Oklahoma State Regulations

Updated December 08, 2016 State Regulation of Private Schools (Revised July 2009) is the last full report.

Private Schools

Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval

  • Accreditation: optional
    • “Private and parochial schools may be accredited and classified in like manner as public schools by the State Board of Education or, if an accrediting association is approved by the State Board of Education, by procedures established by the State Board of Education to accept accreditation by such accrediting association, if application is made to the State Board of Education for such accrediting.” Oklahoma Statutes (O.S.) §70-3-104.
  • Registration: no requirements
  • Licensing: no requirements
  • Approval: no requirements

Teacher Certification

  • Per the Oklahoma State Department of Education, state accredited private schools are held to the standards under Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC) 210:35-3-86.
    • Teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree and meet the Oklahoma standards of certification.
    • Private schools shall employ a full-time principal/headmaster. OAC 210:35-3-46.

Length of School Year and Days

  • A school day must consist in minimum of six hours devoted to school activities. The number of school days can be reduced if the school day is lengthened and the total amount of classroom instruction is in minimum 1,080 hours per year as required by O.S. §70-1-109. O.S. §70-1-111.
  • Students missing school may be considered as being in attendance if they are participating in scheduled school activities under the direction and supervision of a regular member of the faculty or taking a board-approved online course. O.S. §70-1-111 C.
  • A six hour school day for kindergarten can be entirely devoted to school activities. O.S. §70-1-111 F.


  • The Oklahoma Heritage Association coordinates the annual observance of Oklahoma Heritage Week for all schools, including parochial schools. O.S. §25-90.2.
  • Proprietors of private and parochial schools must display the United States flag during every school day either from a flagstaff or pole or, in inclement weather, within the school building. O.S. §25-153.
  • To receive accreditation from the Oklahoma State Board of Education, all students in grades nine through 12 must have a minimum of six periods (or the equivalent in block scheduling) of rigorous academic and/or rigorous vocational courses each day, which may include arts, vocal and instrumental music, speech classes, and physical education classes. O.S. §70-11-103.6.H.
  • Fifth- through ninth-grade private school students with their parent(s)/guardian(s) are to be informed of the Higher Learning Access Program and their eligibility for scholarships for postsecondary education. Each private school containing any of those grades must designate an official as a contact person. O.S. §70-2605.

Recordkeeping and Reports

  • Private school principals have a duty to keep complete records of attendance for all children enrolled at the school and to notify the attendance officer of the district of absences and the reasons, if known. Principals have a duty to notify parents of a student’s absence unless the parent has already notified the school. O.S. §70-10-106.
  • Administrators at private middle, junior high and high schools accredited by the Oklahoma State Department of Education must notify the Department of any pupil dropping out from school. Reports must be made on a quarterly basis on forms provided. O.S. §70-35e.
  • It is a misdemeanor for any teacher to reveal information about a student obtained in his capacity as teacher, except as required in the performance of his duties or upon request by a parent/guardian. O.S. §70-6-115.

Health and Safety Requirements

  • Students may not be “admitted to any Oklahoma private or parochial school unless and until certification is presented to the appropriate school authorities from a licensed physician, or authorized representative of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, that such child has received or is in the process of receiving, immunizations against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, haemophilus influenzae type B (HIB), measles (rubeola), rubella, poliomyelitis, varicella, and hepatitis A or is likely to be immune as a result of the disease.” O.S. §70-1210.191.
  • Exemptions from immunization requirements are given if a licensed physician certifies that an immunization would endanger the life or health of the child or a written statement from the parent, guardian, or legal custodian of the child that objects to the immunization. O.S. §70-1210.192.
  • Children afflicted with a contagious disease or head lice may be prohibited from attending private or parochial schools until they are well. A child excluded for head lice must present certification from a health professional that he or she is no longer afflicted with head lice prior to reentering school. O.S. §70-1210.194.
  • The use of tobacco is prohibited at any facility or school that offers early education or classes to grades kindergarten through 12. The prohibition includes school vehicles and school events. O.S. §70-1210.213.
  • Local law enforcement agencies will assist nonpublic schools that wish to develop voluntary fingerprinting programs to identify and locate missing children. O.S. §10-1633.
  • The Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security can make grants (funded by the United States Department of Homeland Security or state appropriations) available to private schools to encourage greater emergency preparedness. Additionally the grants can be made to ”local law enforcement, emergency management, disaster relief, and public health entities in the State of Oklahoma to encourage the active engagement of such entities with public schools, private schools, technology center schools, and institutions of higher learning in their efforts to improve emergency preparedness.” O.S. §74-51.2a.
  • Oklahoma criminal law provides enhanced penalties for individuals who distribute or intend to distribute a controlled substance within 2,000 feet of a private elementary or secondary school. O.S. §63-2-401. Additional penalties exist for anyone who possesses or purchases a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a private elementary or secondary school. O.S. §63-2-402.
  • Any place with a license to sell low-point beer with the main intent of the beer being consumed on its premises cannot be within 300 feet of a private school. O.S. §37-163.27
  • An establishment, that sells mixed beverages, beer, or wine, or is a bottle club that has been licensed to sell mainly for consumption on the premises cannot be located within 300 feet of a private school. O.S. §37-518.3.
  • It is illegal for anyone to have possession of a firearm on private school property, including any vehicle used by the school for transportation of students. If the private school adopts a policy to permit the possession by a person licensed through the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, the possession is not illegal. O.S. §21-1280.1.
  • A concealed or unconcealed weapon may be carried onto private school property or in any school bus or vehicle used by any private school for transportation of students or teachers by a person who is licensed pursuant to the Oklahoma Self-Defense Act, provided a policy permitting such weapons has been adopted by the school. O.S. §21-1277.
  • Hazing, i.e. an activity endangering the health or safety of a student for the purpose of initiation into an organization sanctioned by a private school, is illegal under Oklahoma’s criminal law. A copy of a private school’s policy prohibiting hazing must be given to each student enrolled. O.S. §21-1190.
  • A school district lunch program may include preparation of food for parochial schools in District’s kitchen, but cost must be apportioned on pro rata basis to the private school. Oklahoma Attorney General Opinion July 1, 1971.


  • District buses cannot be used to transport students to parochial schools. Oklahoma Attorney General Opinion. Aug. 9, 1957.
  • Transportation in a school district program approved under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 cannot be used by pupils enrolled in private or parochial schools. Oklahoma Attorney General Opion Sept. 6, 1965.
  • Use of public school buses for transporting parochial school pupils was forbidden under Article II, Section 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution which prohibits use of public money or property for sectarian purposes. Board of Education, Ind. Sch. Dist. No. 52 v. Antone, 384 P.2d 911 (Okla. 1963).


  • Special personnel and instructors and books and equipment paid for or purchased with state public funds cannot be furnished to students in private or parochial schools. Oklahoma Attorney General Opinion Sept 16, 1965.


  • No state policy currently exists.

Special Education

  • School districts may join in a written agreement with a private institution within the district to provide special education for children with disabilities. O.S. §70-13-101.
  • See the Public Aid for Private Education section for information on the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students With Disabilities Program Act.

Nursing and Health

  • An accredited private school must have a written health services program that provides services to all students as part of the education program. Services of a nurse must be available. OAC 210:35-3-107.


  • No state policy currently exists.

Professional Development

  • No state policy currently exists.

Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions

  • No state policy currently exists.

Tax Exemption

  • Property used exclusively for nonprofit schools or for religious purposes is exempt from taxation. Oklahoma Constitution Art. 10, Sec. 6.
  • Sales of personal property or services to nonprofit private elementary and secondary schools accredited by the Oklahoma State Department of Education or recognized by the Oklahoma State Board of Education are exempt from Oklahoma sales tax. Tuition and educational fees, fundraising sales, and admission tickets and concessions at athletic events up to $75,000, are also exempt from sales tax. O.S. §68-1356.
  • The sale of food in private school lunchrooms is exempt from sales tax. O.S. §68-1356.
  • Coin-operated vending machines owned and located in a private school are exempt from state tax. O.S. §68-1503.1.

Public Aid for Private Education

  • Constitutional Provisions: The Oklahoma Constitution prohibits the appropriation of public money or property for use by a sectarian institution. Oklahoma Constitution Art. 2, Sec. 5.
  • Programs for financial assistance for attendance at private schools:
    • The Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program Act provides scholarships for tuition to private schools to students with disabilities who have individualized education plans. A student with disabilities is eligible if the student spent the prior school year attending a public school, the student has been accepted to the eligible private school, and will attend the school for the entire year. To be eligible a private school needs to (1) be accredited by the state or an approved accreditation organization; (2) demonstrate fiscal soundness; (3) comply with antidiscrimination provisions of 42 U.S.C., §200d; (4) meet the local and state health and safety regulations; and (5) employ teachers with baccalaureate degrees, or, in minimum, three years of teaching experience, or the skills and experience qualifying them to instruct in the subjects they teach. O.S. §§70-13-101.1 and 70-13-101.2.
    • The Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship is a tax-credit scholarship program. There is a 50 percent tax credit on contributions to an eligible scholarship-granting organization. The maximum credit per individual is $1,000 and per legal business entity $100,000 for each tax year. If the taxpayer makes a written commitment to contribute the same amount the following year, the tax credit will be 75 percent. A student is eligible who is a member of a household that has an income not exceeding 300 percent of the income standard used to qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, or who has attended or lived in the residential area of a school in need of improvement as determined by the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, P.L. No. 107-110. The scholarships granted can be up to $5,000. Scholarships can be used at private schools that are accredited by the state or a state-approved accrediting organization, are in compliance with health and safety laws, and have a stated policy against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, or disability in the application process. O.S. §68-2357.206.

Home Schools

  • Oklahoma does not have laws governing homeschooling. The compulsory attendance law allows for parents or legal guardians to home school their children. A parent of a school-aged child must not “neglect or refuse to cause or compel such child to attend and comply with the rules of some public, private or other school, unless other means of education [i.e., home schooling] are provided for the full term the schools of the district are in session.” O.S. §70-10-105(A).
  • Homeschooled students may not be detained for school truancy if found outside of the student’s home. O.S. §70-10-109.

Initial and Renewal Applications

  • No state policy currently exists.

Curriculum and Instruction

  • No state policy currently exists.

Assessment and Diplomas

  • No state policy currently exists.

Public School Access

  • No state policy currently exists.

Web Resources

Information and Legislation

Contact Information – State and Federal Departments of Education Oklahoma State Department of Education
2500 North Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4599
Phone: (405) 521-3301
Fax: (405) 521-6938
Website: http://sde.state.ok.us/
U.S. Department of Education, Oklahoma

Updated December 8, 2016