In all the years that I have been filing a letter of intent, this is the first year that I have ever had a bit of trouble.
When we first began homeschooling, the district in which we lived asked a zillion extra questions on their form. I knew what the law said we had to provide, and only answered those questions. The district had no problem with that – in fact when I handed in the form, they told me that they were in the process of revising their form and I didn’t need to give anything other than the basics. The next year their form had been modified.
A few years ago we moved to a new district. This district’s form looked like our old district’s first form, so I just completed the basic info required by law. Somebody didn’t like the lack of information. They took a guess and mailed me a copy after they’d amended my letter of intent. As you can see, I had crossed out “birthdate” and written “age.” I also wrote N/A for grade and school (my kids’ names have been blacked out, but you get the idea). The district people crossed out my “N/A” and took a guess:
In subsequent years I used HSLDA’s form, hoping that the fact that it came from an attorney would get the district to leave me alone. It worked.
This year there has been a staff change. When I handed in my letter of intent, the receptionist said, “Oh, this won’t work. You need to use our form.” I was genuinely puzzled.
Me: I’ve used this form for the past few years without any problem.
Her: We need your children’s grades level and school, and you haven’t included it here.
Me: My children don’t attend school. The reason I use this form is that your form asks for information that the law does not require me to provide.
Her: We need it so we know which school to send this information to.
Me: Please don’t do that. You’ll notice at the top that I added a sentence specifically stating that you are not to release this information to anyone including individual schools.
Her: The schools need to know who homeschoolers are so that they can sign up for art and music classes.
Me: You are not authorized to release my information to anyone; that includes schools. (smiling – still trying to be polite)
Her: You’ll have to use our form.
Me: Okay. Not a problem (said with a smile). Please date the form I gave you and make a note that you refused to accept it. I’ll send it to my attorney and have him contact the superintendent.
Her: (sigh) I suppose this will work.
It would be so easy to put the Request for Ancillary Services form on the back of the Letter of Intent. People who wanted those services could complete the form and a copy of that could be passed along to the appropriate school.
I wasn’t trying to be difficult. It’s just that after I filed the above-pictured form, we had a peddler show up on our doorstep trying to sell us curriculum. This person knew my name and my children’s names and ages. When pressed, she said that she’d gotten a list of of homeschoolers from the school. All the homeschool mailing lists we were on at that time still had our old address, and none of them had information about our kids’. It’s entirely plausible that the school gave out information (nobody else had that information). Not exactly legal, so I understand the district denying that it occurred.
- Know the law
- Be polite (you catch more flies with honey)
- The mention of HSLDA can help even if you don’t contact them
I liked the first district. All they did was alphabetize all the forms in a big 3-ring binder. If there were any truancy complaints, they checked the binder and dismissed any complaint if the family had filed a letter of intent. We never had a bit of trouble. Contrast that with our current district. Every homeschooler is entered into the district’s database. We get mailings encouraging us to enroll in online academy. We get envelopes full of papers about a variety of services the district provides. We get mailings reminding us to complete our letter of intent for the following year. I’ll bet the district could save a bundle on paper, envelopes, ink, and postage if they’d focus on the students who are enrolled!