The Maine Department of Education has waived the requirement that families file their homeschool paperwork with the state. The waiver is explained in the third paragraph here and here. This will save families some paperwork headaches every year, and we welcome the change.
But I need to add a bit of explanation!
Strictly speaking, the department has waived the requirement that families file in two places—with both the state and with the local superintendent—which is what the Maine homeschool statutes require. Since the department is an agency of the state, it has authority to waive the filing that is due the state.
On the other hand, I know of no legislative enactment that empowers the department to speak for your local superintendent. It is not clear to me, therefore, that the department has authority to waive the filing that is owed to local superintendents. I could imagine a scenario, however unlikely, where a family might get tripped up if they filed only with the department and a local official subsequently became aggressive.
In the interest of caution, I therefore believe the best approach is to understand the department’s statements as meaning that families no longer need to file with the state, but the requirement to file with the local superintendent remains the same.
You can feel confident relying on this waiver. Naturally, you can continue to file in both places if you prefer.
If you file only with your local superintendent, he or she will routinely forward the information to the department. By the same token, if you file only with the department, they will routinely forward the information to your local superintendent. In either event, all relevant parties will have access to your information. The department is saying that since sharing takes place like this, it is simply not necessary to file in both places.
This waiver applies both to the initial homeschool notice and the subsequent-year letter with the accompanying year-end evaluation (due by September 1). If you file only with your local superintendent, put a statement to that effect on your paperwork so everyone will be on the same page.
The waiver applies whether or not the materials you file include your child’s birth date or identify a school year. What you put in your file materials is a totally separate issue. For background on that issue, read here and the links in that article.
There has been no change to the homeschool statutes. This waiver will remain in effect unless and until the department rescinds it.
Our thanks go to the Department of Education for this helpful waiver.