A school district in one US state is preparing to conduct random audits of homeschool families in what one nationwide homeschool organization says is an unconstitutional move.
The audits by the Clinton County (Kentucky) school district will examine both academic and attendance records of homeschool families.
“As the number of homeschooled children in our county continues to increase, so does the need for the (school) district to ensure that all children in our county are getting a rigorous and effective education,” Julie York, the director of pupil personnel for the school district, was quoted as saying in the Clinton County News.
While families have “a Constitutional right” to homeschool, York said, “it is still the school district’s responsibility to make sure the student is educated.”
The school board, in fact, has requested that York and the district conduct random audits. Each family will receive a letter.
“During the summer, Clinton County home schools will be audited to ensure that all children in Clinton County have access to the best education possible,” a verification letter obtained by the News states.
The Home School Legal Defense Association said it opposes “any such audits as unconstitutional.”
“We are also troubled by what appears to be the underlying motivation for this proposed meddling by school officials: money,” HSLA said.
Clinton County schools are losing around $300,000 a year in funding from the state due to the homeschool students not being in public school, district Finance Director Mike Reeves told the board. HSLDA said that figure is likely closer to $435,000.
“It is obvious that Clinton County sees the increase of homeschoolers as taking money away from the district, and this is likely a significant reason in officials’ desire to increase scrutiny of homeschool families,” HSLDA said.
Around 85 children are homeschooled in Clinton County, and the number is increasing.
HSLDA attorney TJ Schmidt sent a letter to York, arguing that under state law “school officials cannot simply show up at a homeschool family’s home and demand records as they might of a more traditional private school.”
“No records should be demanded unless the school district has evidence that parents are not educating their children,” HSLDA said in a news release.
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