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Arizona State Regulations

Updated July 31, 2012 State Regulation of Private Schools (Revised July 2009) is the last full report.

Private Schools

Accreditation, Registration, Licensing, and Approval

  • No requirements for Accreditation.
  • No requirements for Registration.
  • No requirements for Licensing.
  • No requirements for Approval.
  • “Private school” is defined as “a nonpublic institution, other than the child’s home, where academic instruction is provided for at least the same number of days and hours each year as a public school.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-802F.2.
  • “Nothing in this title shall be construed to provide the state board of education or the governing boards of school districts control or supervision over private schools.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-161.

Teacher Certification

  • Teacher certification is not required.

Length of School Year and Days

  • To comply with the Arizona compulsory school attendance statute, private school students must attend school for the full time school is in session in the local school district. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-802B.2.

Curriculum

  • “Every child between the ages of six and sixteen years shall attend a school and shall be provided instruction in at least the subjects of reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies and science. The person who has custody of the child shall choose a public, private, charter or home school as defined in this section to provide instruction.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-802A.
  • If a student transfers from a private school to a public school, the public school must provide the student with a list that indicates which credits are accepted and denied by the school district. The student is allowed to take an examination in each course denied credit. If the student earns a passing score on a test designated by the school district and evaluated by a teacher in that district, the student will receive credit for the course. The governing board of the school district may recommend requirements for accepting credits of private school students transferring to public schools in that district. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-701.01G.

Recordkeeping and Reports

  • Upon enrollment of the pupil, private schools must maintain a copy in the pupil’s file of the reliable proof of her or his identity and age, e.g. birth certificate or baptismal certificate. Any inaccurate or suspicious affidavit must be reported to the local law enforcement agency. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-828A, C, E.
  • Within five school days after enrolling a transfer student from a private school or another school district, a school must request directly from the pupil’s previous school a certified copy of the transcript’s record with “due diligence.” Any school requested to forward a copy of a student’s record must do so within 10 days unless financial debt is owed or the record has been flagged pursuant to section 15-829 referencing a missing child reported by a parent or guardian. If the record is flagged, the requested school must not notify the local law enforcement agency of the request and not forward the copy of the record. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-828 F.
  • By November 30 of each school year, private schools must report the following to the health department and the department of health services on forms provided: 1) the number of pupils immunized/or who have submitted laboratory evidence of immunity; 2) the number of students with incomplete immunization; and 3) the number of students exempt from immunization. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-874 D.
  • Parents enrolling students in private schools must file an affidavit with the county superintendent stating that the student is attending a school for the full time that the schools in the school district are in session, and the name and address of the school that the child is attending. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-802B.2.
  • Before January 15 each year, the superintendent of public instruction must make an annual report to the governor and state legislature of the number of children attending private schools. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-255.

Health and Safety Requirements

  • Children are not allowed to attend school without submitting documentary proof of immunization to the school administrator, unless they are exempt under §15-873, or in the process of immunization. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-872.
  • The fire marshal is responsible for establishing programs for evacuating school buildings and instructing students in private schools on the importance of fire preventions and control. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§41-2165; 2163A.4.
  • Arizona requires students, teachers, and visitors in private schools to use protective eyewear while participating in or observing certain educational activities in vocational, technical and industrial arts, art, or laboratory science. Private or parochial schools must equip their schools with the appropriate protective eyewear. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-151.
  • Arizona places additional criminal penalties on persons convicted of selling illegal drugs in a drug-free school zone. The administrative officer of a nonpublic school shall place and maintain signs identifying the school and its grounds as a drug-free school zone. Illegal drug transactions observed by school personnel must be reported. School records of alleged student violations must be made available to the peace officer upon written request. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13-3411.

Transportation

  • There is no state policy at this time.

Textbooks

  • There is no state policy at this time.

Testing

  • There is no state policy at this time.

Special Education

  • School districts or county school superintendents may contract with private schools to provide education and related services for public school students with disabilities. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-765D.
  • Arizona provides special education residential vouchers for special education students publicly placed in private special education facilities providing 24-hour residential care. Private schools accepting vouchers may not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, color, national origin, or disability. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-1184.

Nursing and Health

  • Private schools may participate in school meal programs offered by the state and through federal assistance programs. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15-1151.

Technology

  • There is no state policy at this time.

Professional Development

  • There is no state policy at this time.

Reimbursement for Performing State and Local Functions

  • There is no state policy at this time.

Tax Exemption

  • No tax may be laid or appropriation of public money made in aid of any private or sectarian school. Arizona Constitution, Art. 9, Sec. 7.
  • Property of educational, charitable, and religious associations or institutions not used or held for profit may be exempt from taxation by law. Arizona Constitution, Art. 9, Sec. 2.

Public Aid for Private Education

  • Constitutional Provisions: No public money or property may be appropriated or applied to any religious instruction or in support of any religious establishment. Arizona Constitution, Art. 2, Sec. 12. The state school fund may be apportioned only for public education. Arizona Constitution, Art. 11, Sec. 8.
  • Programs for Financial Assistance for Attendance at Private Schools:
    1. Individual School Tuition Organization Tax Credit was enacted in 1997 and implemented in 1998. This program provides tax credits to individual taxpayers for contributions made to school tuition organizations (STOs). An STO is defined as a 501(c)(3) organization that “allocates at least 90 percent of its annual revenue for education scholarships or tuition grants to children” to allow them to attend the school of their choice, including private and/or parochial schools. The amount of the credit is equal to the amount contributed, with a maximum credit of $500 to a single taxpayer and $1,000 for a married couple filing jointly. STOs determine the amount of the scholarship and student eligibility. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §43-1089. This program’s constitutionality was upheld by the Arizona Supreme Court in Kotterman v. Killian (1999).
    2. Corporate School Tuition Organization Tax Credit became law in 2006 and allows corporations to receive a tax credit for contributing to a school tuition organization. The amount of the credit is equal to the amount contributed. The maximum aggregate amount of tax credits is $10 million, which increases by 20 percent annually. Tax credits are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. The scholarships have maximum limits of $4,200 and $5,500 for students grades K— 8 and 9— 12, respectively. A student is eligible if his or her family’s income does not exceed 185 percent of the income limit required for students to qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §43-1183.
    3. Arizona Scholarships for Pupils with Disabilities Program was implemented in the 2006— 07 school year and provides special needs children with the option of attending another public school or receiving a scholarship for attendance at a qualified private school. In order to be a state-qualified school, the school may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, handicap, familial status, or national origin. An eligible student must have an Individualized Education Program and attended a public school in the prior year. The amount of assistance is the school’s tuition and fees or actual cost per pupil, whichever is greater, but may not exceed the amount of funding the student would have generated had he or she remained in a public school. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§15— 891— 891.06.
    4. Displaced Pupils Choice Grant Program became law in 2006 and began in the 2007— 08 academic year. A student is eligible to receive this voucher if he or she has been in the foster care system any time before high school graduation. Vouchers are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and can be used to pay tuition at any private school in the state of Arizona. Participating schools may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, handicap, familial status, or national origin. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§15-817—817.07.
    5. Empowerment Scholarship Account Program became law in 2011. Designated for special needs children, these educational savings account funds provide for qualified students to access an education which must, at minimum, include reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies, and science. An eligible student receives a scholarship account into which the state deposits 90 percent of the student’s funding level as determined by the school finance formula. Parents draw on the funds for private school and related expenses. Participating schools must be nongovernmental K—12 schools or preschools for handicapped students and must not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§15—2401—2402.

 

Home Schools

  • “Home school” is defined as “a school conducted primarily by the parent, guardian or other person who has custody of the child or instruction provided in the child’s home.” Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15—802F.1.
  • Each county has jurisdiction over home schooling within its borders. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15—802, 15—802.01.

Initial and Renewal Applications

  • Parents or guardians are required to complete, notarize, and file an affidavit of home schooling with the county school superintendent in the county in which they live within 30 days of beginning to homeschool their child. If a child returns to a public school, the parent is again obligated to report this change of placement to the county school superintendent within 30 days. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§15—802, 15— 802.01.
  • The parent must also submit to the county school superintendent within 30 days of the start of home instruction at least one of the following: a birth certificate, reliable proof of the child’s identity and age, or a letter from the authorized agency with custody of the child. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15—828 B.
  • If the parent does not comply with the notification requirements, then the school, school district, or county school superintendent will notify the parents in writing, and if the parent does not comply within 10 days, the case will be referred to the local law enforcement agency for investigation. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15—828 D.

Curriculum and Instruction

  • Instruction occurs for students between the ages of six and 16. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15—802
  • Homeschool instruction at minimum includes reading, grammar, math, social studies, and science. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15—802(A).

Assessment and Diplomas

  • There are no annual testing requirements. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§15—802, 15—802.1.

Public School Access

  • Home-instructed students are allowed to participate in the public schools’ interscholastic activities for the attendance area where they reside. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §15—802.01.

 

Web Resources

Information and Legislation

Arizona Department of Education (ADE): Private Schools
ADE: Parents & Families, Home Schooling Information
ADE: Empowerment Scholarship Accounts
Arizona Department of Revenue: School Tax Credits for Individuals
Arizona State Legislature Arizona Revised Statutes Annotated Title 15, Education
 

Contact Information —State and Federal Departments of Education

 

Arizona Department of Education
1535 West Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Phone: 602-542-5393
Toll-Free: 800-352-4558
Fax: 602-542-5440
Website: http://www.ade.az.gov/
U.S. Department of Education, Arizona

Updated July 31, 2012

 


Last Modified: 07/29/2013