Email of the Day:
When I look up our districts DOfI they say it must be filed by Sept 15 or within 2 weeks of the end of semesters. The only one I can find online is for 15-16 school year and it says “no intent to homeschool applications will be accepted after April 15, 2016.” What should I do if they try to deny my DOfI, assuming they’ve created a cut off date for this year as well?
They can’t “reject” your Declaration of Intent. You’re not applying to homeschool, you’re declaring your intent to do so. They can’t keep your kidlet hostage.
This is a not uncommon reading of the law. If you think it might be an issue, send your DofI Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested (this will cost you $6), and put “Declaration of Intent for Kidlet Name” between your name and your return address on the green postcard. When it comes back, file it with a copy of DofI in your file cabinet. If it comes to blows, we’ll have that to get the truancy charge dismissed without ever having to go to the court.
[Jen shuffles off to look at said district’s packet and moves on to contacting the district to fix the issue, and starts typing to the Director or Student Services, CC the Superintendent of the District.]
Dear Director of Student Services,
One of our mutual constituents came to the Washington Homeschool Organization regarding School District’s “Home School Filing Cut-Off Dates” for “Intent to Homeschool Applications” in the School District Home School Packet. I assured the parent that this was a simply a misreading of the law.
The Declaration of Intent is just that: a parent’s declaration that he or she intends to provide home-based instruction to his or her child. It’s not an application to do so: it’s a notice. WA law gives parents the right to direct their children’s education, and to make or change that direction at any point during the school year.
RCW 28A.200.010(1)(a) “Each parent shall file the statement by September 15th of the school year or within two weeks of the beginning of any public school quarter, trimester, or semester with the superintendent of the public school district within which the parent resides.”
As you can see, the law provides for the parent to have a buffer between withdrawing their student and submitting the Declaration of Intent to Homeschool, not for the school to hold a student hostage until the beginning of the next term.
Because the Declaration of Intent relieves the school of their burden to provide the student with and education, and provides the parent with protection from a charge of truancy, and because we know it’s helpful for district staff, we encourage parents to file their Declarations of Intent on the same day they withdraw a child age 8-18, instead of waiting for the next school term to begin. This way, they are not wasting anyone’s time with unnecessary truancy paperwork.
I would be happy to work with you to update the School District paperwork to reflect the law. I think it’s a pretty easy fix (removing the “application” language and changing the wording to read something like, “If you withdraw your student between the first of the year and [end of first quarter date], you have until [beginning of second quarter date and that date plus two weeks] to submit the Declaration of Intent.”)
~Jen Garrison Stuber, WHO Board Advocacy Chair