Part 3: Declaration of Intent
The Declaration of Intent does two things:
- It relieves the school of their burden to provide your child with an education (because of compulsory attendance, you have to go — because you have to go, they have to take you).
- It provides you with protection from a charge of truancy for your children ages 8-18.
There are only 5 things required to be on the Declaration of Intent, according to the law:
- Your child’s name
- Your child’s age (not their birthdate)
- Your name
- Your address
- Check the box if you hired a teacher to provide oversight
WHO has a Declaration of Intent that is in compliance with the law. Many school districts ask for far more than the law allows them to. You may consider any other information on a Declaration of Intent to be optional, as it is. You may opt to use WHO’s Declaration of Intent form.
The first Declaration of Intent is due on your child’s 8th birthday or when you move into Washington or begin homeschooling during the school year for children already 8 and over. The second and subsequent are due 15 September each year.
No child under the age of 8 needs to be included on the Declaration of Intent. Never. Ever. Never. Ever. Never. Ever. Never. Ever. Never. Ever.
Some (many) school district personnel are confused about this. They think if a child under 8 was enrolled in school, that you must file a Declaration of Intent so they can “keep track of them” when you withdraw. This is simply not true. Here is the law:
RCW 28A.200.015(4): (4) This section does not require a six or seven-year-old child to enroll in a public or private school or to receive home-based instruction. This section only applies to six or seven-year-old children whose parents enroll them full-time in public school and do not formally remove them from enrollment as provided in subsection (1) of this section.
Schools may not use your Declaration of Intent information to market to you. They may send you school-district or school-wide information, but they may not send information only to homeschoolers. If you hand carry your Declaration of Intent in, they may market their ALE, PPP, or VA programs to you in person.
You may mail in your Declaration of Intent.
I used to send two copies and an self-addressed stamped envelope, and my district would stamp both and send me one back. You do not have to keep a copy. You may want to make a copy for your own records (it’s useful for getting educator discounts etc.).
Additional considerations that are less frequently asked but not uncommon:
Do I have to wait until the beginning of a term to take my child out of school?
No — some schools misread the law and think they can keep your child hostage. They may not. The law allows you UNTIL the beginning of the next term to submit your Declaration of Intent. I do not recommend waiting — submit it the same day you withdraw.
What if my child turns 8 close to Sept. 15, can I just add him early so I don’t forget / don’t have to turn in a second one?
What if my child turns 8 after the beginning of the last term of the public school year / over the summer?
Then your first Declaration of Intent will be the 15 September
Why do you turn everything into an acronym, Jen?
Because I’m a former military brat (USAF)
Continue the Series: