|120A.01||Citation, Education Code.|
|120A.02||Department of children, families, and learning.|
ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS
|120A.10||Public officer may submit school law questions to attorney general.|
|120A.20||Admission to public school.|
|120A.26||Enforcement and prosecution.|
|120A.28||School boards; duties.|
|120A.32||Officers, teachers; neglect of duty; penalty.|
|120A.35||Absence from school for religious observance.|
|120A.41||Length of school year; days of instruction.|
|120A.415||Extended school calendar.|
|120A.42||Conduct of school on certain holidays.|
120A.01 Citation, Education Code.
Chapters 120A to 129C may be cited as the Education Code.
120A.02 Department of children, families, and learning.
The department of children, families, and learning shall carry out the provisions of chapters 120A to 129C and other related education provisions under law.
HIST: 2000 c 254 s 1
120A.03 Mission statement.
The mission of public education in Minnesota, a system for lifelong learning, is to ensure individual academic achievement, an informed citizenry, and a highly productive work force. This system focuses on the learner, promotes and values diversity, provides participatory decision making, ensures accountability, models democratic principles, creates and sustains a climate for change, provides personalized learning environments, encourages learners to reach their maximum potential, and integrates and coordinates human services for learners. The public schools of this state shall serve the needs of the students by cooperating with the students' parents and legal guardians to develop the students' intellectual capabilities and lifework skills in a safe and positive environment. It is part of the department's mission that within the department's resources the commissioner shall endeavor to:
(1) prevent the waste or unnecessary spending of public money;
(2) use innovative fiscal and human resource practices to manage the state's resources and operate the department as efficiently as possible;
(3) coordinate the department's activities wherever appropriate with the activities of other governmental agencies;
(4) use technology where appropriate to increase agency productivity, improve customer service, increase public access to information about government, and increase public participation in the business of government;
(5) utilize constructive and cooperative labor-management practices to the extent otherwise required by chapters 43A and 179A;
(6) report to the legislature on the performance of agency operations and the accomplishment of agency goals in the agency's biennial budget according to section 16A.10, subdivision 1; and
(7) recommend to the legislature appropriate changes in law necessary to carry out the mission and improve the performance of the department.
Subdivision 1. Scope. For the purposes of this chapter the terms defined in this section have the meanings given them.
Subd. 2. Auditor. "Auditor" means county auditor.
Subd. 3. Board. "Board" means a school board.
Subd. 4. Commissioner. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of children, families, and learning.
Subd. 5. Common district. "Common district" means any school district validly created and existing as a common school district or joint common school district as of July 1, 1957, or pursuant to the terms of the Education Code.
Subd. 6. County board. "County board" means a board of county commissioners.
Subd. 7. Department. "Department" means the department of children, families, and learning.
Subd. 8. District. "District" means a school district.
Subd. 9. Elementary school. "Elementary school" means any school with building, equipment, courses of study, class schedules, enrollment of pupils ordinarily in prekindergarten through grade 6 or any portion thereof, and staff meeting the standards established by the commissioner.
The commissioner of children, families, and learning shall not close a school or deny any state aids to a district for its elementary schools because of enrollment limitations classified in accordance with the provisions of this subdivision.
Subd. 10. Independent district. "Independent district" means any school district validly created and existing as an independent, consolidated, joint independent, county or a ten or more township district as of July 1, 1957, or pursuant to the Education Code.
Subd. 11. Middle school. "Middle school" means any school other than a secondary school giving an approved course of study in a minimum of three consecutive grades above 4th but below 10th with building, equipment, courses of study, class schedules, enrollment, and staff meeting the standards established by the commissioner of children, families, and learning.
Subd. 12. School district tax. "School district tax" means the tax levied and collected to provide the amount of money voted or levied by the district or the board for school purposes.
Subd. 13. Secondary school. "Secondary school" means any school with building, equipment, courses of study, class schedules, enrollment of pupils ordinarily in grades 7 through 12 or any portion thereof, and staff meeting the standards established by the commissioner of children, families, and learning.
Subd. 14. Special district. "Special district" means a district established by a charter granted by the legislature or by a home rule charter including any district designated a special independent school district by the legislature.
Subd. 15. Obsolete
Subd. 16. Superintendent. "Superintendent" means superintendent of the school district involved.
Subd. 17. Vocational center school. "Vocational center school" means any school serving a group of secondary schools with approved areas of secondary vocational training and offering vocational secondary and adult programs necessary to meet local needs and meeting standards established by the commissioner of children, families, and learning.
HIST: Ex1959 c 71 art 1 s 2,5; 1961 c 562 s 7; 1971 c 25 s 31; 1971 c 118 s 1; 1978 c 616 s 1; 1984 c 463 art 5 s 1; 1987 c 258 s 1; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 16 s 13; 1997 c 162 art 1 s 2; 1998 c 397 art 1 s 1-6,58; art 11 s 3; 1998 c 398 art 5 s 55
ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINIONS
120A.10 Public officer may submit school law questions to attorney general.
If there be any doubt as to the proper construction of any part of the state school laws, the commissioner, at the request of any public officer, shall submit such question to the attorney general, who shall give a written opinion thereon and such opinion shall be binding until annulled or overruled by a court.
HIST: Ex1959 c 71 art 2 s 17; 1986 c 444
120A.20 Admission to public school.
Subdivision 1. Age limitations; pupils. All schools supported in whole or in part by state funds are public schools. Admission to a public school is free to any person who resides within the district that operates the school, who is under 21 years of age, and who satisfies the minimum age requirements imposed by this section. Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, the conduct of all students under 21 years of age attending a public secondary school is governed by a single set of reasonable rules and regulations promulgated by the school board. No person shall be admitted to any public school (1) as a kindergarten pupil, unless the pupil is at least five years of age on September 1 of the calendar year in which the school year for which the pupil seeks admission commences; or (2) as a 1st grade student, unless the pupil is at least six years of age on September 1 of the calendar year in which the school year for which the pupil seeks admission commences or has completed kindergarten; except that any school board may establish a policy for admission of selected pupils at an earlier age.
Subd. 2. Education and residence of homeless. (a) Notwithstanding subdivision 1, a district must not deny free admission to a homeless person of school age solely because the district cannot determine that the person is a resident of the district.
(b) The school district of residence for a homeless person of school age shall be the school district in which the homeless shelter or other program, center, or facility assisting the homeless person is located. The educational services a school district provides to a homeless person must allow the person to work toward meeting the graduation standards under section 120B.02.
Subd. 3. Pupils, at least 21 years of age. In addition to those admitted under subdivision 1, admission to a public secondary school is free to a person who is eligible under this subdivision. In order to be eligible, a person must be:
(1) at least 21 years of age;
(2) a resident of the district where the secondary school is located; and
(3) eligible under section 124D.68, subdivision 2.
Free admission is limited to two school years or the equivalent, or until the pupil completes the courses required to graduate, whichever is less. A district that admits a person to school under this section must have a reasonable expectation that the person can obtain a diploma within two years.
HIST: Ex1959 c 71 art 1 s 6; 1967 c 173 s 1; 1974 c 529 s 1; 1984 c 463 art 5 s 2; 1Sp1985 c 12 art 7 s 2; 1987 c 258 s 12; 1988 c 718 art 6 s 1; 1989 c 246 s 2; 1989 c 329 art 7 s 1; 1993 c 224 art 4 s 7; 1996 c 412 art 13 s 3; 1998 c 397 art 1 s 7,8,58; art 11 s 3; 1998 c 398 art 2 s 3
120A.22 Compulsory instruction.
Subdivision 1. Parental responsibility. The parent of a child is primarily responsible for assuring that the child acquires knowledge and skills that are essential for effective citizenship.
Subd. 1a. Noncustodial parent access to records. Upon request, a noncustodial parent has the right of access to, and to receive copies of, school records and information, to attend conferences, and to be informed about the child's welfare, educational progress, and status, as authorized under section 518.17, subdivision 3. The school is not required to hold a separate conference for each parent.
Subd. 2. Applicability. This section and sections 120A.24; 120A.26; 120A.28; 120A.30; 120A.32; and 120A.34 apply only to a child required to receive instruction according to subdivision 5 and to instruction that is intended to fulfill that requirement.
(b) In sections 125A.03 to 125A.24 and 125A.65, "parent" means a parent, guardian, or other person having legal custody of a child under age 18. For an unmarried pupil age 18 or over, "parent" means the pupil unless a guardian or conservator has been appointed, in which case it means the guardian or conservator.
(c) For purposes of sections 125A.03 to 125A.24 and 125A.65, the school district of residence for an unmarried pupil age 18 or over who is a parent under paragraph (b) and who is placed in a center for care and treatment, shall be the school district in which the pupil's biological or adoptive parent or designated guardian resides.
(d) For a married pupil age 18 or over, the school district of residence is the school district in which the married pupil resides.
Subd. 4. School defined. For the purpose of compulsory attendance, a "school" means a public school, as defined in section 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, 13, and 17, or a nonpublic school, church or religious organization, or home-school in which a child is provided instruction in compliance with this section and section 120A.24.
Subd. 5. Ages and terms. (a) Every child between seven and 16 years of age must receive instruction. Every child under the age of seven who is enrolled in a half-day kindergarten, or a full-day kindergarten program on alternate days, or other kindergarten programs shall receive instruction. Except as provided in subdivision 6, a parent may withdraw a child under the age of seven from enrollment at any time.
(b) A school district by annual board action may require children subject to this subdivision to receive instruction in summer school. A district that acts to require children to receive instruction in summer school shall establish at the time of its action the criteria for determining which children must receive instruction.
Subd. 6. Children under seven. (a) Once a pupil under the age of seven is enrolled in kindergarten or a higher grade in a public school, the pupil is subject to the compulsory attendance provisions of this chapter and section 120A.34, unless the board of the district in which the pupil is enrolled has a policy that exempts children under seven from this subdivision.
(b) In a district in which children under seven are subject to compulsory attendance under this subdivision, paragraphs (c) to (e) apply.
(c) A parent or guardian may withdraw the pupil from enrollment in the school for good cause by notifying the district. Good cause includes, but is not limited to, enrollment of the pupil in another school, as defined in subdivision 4, or the immaturity of the child.
(d) When the pupil enrolls, the enrolling official must provide the parent or guardian who enrolls the pupil with a written explanation of the provisions of this subdivision.
(e) A pupil under the age of seven who is withdrawn from enrollment in the public school under paragraph (c) is no longer subject to the compulsory attendance provisions of this chapter.
(f) In a district that had adopted a policy to exempt children under seven from this subdivision, the district's chief attendance officer must keep the truancy enforcement authorities supplied with a copy of the board's current policy certified by the clerk of the board.
Subd. 7. Education records. (a) A district from which a student is transferring must transmit the student's educational records, within ten business days of a request, to the district in which the student is enrolling. Districts must make reasonable efforts to determine the district in which a transferring student is next enrolling in order to comply with this subdivision.
(b) A school district that transmits a student's educational records to another school district or other educational entity to which the student is transferring must include in the transmitted records information about disciplinary action taken as a result of any incident in which the student possessed or used a dangerous weapon.
(c) Notwithstanding section 138.17, a principal or chief administrative officer must remove from a student's educational record and destroy a probable cause notice received under section 260B.171, subdivision 5, or paragraph (d), if one year has elapsed since the date of the notice and the principal or chief administrative officer has not received a disposition or court order related to the offense described in the notice. This paragraph does not apply if the student no longer attends the school when this one-year period expires.
(d) A principal or chief administrative officer who receives a probable cause notice under section 260B.171, subdivision 5, or a disposition or court order, must include a copy of that data in the student's educational records if they are transmitted to another school, unless the data are required to be destroyed under paragraph (c) or section 121A.75.
Subd. 8. Withdrawal from school. Any student between 16 and 18 years old who seeks to withdraw from school, and the student's parent or guardian must:
(1) attend a meeting with school personnel to discuss the educational opportunities available to the student, including alternative educational opportunities; and
(2) sign a written election to withdraw from school.
Subd. 9. Curriculum. Instruction must be provided in at least the following subject areas:
(1) basic communication skills including reading and writing, literature, and fine arts;
(2) mathematics and science;
(3) social studies including history, geography, and government; and
(4) health and physical education.
Subd. 10. Requirements for instructors. A person who is providing instruction to a child must meet at least one of the following requirements:
(1) hold a valid Minnesota teaching license in the field and for the grade level taught;
(2) be directly supervised by a person holding a valid Minnesota teaching license;
(3) successfully complete a teacher competency examination;
(4) provide instruction in a school that is accredited by an accrediting agency, recognized according to section 123B.445, or recognized by the commissioner;
(5) hold a baccalaureate degree; or
(6) be the parent of a child who is assessed according to the procedures in subdivision 11.
Any person providing instruction in a public school must meet the requirements of clause (1).
Subd. 11. Assessment of performance. (a) Each year the performance of every child who is not enrolled in a public school must be assessed using a nationally norm-referenced standardized achievement examination. The superintendent of the district in which the child receives instruction and the person in charge of the child's instruction must agree about the specific examination to be used and the administration and location of the examination.
(b) To the extent the examination in paragraph (a) does not provide assessment in all of the subject areas in subdivision 9, the parent must assess the child's performance in the applicable subject area. This requirement applies only to a parent who provides instruction and does not meet the requirements of subdivision 10, clause (1), (2), or (3).
(c) If the results of the assessments in paragraphs (a) and (b) indicate that the child's performance on the total battery score is at or below the 30th percentile or one grade level below the performance level for children of the same age, the parent must obtain additional evaluation of the child's abilities and performance for the purpose of determining whether the child has learning problems.
(d) A child receiving instruction from a nonpublic school, person, or institution that is accredited by an accrediting agency, recognized according to section 123B.445, or recognized by the commissioner, is exempt from the requirements of this subdivision.
Subd. 12. Legitimate exemptions. A parent, guardian, or other person having control of a child may apply to a school district to have the child excused from attendance for the whole or any part of the time school is in session during any school year. Application may be made to any member of the board, a truant officer, a principal, or the superintendent. The board of the district in which the child resides may approve the application upon the following being demonstrated to the satisfaction of that board:
(1) that the child's bodily or mental condition is such as to prevent attendance at school or application to study for the period required; or
(2) that for the school years 1988-1989 through 1999-2000 the child has already completed the studies ordinarily required in the 10th grade and that for the school years beginning with the 2000-2001 school year the child has already completed the studies ordinarily required to graduate from high school; or
(3) that it is the wish of the parent, guardian, or other person having control of the child, that the child attend for a period or periods not exceeding in the aggregate three hours in any week, a school for religious instruction conducted and maintained by some church, or association of churches, or any Sunday school association incorporated under the laws of this state, or any auxiliary thereof. This school for religious instruction must be conducted and maintained in a place other than a public school building, and it must not, in whole or in part, be conducted and maintained at public expense. However, a child may be absent from school on such days as the child attends upon instruction according to the ordinances of some church.
Subd. 13. Issuing and reporting excuses. The clerk or any authorized officer of the board must issue and keep a record of such excuses, under such rules as the board may from time to time establish.
HIST: Ex1959 c 71 art 1 s 10 subds 2,3; 1961 c 567 s 1; 1967 c 82 s 1; 1969 c 161 s 1,2; 1974 c 326 s 1; 1975 c 162 s 3; 1977 c 306 s 14; 1977 c 447 art 7 s 2,3; 1978 c 616 s 2; 1978 c 706 s 1; 1980 c 609 art 3 s 2; 1Sp1985 c 12 art 7 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1986 c 472 s 1-3; 1987 c 178 s 1,9; 1988 c 718 art 7 s 19,20; 1989 c 296 s 1,2; 1991 c 265 art 7 s 2; 1993 c 224 art 9 s 13,14; 1994 c 465 art 2 s 9,10; 1994 c 647 art 4 s 1; art 9 s 3; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 9 s 3,4; 1Sp1997 c 4 art 6 s 1-2; art 7 s 3; 1998 c 397 art 1 s 29-35,58; art 11 s 3; 1998 c 398 art 2 s 5; art 5 s 4; art 5 s 55; 2000 c 489 art 10 s 1,21; 2002 c 352 s 8
Subdivision 1. Reports to superintendent. The person in charge of providing instruction to a child must submit the following information to the superintendent of the district in which the child resides:
(1) by October 1 of each school year, the name, birth date, and address of each child receiving instruction;
(2) the name of each instructor and evidence of compliance with one of the requirements specified in section 120A.22, subdivision 10;
(3) an annual instructional calendar; and
(4) for each child instructed by a parent who meets only the requirement of section 120A.22, subdivision 10, clause (6), a quarterly report card on the achievement of the child in each subject area required in section 120A.22, subdivision 9.
Subd. 2. Availability of documentation. The person in charge of providing instruction to a child must make available documentation indicating that the subjects required in section 120A.22, subdivision 9, are being taught. This documentation must include class schedules, copies of materials used for instruction, and descriptions of methods used to assess student achievement.
Subd. 3. Exemptions. A nonpublic school, person, or other institution that is accredited by an accrediting agency, recognized according to section 123B.445, or recognized by the commissioner, is exempt from the requirements in subdivisions 1 and 2, except for the requirement in subdivision 1, clause (1).
Subd. 4. Reports to the state. A superintendent must make an annual report to the commissioner of children, families, and learning. The report must include the following information:
(1) the number of children residing in the district attending nonpublic schools or receiving instruction from persons or institutions other than a public school;
(2) the number of children in clause (1) who are in compliance with section 120A.22 and this section; and
(3) the names, ages, and addresses of children whom the superintendent has determined are not in compliance with section 120A.22 and this section.
120A.26 Enforcement and prosecution.
Subdivision 1. On-site visits. A superintendent or the superintendent's designee may make an annual on-site visit, at a mutually agreed upon time, to an unaccredited nonpublic school, home, or other institution where children are receiving instruction. Upon mutual agreement between the parties, the superintendent or the superintendent's designee may also visit an accredited nonpublic school, person, or other institution providing instruction. The purpose of these visits shall be limited to monitoring compliance with the requirements of section 120A.22. If the superintendent determines that there is evidence of noncompliance with the requirements of sections 120A.22 and 120A.24, the superintendent may make additional visits during the school year.
Subd. 2. Alternative to visits. In lieu of the visit authorized in subdivision 1, a parent who is providing instruction may present the documentation required in section 120A.24, subdivision 2, to the superintendent.
Subd. 3. Notice to parents. The superintendent must notify the parent, in writing, if a child is alleged to be receiving instruction in violation of sections 120A.22 and 120A.24. The written notification must include a list of the specific alleged violations.
Subd. 4. Fact-finding and mediation. If the specified alleged violations of the compulsory attendance requirements are not corrected within 15 days of receipt of the written notification, the superintendent must request fact-finding and mediation services from the commissioner.
Subd. 5. Notice to county attorney. If the alleged violations are not corrected through the fact-finding and mediation process under subdivision 4, the superintendent must notify the county attorney of the alleged violations. The superintendent must notify the parents, by certified mail, of the superintendent's intent to notify the county attorney of the alleged violations.
Subd. 6. Criminal complaint; prosecution. The county attorney in the county in which the alleged violations have occurred has jurisdiction to conduct a prosecution for violations of this section, section 120A.22, or section 120A.24. A criminal complaint may be filed in any court in the county exercising criminal jurisdiction and must name the persons neglecting or refusing to comply with this section, section 120A.22, or section 120A.24. After the complaint has been filed, a warrant must be issued and proceedings in trial must commence as provided by law in misdemeanor cases.
120A.28 School boards; duties.
It is the duty of each board through its clerk or other authorized agent or employee, to report the names of children required to attend school, with excuses, if any, granted in the district, to the superintendent or principals of the district, within the first week of school. Subsequent excuses granted must be reported in the same manner. The clerk or principal must provide the teachers in the several schools supervised with the necessary information for the respective grades of school, relating to the list of pupils with excuses granted. Within five days after receiving the report, the clerk or principals must report the names of children not excused who are not attending school, with the names and addresses of their parents, to the superintendent.
120A.30 Attendance officers.
The board of any district may authorize the employment of attendance officers, who must investigate truancy or nonattendance at school, make complaints, serve notice and process, and attend to the enforcement of all laws and district rules regarding school attendance. When any attendance officer learns of any case of habitual truancy or continued nonattendance of any child required to attend school the officer must immediately notify the person having control of the child to send and keep the child in school. The attendance officer must also refer a habitual truant child as defined in section 260C.007, subdivision 19, and the child's parent or legal guardian to appropriate services and procedures under chapter 260A, if available within the school district. Attendance officers or other designated school officials must ensure that the notice required by section 260A.03 for a child who is a continuing truant is sent. The officer must act under the general supervision of the superintendent.
120A.32 Officers, teachers; neglect of duty; penalty.
Any school officer, truant officer, public or nonpublic school teacher, principal, district superintendent, or person providing instruction other than a parent refusing, willfully failing, or neglecting to perform any duty imposed by sections 120A.22 to 120A.30, 120A.35, 120A.41, and 123B.03 is guilty of a misdemeanor. All persons found guilty shall be punished for each offense by a fine of not more than $10 or by imprisonment for not more than ten days. All fines, when collected, shall be paid into the county treasury for the benefit of the school district in which the offense is committed.
120A.34 Violations; penalties.
Any person who fails or refuses to provide for instruction of a child of whom the person has legal custody, and who is required by section 120A.22, subdivision 5, to receive instruction, when notified so to do by a truant officer or other official, or any person who induces or attempts to induce any child unlawfully to be absent from school, or who knowingly harbors or employs, while school is in session, any child unlawfully absent from school, shall be guilty of a petty misdemeanor. Any fines collected shall be paid into the county treasury for the benefit of the school district in which the offense is committed.
120A.35 Absence from school for religious observance.
Reasonable efforts must be made by a school district to accommodate any pupil who wishes to be excused from a curricular activity for a religious observance.
120A.36 School attendance.
Attendance at a particular public school is a privilege not a right for a pupil.
120A.40 School calendar.
(a) Except for learning programs during summer, flexible learning year programs authorized under sections 124D.12 to 124D.127, and learning year programs under section 124D.128, a district must not commence an elementary or secondary school year before September 1, except as provided under paragraph (b). Days devoted to teachers' workshops may be held before September 1. Districts that enter into cooperative agreements are encouraged to adopt similar school calendars.
(b) A district may begin the school year on any day before September 1 to accommodate a construction or remodeling project of $400,000 or more affecting a district school facility.
HIST: Ex1959 c 71 art 7 s 12; 1967 c 890 s 2; 1974 c 326 s 15; 1978 c 764 s 89; 1985 c 51 s 1; 1987 c 258 s 7; 1990 c 562 art 8 s 33; 1991 c 265 art 9 s 57; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 16 s 13; 1998 c 397 art 6 s 117; art 11 s 3; 1998 c 398 art 6 s 29; 1999 c 241 art 9 s 2
120A.41 Length of school year; days of instruction.
A school board's annual school calendar must include at least three additional days of student instruction or staff development training related to implementing section 120B.031, subdivision 1, paragraph (f), beyond the number of days of student instruction the board formally adopted as its school calendar at the beginning of the 1996-1997 school year.
120A.415 Extended school calendar.
A school board that offers licensed kindergarten through grade 12 teachers the opportunity for more staff development training and additional salary under section 122A.40, subdivisions 7 and 7a, or 122A.41, subdivisions 4 and 4a, must adopt as its school calendar a total of 240 days of student instruction and staff development, of which the total number of staff development days equals the difference between the total number of days of student instruction and 240 days. A school board may schedule additional staff development days throughout the calendar year.
HIST: 1Sp2001 c 6 art 2 s 1
120A.42 Conduct of school on certain holidays.
The governing body of any district may contract with any of the teachers of the district for the conduct of schools, and may conduct schools, on either, or any, of the following holidays, provided that a clause to this effect is inserted in the teacher's contract: Martin Luther King's birthday, Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays, Columbus Day and Veterans' Day. On Martin Luther King's birthday, Washington's birthday, Lincoln's birthday, and Veterans' Day at least one hour of the school program must be devoted to a patriotic observance of the day.
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes