Because of a change in wording in the Ohio Revised Code 3321.04, there has been some confusion as to where Greene County homeschoolers send their homeschool notifications.
The Xenia, Yellow Springs, Greeneview, Cedar Cliff, and Sugarcreek/Bellbrook school districts contracted the task of handling homeschool notifications to the Greene County Educational Service Center. But with the change in ORC 3321.04 from
“city or exempted village school district or the educational service center”
“the superintendent of the school district in which the child resides”
the HSLDA and CHEO have sent out messages advising homeschoolers that it would be best if they send their homeschool notifications directly to the local school superintendent.
Why is this confusing?
Because the Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3301-34 Excuses from Compulsory Attendance for Home Education already stated in 3301-34-03 Notification that
“A parent who elects to provide home education shall supply the following information to the superintendent”, and the superintendent is defined as ” the superintendent of schools of the city, county, or exempted village school district in which the parent resides.”
It was the wording in the ORC seemed to provide an exception to this by allowing an “educational service center” to provide excuses from compulsory attendance if certain criteria were met, which included an exemption for home instruction. Now the relevant portions of the ORC 3321.04 state:
Excuses from future attendance at or past absence from school or a special education program may be granted for the causes, by the authorities, and under the following conditions:
(A) The superintendent of the school district in which the child resides may excuse the child from attendance for any part of the remainder of the current school year upon satisfactory showing of either of the following facts:
(2) That the child is being instructed at home by a person qualified to teach the branches in which instruction is required . . .
There are a couple of ways to look at this:
#1 This change in the law doesn’t directly address where notifications are mailed – it still states that homeschoolers notify by supplying their school superintendent with the information required. So if the district contracts the handling of paperwork to the GCESC, it isn’t a violation of the law to continue to do so, or to ask homeschoolers to send their notifications to the GCESC. The important part is that the superintendent receives the homeschool notification and does the excusing. If this is being done, then the means used to deliver homeschool notifications to the school superintendent are irrelevant.
#2 Both the Ohio Administrative Code and Ohio Revised Code instruct homeschooling parents to send their notification directly to the school superintendent. This means exactly what it says; that homeschoolers in these districts mail homeschool notifications to the superintendent’s office in compliance with the OAC and ORC. If we as homeschoolers must follow the Ohio Code to the letter, then so does the local school district, and they shouldn’t ask homeschoolers to ignore the letter of the law for any reason.
This is the best information we have at our disposal at this time, so it is up to each homeschool family to decide for themselves how they want to handle this situation.
One thing to take into consideration: if the superintendent’s office in your district contracts the handling of notifications to the GCESC, and homeschoolers send their notification to the superintendent, the school district office will most likely forward it to the GCESC anyway.
This means it the superintendent may miss their 14 day response window, which could result in homeschoolers waiting longer than usual to receive their excuse letters.
UPDATE: I spoke to Xenia School Superintendent Pro Tem Denny Morrison on the phone today, and he assured me that if homeschoolers in his district send their notifications to his office, he will forward them to the GCESC as quickly as possible. He is not advising homeschoolers to ignore the Ohio Code on this issue, and will do whatever he can to expedite the homeschool notification/excuse letter process.
If anyone has any additional information that would be helpful, please let us know by using the Contact Form, or leave a comment below.