enrolled in only one public school course or progam.

HSLDA put state personnel in communication with school district personnel. They finally realized they had erred.

In December, the school district tacitly acknowledged its error and changed its policy to comply with state law. (They added new procedural requirements—so get ready for more red tape.) Homeschool students can now dual enroll for a single course or program as provided by law.