House Bill 215
Thank you for contacting me regarding House Bill 215. I'd like to take this opportunity to correct the misinformation and several misconceptions that are circling around about the bill. Idaho is the best state in the country for parents who choose to exercise their statutory right to homeschool their children. This right is already protected under Idaho law and parents are free to educate their children in whatever way they choose without fear of interference, influence, or regulation from the state. In recent years, Idaho courts have bolstered laws around the right to homeschool, providing families with additional protections and certainty. Nothing in House Bill 215, the Strong Students Grant and Scholarship bill, would change the protections around homeschooling. There is nothing in the bill that would, in any way, create new requirements for any homeschool family, nor would it authorize state agencies to create new regulations. I want to be clear: This bill does not allow any regulation of homeschooling. House Bill 215 makes permanent the Strong Families, Strong Students grant program that was created by Governor Little last year. Through this program, Idaho families can continue accessing funds to pay for educational expenses such as counseling, tutoring, and career training. Nearly 5,000 Idaho homeschool families received grants from this program after it was created last year. NO regulations were created for homeschoolers as a result of the program, and NO requirements were imposed on homeschool families. I have been assured by attorneys that there is NO law in place that would allow the state to create regulations for Idaho homeschool families, and House Bill 215 would NOT do so, either. House Bill 215 offers either a $500 grant or a limited number of scholarships to families who are income eligible. However, no one is forced to apply or participate. Finally, you should know that the Idaho Legislature maintains oversight over all Idaho rules and laws. This Legislature would not pass any laws that would negatively impact Idaho homeschool families. If a state agency were to even try to use House Bill 215 to regulate you or your family, we would soundly reject their efforts and protect your freedom.