2021 Legislative Update
We have made some great strides this past legislative session. New laws that are going into effect will make some great and well needed changes in homeschooling.
I am going to take a few minutes to go over some of these. I have spoken with the State Board and made sure that everything was in place. Be sure to keep a check on laws and bills at www.WVHEA.org
HB2785 - Effective date July 6, 2021 - Relating to public school enrollment for students from out of state (IN STATE STUDENTS INCLUDED) http://www.wvlegislature.gov/.../HB2785%20SUB%20ENR.pdf
Relating to requirements for compulsory school attendance; providing that parent and guardian make determination to remove child from kindergarten program; updating references and removing outdated language; providing option to parent to apply for Hope Scholarship for child prior to enrollment in kindergarten and every year thereafter; allowing students who successfully complete publicly or privately supported, state-approved kindergarten program, Montessori kindergarten program, homeschool kindergarten program, Hope Scholarship Program, or private, parochial, or church kindergarten program recognized under subsection (k) of §18-8-1 of this code to be placed into the developmentally and academically appropriate grade level; requiring enrollment in same grade level as state or program from which student transferred; and requiring certain transcripts or credentials to be accepted as record of student’s previous performance for placement and credit assignment.
This bill puts a directive into effect that homeschool transcripts must be accepted, and students enrolled in the grade level they should be in.
This bill will allow those that have filed a NOI for Kindergarten to enroll their children into 1st grade without issues. IF a NOI was NOT filed for Kindergarten, but the student needs to return to school, this will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
For High school – where as our high school credits were NOT accepted, now with a transcript showing classes, the student will receive credit for any course that has an equal to it at their particular high school. Any other courses would remain on their transcripts, although credits would not be issued.
All other school policies would have to be followed for enrollment, including vaccinations.
SB 435 – Effective Date June 24, 2021 - Requiring county superintendents to authorize certain school principals or administrators at nonpublic schools to issue work permits for enrolled students http://www.wvlegislature.gov/.../SB435%20SUB1%20ENR.pdf
All relating to issuance of a work permit for a child 14 or 15 years of age; authorizing certain additional persons to issue a work permit; requiring review rather than receipt of certain documents required as a condition of the issuance of a work permit; providing exception to the requirement for a certificate showing that the child is attending school; resolving conflict as to whether child must appear before the person issuing the work permit; and requiring the printed forms for work permits be made available to all authorized to issue work permits.
This bill allows HOMESCHOOL parents to fill out all sections of a work permit for those students who are 14 and 15 – excluding employer section – Parents will no longer have to go to the County Superintendent to have that section of paperwork filled out.
New work permits should be located here once they go into effect https://labor.wv.gov/.../Chi.../Pages/Child-Labor-Forms.aspx
HB 2013 – Effective date June 15, 2021 - Relating to the Hope Scholarship Program http://www.wvlegislature.gov/.../HB2013%20SUB%20ENG2.pdf
Relating to establishing the Hope Scholarship Program; creating exemptions from compulsory school attendance requirements under certain conditions; providing a parent of a prospective kindergarten student the option of applying to the program on his or her child’s behalf; providing funding for the program and the parameters thereof; providing a title for the act and the program; providing definitions; creating the West Virginia Hope Scholarship Board and providing for membership qualifications therein; establishing powers of the board; establishing the application process for the award of Hope Scholarships; creating the West Virginia Hope Scholarship Program Fund and the West Virginia Hope Scholarship Program Expense Fund and the funding mechanisms and parameters therefore; establishing qualifying expenses for Hope Scholarship Accounts; creating a renewal process for accounts; providing for a Hope Scholarship student’s participation in the public school system; providing for administration of accounts; providing for the auditing of the program, suspension of accounts and providers under certain circumstances, and creating a right of appeal; establishing requirements for and rights of education service providers; establishing responsibilities of resident school districts; and providing for legal proceedings and severability.
This bill puts into effect ESA’s for students. Basically the money follows the student. Although this is not for current homeschoolers/private/charter schoolers at the moment it is for future homeschoolers/private/charter schoolers or those homeschool/private/charter schoolers families that have a student eligible for Kindergarten.
ESA’s will begin with the 2022-2023 school. The directives will be out soon as it has been sent to the state treasurer’s office to set up the guidelines and application process. Funds should be in the amount of ~$4600 per student and will remain with the WV State Treasurer office and paid out to qualified vendors. The money does not go to the parent directly.
Although current Home/Private school parents are not eligible, it is said they would be eligible in 5 years. Possibly sooner depending on demand.
As with all government money there are and will be rules and regulations. Please make sure you know what these are. ESA Homeschoolers will fall under some different law, rules, and regulations from NON-ESA Homeschoolers.
HB 2529 – Effective July 6, 2021 - Prohibiting West Virginia institutions of higher education from discriminating against graduates of private, nonpublic or home schools by requiring them to submit to alternative testing http://www.wvlegislature.gov/.../HB2529%20SUB%20ENR.pdf
Relating to nondiscrimination in the higher education admissions process; allowing an institution, once a student has been fully admitted, to administer placement tests or other assessments for certain purposes; prohibiting state institutions of higher education from discriminating against graduates of private, nonpublic, or home schools by requiring them to submit to alternative testing as a precondition for acceptance into the institution of higher education; and prohibiting institutions of higher education from rejecting a person with appropriate diploma or credentialing for admission to an institution of higher education solely because their secondary education was not accredited by the state Board of Education or agency the board approves.
HB 2791 – Effective July 4, 2021 - Relating to enrollment and costs of homeschooled or private school students at vocational schools http://www.wvlegislature.gov/.../RS/bills/HB2791%20ORG.pdf
Relating to requiring county boards of education to permit students who are homeschooled or attend private schools to enroll and take classes at the county’s vocational school at no additional cost beyond any costs charged to public school students
*** We are waiting on directives as to if a student MUST attend one of their county CTT Schools, OR if they also have the option to attend one outside of their county.
~Kathie Hess Crouse – President West Virginia Home Educators Association.