After submitting their notice of intent to homeschool their two high schoolers for the coming academic year, a military family in New York received something unexpected in return—a bill for $2,000.
Officials at Highlands Falls-Fort Montgomery Central School District informed the parents that because the father is stationed at the nearby US Military Academy at West Point, they would have to cover the costs of processing homeschool paperwork.
For every year that they homeschool in New York, families are required to submit a notice of intent, an Individualized Home Instruction Plan, quarterly reports, and an assessment of academic progress for each student.
Suspecting something was amiss, the member family contacted Home School Legal Defense Association.
I reached out to the West Point school liaison officer (SLO) and quickly unraveled the misunderstanding.
At West Point, there are two Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools: one for elementary students and one for middle school students. For West Point military personnel whose children are in grades 9-12, the DoDEA has contracted with Highlands Falls-Fort Montgomery district to provide schooling.
As part of this agreement, military families at West Point who are homeschooling also submit their paperwork to the district. The DoDEA contract specifies a $1,000 charge for the supervision of any DoDEA eligible student who is homeschooled.
But for whatever reason, when our member family submitted their paperwork to the district, school officials assumed that the family was not DoDEA eligible and therefore charged the family $2,000. They explained that this would be the cost for them to oversee the homeschool paperwork for the family’s two high school students.
The SLO I spoke to was very helpful in obtaining the agreement spelling out that DoDEA will pay $1,000 for the homeschool paperwork for each DoDEA-eligible student living with their family at West Point.
Once I called her attention to the attempt by the school district to charge the family for processing their homeschool paperwork, she agreed to contact the district. After verifying that the family was stationed on base and that their students are DoDEA eligible, the district dropped the $1,000-per-child charge.
If you are a member who encounters something strange during the process of submitting your homeschool paperwork, please contact HSLDA’s legal team so we can help resolve the situation in a timely manner. No family should be charged a fee to submit their required paperwork regardless of what local school officials have worked out with a third party!