Ohio State Regulations
Updated April 7, 2015 State Regulation of Private Schools (Revised July 2009) is the last full report.
Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval
- Accreditation: no requirements
- The Ohio Department of Education (DOE) charters nonpublic schools on behalf of the State Board of Education, in place of a state accreditation. This process is optional. A nonpublic school has the option of seeking a charter from the State Board of Education. A chartered nonpublic school must assure that students are provided a high-quality general education by either 1) being accredited by an association approved by the State Board of Education and with standards reviewed by the state superintendent’s advisory committee on chartered nonpublic schools, or 2) completing the chartering process and showing compliance with the Operating Standards for Ohio’s Schools, Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) §3301-35-01 to 07 and 3301-35-11 to 12. (Note: what are referred to in other states as public charter schools, are in Ohio referred to as community schools)
- “The superintendent of public instruction shall establish an advisory committee on chartered nonpublic schools to make recommendations to the State Board of Education concerning development and administration of regulations for chartered nonpublic schools.” OAC §3301-35-12 (C).
- Registration: no requirements
- Licensing: no requirements
- Approval: no requirements
- Standards for teacher certification for non-tax supported or non-chartered, non-tax supported schools provide for certification without further educational requirements for individuals with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Standards for teacher certification in non-chartered, non-tax supported schools provide for certification without further educational requirements for individuals who have attended Bible colleges and Bible institutes. Teachers in non-chartered, non-tax supported schools are exempt from certification fees. Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §3301.071.
Length of School Year and Days
- Students enrolled in schools other than public schools must attend them for the equivalent hours and term of attendance required of public school students. Ohio DOE guidance states that, at a minimum, schools must provide instruction for not less than 455 hours in the case of pupils in kindergarten unless such pupils are provided all-day kindergarten, as defined in section 3321.05 of the ORC, in which case the pupils shall be in attendance for 910 hours; that same minimum of 910 hours is required of pupils in grades one through six; and a minimum of 1,001 hours is required of pupils in grades seven through 12 (which can include up to two days for parent-teacher conferences) per the law under section 3313.48 of the ORC that applies to public school districts. ORC §3321.07.
- Non-chartered, non-tax supported schools must be open for instruction 182 days each school year. OAC §3301-35-08.
- Each school serving students in grades one through six shall provide at least five hours of instruction each school day, excluding the lunch period. The school day for students in grades seven through 12 shall consist of at least five and one-half hours, excluding the lunch period. OAC §3301-35-06.
- For a chartered nonpublic school the length of the school day in OAC §3301-35-06 (E) and (F) for grades seven through 12, shall be at least five hours, excluding the lunch period. OAC §3301-35-12.
- A non-chartered, non-tax supported school must provide courses in the following subjects: language arts; geography, the history of the United States and Ohio, and national state, and local government; mathematics; science; health; physical education; the fine arts, including music; first aid, safety, and fire prevention; and other subjects as prescribed by the school. OAC §3301-35-08.
- A chartered nonpublic school that is in compliance with OAC §3301-35-04 (B)(1)(b) must have a curriculum that includes: language arts; geography, the history of the United States and Ohio, and national, state, and local government in the United States, including a balanced presentation of the relevant contributions to society of men and women of African, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and American Indian descent as well as other ethnic and racial groups in Ohio and the United States; mathematics; natural science; health education; personal safety and assault prevention in grades kindergarten through six; physical education; the fine arts, including music; and first aid. OAC §3301-35-12.
- Nonpublic school students may participate in public school vocational education programs without a financial assessment other than charges paid by public school students. ORC §3313.90.
- Principals of private and parochial schools must display the United States flag, not less than five feet in length, over, near, or within all schoolhouses when in session. ORC §3313.80.
- Nonpublic school students may participate in Ohio’s College Credit Plus Program that begins in the 2015–16 school year. A student that is enrolled in a non-chartered nonpublic secondary school must meet the eligibility requirements of ORC§3365.03. The parent of a non-chartered nonpublic secondary school student must notify the department by April 1 prior to the school year of desired participation. Nonpublic schools must provide students with information about the program prior to March 1 each year. The chief administrator of a nonpublic school must counsel students before participation about the possible risks and consequences of participation. Students may elect to receive both college credit and high school credit. ORC §§3365.02-3365.04.
Recordkeeping and Reports
- A school that is non-chartered or seeking a charter from the State Board of Education due to religious beliefs must submit a report to the parents of its pupils that the school meets Ohio minimum standards for non-chartered, non-tax supported schools annually. A copy of said report shall be filed with the Ohio DOE on or before Sept. 30 of each year. OAC §3301-35-08.
- A student enrolling in a nonpublic school must present 1) records of prior school enrollment; 2) a certified copy of a court order allocating parental rights, if applicable; and 3) a certification of birth. Within 24 hours of enrollment, a school official must request the pupil’s official records from the sending school. If the school claims it has no records of attendance or the records are not received within 14 days, or if the pupil does not present a certification of birth, the school official must notify the local law enforcement agency of the possibility that the pupil is a missing child. ORC §3313.672.
- Private and parochial schools must report to the treasurer of the local board of education the names, ages, and residences of all pupils under 18 within the first two weeks of school to facilitate carrying out the laws relating to compulsory education and the employment of minors. Reports must be updated within the first week of every subsequent school month. ORC §3321.12.
- The State Board of Education submits annually a 10-year projection of nonpublic school enrollment, by year and by grade level, to the governor and general assembly. ORC §3301.07(F).
- A student who has completed the high school curriculum of a chartered nonpublic school may receive an Ohio diploma recognized by the Ohio DOE if:
- the student entered ninth grade before July 1, 2014 and received passing grades in the Ohio graduation tests. ORC §3313.614 (B)(3); or
- the student entered ninth grade after July 1, 2014 and is remediation free on each of the nationally standardized assessments in English, mathematics, and reading; received specified scores on the end-of-course examinations described in ORC §3301.0712; or attained a score that demonstrates workforce readiness and employability on a nationally recognized job skills assessment selected by the State Board of Education. ORC §3313.618.
Health and Safety Requirements
- No person may establish an institution for persons suffering from a communicable disease, defined by the director of health, within 2,000 feet of any private or parochial school. ORC §3313.74.
- Principals of private schools having an average daily attendance of 20 students or more must instruct and train the students to exit buildings by drills at least once a month. The doors and exits of school buildings must be unlocked during school hours. ORC §3737.73.
- Upon request of any board of education in the state, Ohio’s missing child educational program, to be established by the attorney general, within Ohio’s missing child clearinghouse, will assist nonpublic schools in developing cooperative programs with local law enforcement agencies for fingerprinting children, and will disseminate periodic information bulletins of missing children to nonpublic schools. If the chief administrator of a nonpublic school is notified that a missing child is attending his school, the administrator must notify the missing children clearinghouse and the local law enforcement agency immediately. ORC §109.65.
- The hiring officer of any chartered nonpublic school must request a criminal records check for any applicant for a position responsible for the care, custody, or control of a child. The request must be made to the superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. If the applicant was convicted or plead guilty to certain crimes listed, the school cannot employ the individual. The cost of the criminal records check is borne by the school, but may be passed on to the applicant if notified beforehand. ORC §3319.39.
- Chartered nonpublic schools must comply with written requests for student records from entities investigating complaints of child abuse and neglect unless the school determines they are prohibited by law and files a motion with the court. ORC §2151.141.
- If known, chartered nonpublic schools will be notified by the prosecuting attorney if an employed, licensed teacher is convicted or pleads guilty to certain criminal violations. ORC §3319.52.
- Nonpublic school teachers, principals and administrators may use reasonable corporal punishment whenever such punishment is reasonably necessary to preserve discipline, subject to the school’s own policies. ORC §3319.41.
- Students in grades k through eight, who are enrolled in and attend nonpublic schools may be eligible for transportation from their public school district of residence, providing the distance to travel between the public school to which the student was assigned and the nonpublic school is within 30 minutes travel time by school bus, on a school day and during the hours a school bus would normally operate. Payment-in-lieu of transportation may be offered to the parent/guardian of students who are eligible for transportation but where the board of education for the public school district of residence has declared transportation to be impractical pursuant to ORC §3327.01.
- School boards may provide students in grades nine through 12 transportation to and from nonpublic schools, but only if transportation is provided for students attending the public high school(s). The boards must provide transportation as requested for students with disabilities in accordance with standards adopted by the State Board of Education. Transportation is conditioned on the school’s nondiscrimination in the selection of pupils, faculty members, and employees based on race, color, religion or national origin. ORC §3327.01.
- Transportation for students attending sectarian schools does not violate the Ohio constitutional provision prohibiting religious control over state school funds. Honohan v. Holt, 244 NE2d 537 (1968).
- School districts may lease buses to nonpublic schools located within the district for school-related activities that would be approved to be offered by a public school. The cost must not exceed the costs of operating the buses. ORC §3327.13.
- State allocations paid to local school districts for chartered nonpublic schools may be used for loaning textbooks or electronic textbooks to pupils attending nonpublic schools within the district or to their parents upon the request of nonpublic school pupils or parents. Requests must be submitted to the school district in which the nonpublic school is located. ORC §3317.06 (A).
- Chartered nonpublic schools may participate in the administration of the Ohio achievement tests if the chief administrator submits a written request to the superintendent of public instruction prior to Aug. 1 each year. Ohio’s grade three to eight achievement tests currently are in reading, mathematics, science, social studies and English language arts and aligned to Ohio’s academic content standards. These assessments measure students on what they know and are able to do in mathematics, reading, science, social studies and writing, and have replaced the previously used Ohio’s proficiency tests. OAC §3301-13-01.
- Students attending chartered nonpublic schools must pass all five parts of the Ohio graduation tests (OGTs) in order to receive high school diplomas. These tests replace the Ohio ninth-grade proficiency tests, which were aligned to learning outcomes. The OGT are aligned to Ohio’s academic content standards, which were adopted by the State Board of Education in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. These standards have been carefully designed to ensure that students are armed with the knowledge they need to be successful in their pursuit of higher education as well as jobs and careers. OAC §3301-13-01 (B).
- State allocations paid to local school districts for chartered nonpublic schools may be used for supplying pupils attending nonpublic schools within the district such standardized tests and scoring services as are in use in Ohio’s public schools. ORC §3317.06 (H).
- The Ohio DOE will consult with chartered nonpublic schools regarding the provision of sign language interpreters for the instruction of hearing-impaired children. ORC §3323.17.
Nursing and Health
- State allocations paid to local school districts for chartered nonpublic schools may be used for 1) speech and hearing diagnostic services; 2) physician, nursing, dental, and optometric services; 3) diagnostic psychological services; 4) therapeutic psychological and speech and hearing services; and 5) guidance and counseling services. ORC §3317.06 (B), (C), (D), (E) and (F).
- No school district shall provide health or remedial services to nonpublic school pupils unless the same services are available to pupils attending the public schools within the district. ORC §3317.06 (O).
- Nonprofit private schools eligible to participate in food service programs should apply to the State Board of Education for assistance. ORC §3313.813.
- State allocations paid to local school districts for chartered nonpublic schools may be used to purchase or lease secular, neutral, and nonideological computer software (including site-licensing), digital video on demand, wide area connectivity and related technology as it relates to Internet access, mathematics or science equipment and materials generally used in the public schools. ORC §3317.06 (K).
- Each school district shall label materials, equipment, computer hardware or software, textbooks, and electronic textbooks purchased or leased for loan to a nonpublic school, acknowledging that they were purchased or leased with state funds, unless the district determines they are consumable in nature or have a value of less than $200. ORC §3317.06.
- There is no state policy at this time.
Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions
- The superintendent of public instruction is required to annually reimburse each chartered nonpublic school the actual cost for mandated administrative and clerical costs incurred by that school during the preceding school year “in preparing, maintaining, and filing reports, forms, and records, and in providing such other administrative and clerical services that are not an integral part of the teaching process as may be required by state law or rule or by requirements duly promulgated by city, exempted village or local school districts.” ORC §3317.063.
- The sale of food to students in a cafeteria maintained in a private or parochial school is exempt from sales tax. ORC §5739.02 (B)(3).
Public Aid for Private Education
- Constitutional Provisions: According to the Ohio Constitution, a religious sect may not control any part of the state’s school funds. Ohio Constitution Art. VI, Sec. 2.
- Programs for Financial Assistance for Attendance at Private Schools:
- Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program provides scholarships to students who reside in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to attend qualifying private schools. Students in grades k through eight are eligible to apply for scholarships and recipients may retain them through grade 12. Students from low-income families have priority in receiving new scholarships. ORC §3313.95
- The Autism Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students who have been identified as autistic through their assigned resident school districts. These scholarships allow eligible students to receive special education and related services from approved registered providers, including private schools, or alternative public providers, including schools in other districts and other public entities. Students participate in the program instead of attending their public schools. To be eligible, a student must have been enrolled in, or eligible to enroll in, a school in his or her assigned resident district, and must have an individualized education plan (IEP) developed by his or her resident district. Registered private providers must, among other requirements, implement students’ IEPs as written and maintained by their resident districts. OAC §3301.103
- The Educational Choice Scholarship (EdChoice) Program was created to provide students from underperforming public schools the opportunity to attend participating private schools. The program provides up to 60,000 EdChoice scholarships to eligible students. Any student currently attending a public school that has been listed as on Academic Emergency or Academic Watch for two of the past three years are eligible to apply. Public school students who will be assigned to such schools in the upcoming school year are also eligible to apply. Any student currently attending a charter/community school whose home school is an eligible school may also apply. ORC §3310.01
- The Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students in kindergarten through grade 12 who have IEPs from their districts of residence. The amount of each scholarship will be based on the disability identified on the student’s IEP, not to exceed $20,000. Excluding category one (speech- and language-only) students, scholarships can be used to pay tuition at chartered nonpublic schools. Private school students are eligible to apply. OAC §3301.101 and ORC §§3310.5 and 3310.56 (B)(1).
Home Education Programs
- “Home education” refers to education primarily directed and provided by the parent or guardian under division (A)(2) of ORC§3321.04 whose child is of compulsory school age and not enrolled in a nonpublic school. OAC §3301-34-01.
Initial and Renewal Applications
- A parent who elects to provide home education must supply the following information to the superintendent of schools of the district of residence: name and contact information for student/s, parent/s and instructor/s other than parents; assurance that home education will follow a prescribed list of subjects to be taught, except that home education shall not be required to include any concept, topic, or practice that is in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parents; a brief outline of the intended curriculum; a list of textbooks or other basic teaching materials that the parent intends to use for home education; assurance that the child will be provided a minimum of 900 hours of home education each school year; and assurance that the home teacher has a high school diploma or the certificate of high school equivalence or standardized test scores that demonstrate high school equivalence or other equivalent credential found appropriate by the superintendent. ORC §3321.04 and OAC §3301-34-03.
- “The parent shall send to the superintendent an academic assessment report of the child for the previous school year at the time of supplying subsequent notification.” OAC §3301-34-04.
- If the annual academic assessment indicates that the child is not demonstrating reasonable proficiency, the parent will be required to develop a plan of remediation and submit a quarterly report of the child’s progress to the superintendent. If the child does not demonstrate reasonable progress during remediation, the superintendent may, subsequent to a due process hearing, revoke the child’s excuse from attendance and notify the parents in writing to enroll the child within 30 calendar days in a school in compliance with OAC §3301-35. OAC §3301-34-05.
Curriculum and Instruction
- The home education must include the following content, except for any concept, topic, or practice that is in conflict with the sincerely held religious beliefs of the parent: language, reading, spelling, and writing; geography, history of the United States and Ohio; and national, state, and local government; mathematics; science; health; physical education; fine arts, including music; and first aid, safety, and fire prevention. OAC §3301-34-03.
- Homeschooling must consist of a minimum of nine hundred hours of home education each school year. OAC §3301-34-03 (A)(8).
Assessments and Diplomas
- With notification of the intention to homeschool, the parent(s)/guardian(s) is required to send an academic assessment report of the child for the previous school year, including one of the following:
- A nationally normed, standardized achievement test administered by a licensed or certified teacher, another person mutually agreed upon by the parent(s) and the superintendent, or a person fully authorized by the publisher of the test. The test shall demonstrate reasonable proficiency (at or above the 25th percentile) in comparison with other children in the district at the same grade level;
- A written narrative indicating that a portfolio of samples of the child’s work has been reviewed and the child’s academic progress for the year is in accordance with the child’s abilities. The report must be prepared by a licensed or certified teacher, or other personnel mutually agreed upon by the parent(s)/guardians) and the superintendent; or
- An alternative academic assessment of the child’s proficiency mutually agreed upon by the parent and the superintendent. OAC §3301-34-04.
- The child may participate in the standardized testing conducted as part of the school district’s scheduled testing program at no cost to the parent. OAC §3301-34-04.
- A home-schooled student will not receive a high school diploma recognized by the Ohio DOE. To receive an Ohio Board of Education diploma, a student must successfully complete the high school curriculum of a school district, community school, chartered nonpublic school, or correctional institution. ORC §3313.614
Public School Access
- A homeschooled student is eligible to participate in any extracurricular activity offered at the district school to which the student otherwise would be assigned during that school year. The student shall fulfill the same nonacademic and financial requirements as any other participant, and
- if the student’s previous year of instruction was not through home instruction, then the student’s previous year’s academic performance must fulfil the academic requirements; or
- if the student was previously homeschooled, then the academic assessment of the previous year must meet the standards for continuation of home education. ORC §3313.5312
Information and Legislative
Contact Information – State and Federal Departments of Education
Ohio Department of Education
Nonpublic Educational Options Program
25 South Front Street, MS 710
Columbus, OH 43215-4183Phone: 877-644-6338
U.S. Department of Education, Ohio
Updated April 7, 2015