Interpretation's Date: March 16, 2004
by superintendent David Stewart
Section: IV. Students
March 16, 2004
Tilden L. Hackworth, Superintendent
Mineral County Schools
Dear. Mr. Hackworth:
This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated November 12, 2003 relative to the transfer of a student to another state. Specifically you asked "If a student leaves a school in our county and enrolls in a school in another state which is not an approved or accredited school in that state, should we officially list that student as a ‘transfer' or should we require the parents to enroll their child as a home-school child?" Upon investigation, you revealed that the students will still be residing in Mineral County, paying tuition to a correspondence type school that is recognized in the other state but not approved by that state, and some students have reached the age of sixteen years.
West Virginia Code 18-8-1(b) indicates that:
A child shall be exempt from the compulsory school attendance requirement set forth in subsection (a) of this section if the requirements of this subsection, relating to instruction in a private, parochial or other approved school, are met. The instruction shall be in a school approved by the county board and for a time equal to the instructional term set forth in section forty-five, article five of this chapter. In all private, parochial or other schools approved pursuant to this subsection it shall be the duty of the principal or other person in control, upon the request of the county superintendent, to furnish to the county board such information and records as may be required with respect to attendance, instruction and progress of pupils enrolled between the entrance age and sixteen years. [Emphasis added]
As a result, in order for the student to utilize this exemption, you would need to request sufficient information regarding the school, including the instructional term, for your board to take action to approve the same. Your board should have developed criteria upon which attendance in the outside institution shall be based, such as the requirements outlined in West Virginia Board of Education Policy 2320. Should the board grant such approval, the student in withdrawn from public school in West Virginia and exempt from compulsory attendance in West Virginia's public schools pursuant to West Virginia Code 18-8-1(b).
Alternatively, as you suggest, the child may be withdrawn and home schooled, if the requirements of West Virginia Code 18-8-1(c) are met, thus allowing the child to be exempt from compulsory attendance in West Virginia's public schools.
Finally, if the child has reached the age of sixteen years, the child may simply withdraw from public education in West Virginia, as compulsory attendance begins at age six years and continues only until age sixteen, pursuant to West Virginia Code 18-8-1(a).
Hoping that I have been of service, I am,