The Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) recently sent a March 23, 2016, single page tri-fold pamphlet entitled Proposed Rule Revisions and Availability of 2016/17 Forms and Information to last year’s homeschool families. Some NCHEA members have found this pamphlet to be confusing.
The information below is intended to help reduce confusion about the draft rules.
- The NDE draft rules that met NCHEA requirements was approved at the February 5, 2016, SBOE meeting.
- The NDE draft rules have now been forwarded to the Attorney General’s Office for approval and remain there at this time. If OK,
- Then to the Governor’s Office for approval.
- It still seems likely that the new draft Rule 13 will be in place for use in the 2016/17 school year.
- If the NDE draft rules are not approved this spring, the existing rules will likely be used for the 2016/17 school year. The NDE draft rules could then be modified to make them acceptable for approval by the Attorney General’s Office or the Governor’s Office and then used for the 2017/18 and subsequent school years.
New Features in the new draft Rule 13:
- Rule 12 is incorporated into Rule 13 in such a manner as to retain all the critical language for both religious and non-religious homeschooling; parents simply check the box next to the religious or non-religious exemption statement on Form A. Statement excerpts are shown immediately below:
“The requirements for approval and accreditation required by law and the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the State Board of Education violate my sincerely held religious beliefs.”
“The requirements for approval and accreditation required by law and the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the State Board of Education interfere with my decisions in directing my child(ren)’s education; and I am aware that under this election exempt schools must comply with the immunizations requirements in Section 79-217 of the Revised Statutes of Nebraska with exception as provided in Sections 79-221 and 79-222.”
- Rule 12 will be repealed.
- Forms A and B will no longer require being sworn under oath before a notary public.
- Forms are clearer on who and what is needed.
- There is now clarification that the election for exempt status is effective when the Commissioner receives the election notice (forms, required information, etc.)
- There are novel improvements to ease initial filing exemption notices to NDE. The proposed language allows that for initial year filings the election is effective upon receipt by the Commissioner of the properly completed Forms A and B, but continued effectiveness is contingent on the receipt of the information required in Section 004 simultaneously with, but no later than 30 days later. Hence, desperate initial filers can file Forms A and B immediately and have up to 30 days to prepare and submit the Section 004 information package.
- There is suitable clarity regarding filing under various situations that homeschool parents routinely face. This will substantially reduce confusion among homeschool parents.