Long-Awaited Guidance Issued on Homeschool Partnership Programs

On July 31, 2019, outgoing Interim State Superintendent Sheila Alles issued a much-anticipated pupil accounting decision regarding homeschool partnership programs. Traverse City Area Pub Schs (MA 18-6). A copy of the decision is available under the heading “Links to Publications” on our website at www.thrunlaw.com\links.

Schools that operate homeschool partnership and other shared-time programs should review the deci­sion carefully to ensure continuing compliance with Michigan law and the Pupil Accounting Manual. Failure to do so may result in substantial state-aid deductions and penalties.

The decision is MDE’s first attempt at formal guidance on what it means for a shared-time course to be “available” to full-time students and how to calculate FTEs claimed for nonpublic students. Because both is­sues are critical in determining whether a nonpublic school student may be counted in membership, the de­cision will have a significant impact on how schools continue to operate shared-time programs.

We have contacted those clients directly that we know are operating homeschool partnership programs to provide suggestions on next steps. If your school op­erates a homeschool partnership program or other shared-time program, we strongly suggest that you re­view the decision and make any necessary changes for the 2019-2020 school year.

If you have specific questions or would like more information, please contact Robert Dietzel at rdietzel@thrunlaw.com or Jennifer Starlin at jstarlin@thrunlaw.com.