LB 58 would change current provisions relating to homeschooled student participation in extracurricular activities by requiring school boards to establish policies and procedures that may require such students participating in extracurricular activities pursuant to this section to enroll in no more than one course offered for credit by such school. One course meeting 5 days per week is counted as 5 credit hours of schoolwork, and the current requirement is 20 hours. Additionally, LB 58 adds a 1 year delay after student withdrawal from the public school for home education to be a participant in NSAA activities in the local school as a homeschool student. See Three New Legislative Bills Affecting Home Education for details, including a listing of previous bills on this topic.
The Monday, January 30, 2017, hearing went very well. As the new bill introducer, Senator Joni Craighead presented LB 58 to the Education Committee, stating that she had been working with the NSAA on this issue as well as with the bill. Senator Craighead said that the NSAA now is processing by-laws changes that would require two courses rather than the one course found in LB 58, but that there were some positive aspects for exempt school students in the proposed by-laws changes, too.
NCHEA Leg. Liaison David Lostroh testified in favor of the bill, but urged making the sit-out requirement apply only to students removed from NSAA member schools who are scholastically ineligible for NSAA activities upon departure to home education, and to shorten the sit-down requirement from the excessive one-year length to 90 days.
The remaining proponents were homeschool parents who responded to the NCHEA call to testify; AND did they testify wonderfully. Their testimonies were well thought out, well presented, and covered all aspects of the issue. Their answers to Education Committee members’ questions were excellent. Their care for parental duty, willingness to find solutions to education problems, and extensive experience aided them in giving their answers. WELL DONE! Several homeschool parent proponents said that two courses in the NSAA proposed by-laws changes might be acceptable, depending on the details of implementation.
There were NO testifiers in opposition to LB 58; the first time ever on this topic.
NSAA Executive Director Jim Tenopir testified in a neutral capacity; as I recall the first time ever that the NSAA did not testify in opposition to a bill on this topic.
Dr. Tenopir discussed the series of changes to the NSAA by-laws that are now in the approval process. A brief summary of Dr. Tenopir’s list of the changes and comments are as follows:
- An exempt school student would be required to be continuously enrolled in no more than two courses per semester offered for credit by such school in order to allowed participation in any extracurricular activities to the same extent and subject to the same requirements, conditions, and procedures as students enrolled in the public school; not one course as stated in LB 58.
- An exempt school student would be required to take two courses in the homeschool in addition to the two courses in the public school.
- The new exempt school student would be immediately eligible to work toward participating in NSAA activities if attending part-time in a school within their school district.
- The new exempt school student would have to wait 90 days to be eligible to work toward participating in NSAA activities if attending part-time in a school outside their local school district.
- Preliminary Vote on by-laws changes: There are 304 total NSAA member schools of which 41 are non-public schools. The preliminary vote on the by-laws changes, by school, is 190 FOR and 110 AGAINST the proposed by-law changes.
- Representative Assembly (final) Vote: There are 6 Representative Assembly Districts within the NSAA member schools. Each District has one vote to be made on April 7, 2017. Dr. Tenopir believes that the final Rep. Assy vote will likely pass into effect on April 7, 2017.
- Dr. Tenopir suggested that the Education Committee hold LB 58 until the 4/7/17 NSAA Representative Assembly vote. If the vote were to fail, then LB 58 could be moved through the legislative process.
If you are a parent desiring for your child(ren) to participate in extracurricular activities in the public school, you should consider urging the senators on the Education Committee to vote the LB 58 out of committee, so that LB58 is on General File and can be acted on by the full Legislature. If LB58 is on General File, it will facilitate the Legislature acting on LB58 in the event, the NSAA Representative Assembly votes “No” on the proposed change.
We shall have to wait to see what happens with all this. Please check the NCHEA Legislative Issues page and the Legislature’s http://nebraskalegislature.gov/bills/view_bill.php?DocumentID=30697 for the current status of LB 58.
Thanks again to homeschool parent testifiers.
David Lostroh – NCHEA Legislative Liaison