Nevada State Regulations
Updated August 30, 2017
Note this is a stand-alone state chapter. State Regulation of Private Schools (Revised July 2009) is the last full report.
Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval
- Accreditation: optional
- Accreditation by national or regional accrediting agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education (U.S. Department of Education) may be accepted as evidence of compliance with the minimum standards. Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 394.241.
- Registration: no requirements
- Licensing: mandatory
- It is illegal to operate an elementary or secondary private school without a license unless exempt from the provisions of the Private Elementary and Secondary Education Authorization Act, which is NRS 394.201 to 394.351. NRS 394.201.
- Nevada defines “license” as “the written authorization of the Board or Commission to operate or to contract to operate a private elementary, secondary or postsecondary educational institution.” NRS 394.075.
- An elementary or secondary private school must apply to Nevada’s superintendent of public instruction for a license to operate. The application must include a “catalog or brochure published or proposed to be published by the institution.” The license term will be limited to at most two years, unless the school was licensed to operate for a period of no less than four years previously. In that case, the term could be up to four years. NRS 394.251.
- A school must apply for license renewal at least 60 days before the expiration of a license. NRS 394.251.
- Under the Private Elementary and Secondary Education Authorization Act, private schools must be licensed according to minimum criteria established by the Nevada Board of Education. The criteria must be sufficient to effectuate the purpose of the act but not unreasonably hinder legitimate educational innovation. The minimum standards include: (1) ensuring that the quality and content of instruction achieve the stated objective of the program and upon completion the student receives appropriate credentials; (2) the school has adequate space, equipment and instructional materials; the school complies with health and safety regulations; (3) the institution is financially sound and capable of fulfilling its commitments; (4) the staff is qualified enough to ensure the state objective of the program is met; (5) there is an informative brochure about the program; (6) attendance, progress, and performance records are maintained; (7) no owners or staff engage in misleading, false, or unfair advertising and financial practices and are of good character; and (8) the institution has a fair and equitable cancelation and refund policy. NRS 394.241.
- Elementary and secondary educational institutions operated by churches, religious organizations and faith-based ministries may claim an exemption to the provisions of the Private Elementary and Secondary Education Authorization Act. Institutions claiming an exemption must file for the exemption with the Nevada Board of Education on forms provided by the Nevada Department of Education (Department) or in a letter containing the required information. The exemption expires two years after the last day of the calendar month in which the filing is made. NRS 394.211.
- When a private school applies for a license or a license renewal, the superintendent must inspect the school to ensure it is following all applicable health and safety laws, regulations and ordinances, maintains records and has the insurance coverage required by the Nevada Board of Education regulations. NRS 394.245.
- License application fees are $300; renewal fees are $250. Schools applying for a license must file a surety bond for not less than $5,000, or a certificate of deposit for the same amount, to provide indemnification for anyone suffering damage from the school resulting from a violation of the act. NRS 394.331 and 394.271.
- Approval: no requirements
Note: The U.S. Department of Education has the authority to recognize accrediting bodies for the accreditation of institutions of higher (postsecondary) education. If an accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for the purposes of higher education also accredits elementary and secondary schools, the U.S. Department of Education’s recognition applies only to the agency’s accreditation of postsecondary institutions. Thus, for elementary and secondary schools, private or public, there are no “nationally recognized” accreditation agencies, at least in the sense of recognition by the U.S. Department of Education. [Source: Office of Non-Public Education, U.S. Department of Education]
- “The education and experience qualifications of directors, administrators, supervisors and instructors reasonably ensure that the students will receive education consistent with the objectives of the course or program of study.” This is a minimum standard that must be maintained by elementary and secondary educational institutions in Nevada. NRS 394.241 (1)(c).
- A full-time administrator in a licensed private school must: “(1) hold an administrator’s license issued by the Department or by another state or territory of the United States; (2) hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education and have 5 years of verified experience in educational administration; or (3) hold a master’s degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association that is approved by the United States Department of Education and have 3 years of verified experience in educational administration.” Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 394.050 (1).
- An instructor in a licensed private school must: “(1) hold a teacher’s license issued by the Department or by another state or territory of the United States that is appropriate for his assignment; (2) hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association that is approved by the United States Department of Education and have 3 years of verified full-time or supervised experience in teaching the appropriate grade level; or (3) hold a master’s degree in an area that is appropriate for the instructor’s assignment from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association that is approved by the United States Department of Education and have 1 year of verified full-time or supervised experience in teaching the appropriate grade level.” NAC 394.050 (2).
- Teachers responsible for giving instruction must show satisfactory evidence of the necessary knowledge of the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the state of Nevada by examination or credentials. NRS 394.160.
Length of School Year and Days
- A licensed private school must have a school year of at least 180 school days. NAC 394.215.
- Private schools must provide instruction for private school students in the subjects required by law for public school students, either under the prescribed regular state courses or through courses prepared by private schools and approved by the state board of education. Nothing in this section may be construed to interfere with the right of private schools to give religious instruction. NRS 394.130.
- The core subjects of study that public school students are required to learn are English (reading, composition, and writing), mathematics, science and social studies (history, geography, economics and government). NRS 389.018.
- Additionally, all private schools must provide instruction in the Constitution of the United States and the state of Nevada, “including the origin and history, and the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals.” At least one year of instruction is required at the elementary school level and high school level. Private school students may not receive a certificate or diploma without having passed an examination on the constitutions. NRS 394.150.
- A private school student may participate in any public school classes or extracurricular activities (excluding sports) at the request of the parent or legal guardian if there is space, the notice of intent is filed, and the parent demonstrates to the board of trustees that the child is qualified to participate in that class or extracurricular activity. NRS 392.070.3.
Recordkeeping and Reports
- Private schools are required to furnish periodic reports of enrollment, attendance and general progress within each school to the superintendent of public instruction. NRS 394.130.
- Private elementary and secondary schools may not permanently admit a student until the parent/guardian furnishes a birth certificate or other proof of the child’s identity and, if applicable, the student’s prior school records. Children must be admitted to a school under the name appearing in the identifying documents, unless the parent/guardian furnishes a court order to the contrary or the child is in the custody of the welfare division. If the parent/guardian fails to furnish identifying documents within 30 days of conditional admission, the principal must notify the local law enforcement agency and request a determination of whether the child has been reported missing. NRS 394.145.
- Before Dec. 31 of each year, private schools must report, on a form provided, the number of students fully immunized to the Division of Public and Behavioral Health of the Department of Health and Human Services. NRS 394.192(5).
- Private elementary and secondary educational institutions discontinuing operations must file original or true copies of all student academic records with the superintendent of public instruction, who superintendent will maintain those records permanently. NRS 394.341.
- The superintendent of public instruction maintains a list of private elementary and secondary schools that are authorized to operate in the state and investigates complaints brought against the schools. NRS 394.221 and 394.231.
- On or before Nov. 15, the Nevada Department of Education will annually prepare a directory of private schools, which includes information on staff licenses or the alternative method in which the teacher or administrator met the requirements put forth by the Nevada Department of Education. NAC 394.015 and 394.050.
Health and Safety Requirements
- Students may not enroll in a private school without a certificate of immunization unless excused based on a religious belief or medical condition. Students may conditionally enter a private school if a parent/guardian submits a certificate that the child is currently receiving the required immunizations. Immunizations must be completed within 90 days, or the child must be excluded from school until the immunization requirement has been met. NRS 394.192(1)–(4) and 394.193.
- If a dangerous contagious disease exists in a private school, a child excused from the immunization requirements must be immunized or excluded from school, and the local health officer must be notified. NRS 394.198.
- Private schools must conduct fire drills at least once each month during the school year to instruct students in proper procedures in case of emergency. Not more than two drills may include instruction in the procedures to follow in the event of a chemical explosion, related emergencies and other natural disasters. The state fire marshal prescribes regulations governing fire drills. Copies of this section shall be kept posted in every classroom of every private school. NRS 394.170.
- Each private school must establish a committee to develop a plan to be used by the school in responding to a crisis. The development committee must include “at least one member of the governing body; at least one administrator of the school; at least one teacher of the school; at least one employee of the school who is not a teacher and who is not responsible for the administration of the school; at least one parent or legal guardian of a pupil who is enrolled in the school; at least one representative of a local law enforcement agency in the county in which the school is located; and at least one representative of a state or local organization for emergency management.” NRS 394.1685.
- The development committee must, at least once each year, review and update the crisis plan as appropriate, and provide an updated copy of the plan to the governing body of the school. NRS 394.1691.
- School districts with less than 100,000 in population who provide transportation for public school students may also provide transportation for resident students attending nonprofit private schools on established public school bus routes. NRS 386.790.
- Private schools are subject to the Nevada laws regulating the condition, equipment and identification of vehicles used for pupil transportation. All vehicles are subject to inspection at all times. NRS 394.190.
- No state policy currently exists.
- No state policy currently exists.
- Private schools that provide instruction to students with disabilities must create an education program for staff who provide services to those students. This program must provide instruction through positive behavioral interventions and supports. The program must include: (1) positive methods designed to modify the environment to one that promotes adaptive behavior and reduces the occurrence of inappropriate behavior; (2) methods that impart skills to children with disabilities so that they can replace inappropriate behavior with adaptive behavior; (3) methods that will enhance the independence and quality of life of children with disabilities; (4) use of the least intrusive methods to respond to and reinforce the behavior of children with disabilities; and (5) a process to design interventions based on the child that focus on promoting appropriate behavioral changes and enhancing their quality of life. NRS 394.372.
Nursing and Health
- No state policy currently exists.
- No state policy currently exists.
- Private schools that provide instruction to children with disabilities must provide appropriate training to the staff authorized to carry out and monitor physical or mechanical restraint to ensure all staff are carrying out the procedures in accordance with NRS 394.353 to 394.379. NRS 394.372.
Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions
- No state policy currently exists.
- Nonprofit private schools, including adjacent lots, furniture and equipment, are exempt from property tax. NRS 361.105.
- Meals and food products for human consumption served by private schools, student organizations, and parent-teacher associations to students and teachers are exempt from sales tax. NRS 372.285.
Public Aid for Private Education
- Constitutional Provisions: Public school funds may not be used for any other purpose nor set apart for the use or benefit of sectarian or secular societies or associations. NRS 387.045.
- Programs for financial assistance for attendance at private schools: On July 1, 2015, the Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship Program was established. The program permits anyone required to pay the state’s modified business tax to make a donation to a Nevada Department of Education-approved scholarship organization for a tax credit. The scholarship organization must provide grants to attend a school in Nevada only to students whose household income is at most 300 percent of the federal poverty level. The school that the student attends using the grant is required to keep a record of the student’s academic progress in a manner that the information may be aggregated for students who attend the school using such a grant. NRS 388D.250 through 280.
Initial and Renewal Applications
- In order to homeschool, the parent (meaning parent, custodial parent, legal guardian, or other person who has control or charge of the child and the legal right to direct the child’s education) must submit a written notice of intent, using a standard form created by the Nevada Department of Education, to the superintendent of schools of the child’s resident school district. The notice of intent must be submitted before the start of the homeschool program, no later than 10 days after withdrawal from public school, or no later than 30 days after establishing residency in the state. The notice of intent informs the school district that the home-schooled student is exempt from the compulsory attendance law. NRS 388D.020.
- The notice of intent includes: (1) the full name, age and gender of the child; (2) the name and address of each parent filing the notice of intent to homeschool; (3) a statement signed and dated by each such parent declaring that the parent has control or charge of the child and the legal right to direct the education of the child, and assumes full responsibility for the education of the child while the child is being home-schooled; (4) an educational plan for the child that is prepared pursuant to NRS 392.700.12; and (5) if applicable, the name of the public school in the state that the child most recently attended. NRS 388D.020.
- The school district must provide the parent a written form of acknowledgment that indicates the parent provided notification that the student will be home-schooled. “The written acknowledgment shall be deemed proof of compliance with Nevada’s compulsory school attendance law. The school district shall retain a copy of the written acknowledgment for not less than 15 years.” NRS 388D.020-7.
- The superintendent of schools of the child’s resident school district is not authorized to require additional information or assurance from the parent other than the notice of intent. NRS 388D.020-5.
Curriculum and Instruction
- The homeschooled students’ instruction must include English (including reading, composition and writing), mathematics, science and social studies (including history geography, economics and government) as appropriate for the age and skill level of the child as the parent determines. NRS 388D.050.
Assessment and Diplomas
- Public school districts must allow homeschooled children to take any college entrance exam offered in the state. The district must ensure that adequate notice is given via the district’s website. NRS 388D.040.
Public School Access
- Each school district must provide special education programs and related services to homeschooled children who are eligible pursuant to NRS 388.44 to 388.520. NRS 392.070.2.
- A home-schooled child may participate in any public school classes or extracurricular activities (excluding sports) at the request of the parent or legal guardian if there is space available, a notice of intent is filed, and the parent demonstrates to the board of trustees that the child is qualified to participate in that class or extracurricular activity. The child cannot be made to meet more than the eligibility provisions covering public school students’ participation. NRS 388D.070.
- A home-schooled child must be allowed to participate in interscholastic activities and events (including sports) that are governed by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. NRS 388D.070.
Information and Legislation
- Nevada Department of Education: Private Schools
- Nevada Department of Education: Homeschooling
- Nevada Revised Statutes
- Nevada Administrative Code
- U.S. Department of Education State Ombudsman Directory
Contact Information—State and Federal Departments of Education
August 30, 2017