A bill that affects homeschoolers is before the state legislature right now. The bill creates a mechanism to pay for homeschoolers to take online courses through their public schools as shared time.

Right now, homeschoolers can take online courses, but they have to use a computer located within their local public school. If this bill is approved, homeschoolers will be able to use their personal computers at home or elsewhere.

According to Dennis Peterson of Minnetonka Schools, “The Minnetonka School District is interested in providing high quality online courses to home-schooled students. In order to make that more appealing, we are proposing that the legislature remove the limitations on home-schooled students regarding Minnesota school districts providing the courses. Accordingly, we have had a bill drafted that would enable home-schooled students to take online courses from public schools and have their involvement generate state aid without the requirement of the students going to the public school at all.”

Peterson is hoping to garner support for the bill from within the homeschool community.

He clarified, “That is our only intent – to remove restrictions on home-schooled students from taking online courses. The provided could recoup their costs from the state. We believe all students should have access to highly rigorous and diverse courses.”

Under state law, homeschoolers have the option take a couple of classes at a local public school. This is refered to as “shared time.”

Senate File #3335 is included within the education omnibus budget bill. It has been authored by Sen. Carrie Ruud (R), who represents District 10 in north-central Minnesota. The companion bill, HF3886, was authored by District 10B Representative Dale Lueck (R), who represents all of Aitkin County and part of Crow Wing County in the northern part of the state.

Like all legislation that affects non public schools, it benefits homeschoolers to be involved and have discussions about the pros and cons whenever the laws are amended or changed.

If you have an opinion about this law, you can call the sponsor, Senator Ruud or Senator Pratt, the chairman of the Legislative committee to let them know what you think. It appears that they’ve heard from a lot of homeschoolers who oppose the law. Senator Pratt’s office – (651) 296-4123. Senator Ruud’s office – (651) 296-4913.

MORE DETAILS ON THE BILL
http://www.senate.mn/departments/scr/billsumm/summary_display_from_db.php?ls=90&id=5918

Section 1. Financial arrangements. Authorizes home school students to generate online learning aid for the school district offering online courses. Clarifies that a student must not generate both online learning aid and shared time aid for the same course. Makes this section effective for fiscal year 2019 and later.

Sec. 2. Online learning aid. Makes a conforming change.

Sec. 3. Appropriation; additional online learning aid. Appropriates money in fiscal year 2019 for additional online learning aid.