Montana's Homeschool Law
 

20-5-102. Compulsory enrollment and excuses. (1) Except as provided in subsection
(2), any parent, guardian, or other person who is responsible for the care of any child who is
7 years of age or older prior to the first day of school in any school fiscal year shall cause the
child to be instructed in the program prescribed by the board of public education pursuant to
20-7-111 until the later of the following dates:

(a) the child's 16th birthday;

(b) the date of completion of the work of the 8th grade.

(2) A parent, guardian, or other person shall enroll the child in the school assigned by the
trustees of the district within the first week of the school term or when the parent, guardian, or person establishes
residence in the district unless the child is:

(a) enrolled in a school of another district or state under any of the tuition provisions of this
title;

(b) provided with supervised correspondence study or supervised home study under the
transportation provisions of this title;

(c) excused from compulsory school attendance upon a determination by a district judge that
attendance is not in the best interest of the child;

(d) excused by the board of trustees upon a determination that attendance by a child who
has attained the age of 16 is not in the best interest of the child and the school; or

(e) enrolled in a nonpublic or home school that complies with the provisions of 20-5-109 .
For the purposes of this subsection (2)(e), a home school is the instruction by a parent of 
the parent's chilld, stepchild, or ward in the parent's residence and a nonpublic school includes a parochial, church,
religious, or private school. 



20-5-103. Compulsory attendance and excuses. (1) Except as provided in subsection
(2), any parent, guardian, or other person who is responsible for the care of any child who is
7 years of age or older prior to the first day of school in any school fiscal year shall cause the
child to attend the school in which he is enrolled for the school term and each school day
therein prescribed by the trustees of the district until the later of the following dates:

(a) the child's 16th birthday;

(b) the date of completion of the work of the 8th grade.

(2) The provisions of subsection (1) do not apply in the following cases:

(a) The child has been excused under one of the conditions specified in 20-5-102 .

(b) The child is absent because of illness, bereavement, or other reason prescribed by the
policies of the trustees.

(c) The child has been suspended or expelled under the provisions of 20-5-202 . 


20-5-104. Attendance officer. In order to enforce the compulsory attendance provisions
of this title, each district shall have at least one person serving as an attendance officer
according to the following requirements:

(1) districts of the first and and districts of the second class with a dropout rate higher than the statewide
average dropout rate as calculated by the office of public instruction shall appoint one or more
of the district's staff as attendance officers;

(2) districts of the second class with a dropout rate at or below the statewide
average dropout rate as calculated by the office of public instruction sand districts
of the third class may appoint one or more of the district's staff as attendance officers; or

(3) the county superintendent must be the attendance officer in second-class or third-class districts that do not
appoint an attendance officer. 


20-5-109. Nonpublic school requirements for compulsory enrollment exemption. To
qualify its students for exemption from compulsory enrollment under 20-5-102 , a nonpublic
or home school:

(1) shall maintain records on pupil attendance and disease immunization and make the records
available to the county superintendent of schools on request;

(2) shall provide at least the minimum aggregate hours of pupil instruction in accordance with
20-1-301 and 20-1-302 ;

(3) must be housed in a building that complies with applicable local health and safety regulations;

(4) shall provide an organized course of study that includes instruction in the subjects required of
public schools as a basic instructional program pursuant to 20-7-111 ; and

(5) in the case of home schools, shall notify the county superintendent of schools, of the county in
which the home school is located, in each school fiscal year of the student's attendance at the
school. 

Administrative Rules:

ARM 10.55.901, 10.55.902 and 10.55.904 Basic instructional programs. 



20-5-110. School district assessment for placement of a child who enrolls from a
nonaccredited, nonpublic school. The trustees of a school district shall:

(1) adopt a district policy on assessment for placement of any child who enrolls in a school
of the district and whose previous place of instruction was a nonpublic school that is not
accredited;

(2) include in the adopted policy the following provisions:

(a) the specific assessment for placement to be administered to any child subject to the
provisions of subsection (1);

(b) a procedure for grade and program placement of the child based on results of the
assessment for placement, including considerations for the age and identified abilities of the
child; and

(c) a hearing process before the board of trustees of the district if the parent or guardian of a
child is not in agreement with the placement of the child and requests a hearing before the
board; and

(3) administer the adopted policy required in subsection (1) in a uniform and fair manner. 


20-5-111. Responsibilities and rights of parent who provides home school. Subject to the provisions of 20-5-109 , a parent has the authority to
instruct the parent's child, stepchild, or ward in a home school and is solely responsible for:

(1) the educational philosophy of the home school;

(2) the selection of instructional materials, curriculum, and textbooks;

(3) the time, place, and method of instruction; and

(4) the evaluation of the home school instruction. 


20-1-301. School fiscal year. (1) The school fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. At least the minimum aggregate hours defined in subsection (2) must be conducted during each school fiscal year, except that 1050 aggregate hours of pupil instruction for graduating seniors may be sufficient.

(2) The minimum aggregate hours required by grade are:

(a) 360 hours for a half-time kindergarten program or 720 hours for a full-time kindergarten program, as provided in 20-7-117;

(b) 720 hours for grades 1 through 3; and

(c) 1,080 hours for grades 4 through 12.

(3) for any elementary or high school district  that fails to provide for at least the minimum aggregate hours, as listed in subsections (1) and (2), the superintendent of public instruction shall reduce the direct state aid for the district for that school year by two times an hourly rate, as calculated by the office of public instruction, for the aggregate hours missed.

 

20-1-101. Definitions. [‘minimum aggregate hours defined’]

(13)(a) "Minimum aggregate hours" means the minimum hours of pupil instruction that must be conducted during the school fiscal year in accordance with 20-1-301 and includes the passing time between classes.

(b) The term does not include lunch time and periods of unstructured recess.

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