Government Affairs Update, October 2014

Message from the New Director of Government Affairs

Greetings everyone! I am Karen Skelton, current vice president of Vahomeschoolers Board of Directors, and newly appointed Director of Government Affairs (GA). Parrish Mort, Executive Director, has been performing multiple roles this past year, including interim Director of GA.  After bringing me up to speed on the duties of GA Director, Parrish can now focus on her commitment  to provide leadership for the entire organization.

As your GA director, my role is to plan and direct VaHomeschoolers’ Legislative and School Division Programs. This means monitoring all bills in the General Assembly that may impact homeschooling, speaking/writing to legislators as needed, ensuring that all school divisions provide accurate information about the home instruction statute, and working to resolve any problems. Most of all, it means keeping you informed.  I will provide you with quarterly updates along with as-needed announcements. If you have any questions or comments about VaHomeschoolers’ Government Affairs, or interest in joining our team, you can contact me.  And now on to the quarterly update:

Meeting at Governor’s Office in Richmond

On October 8, three members of VaHomeschoolers Government Affairs team met with Governor McAuliffe’s Deputy Legislative Director, Jennifer Wicker. Ms. Wicker is also the lead on education issues in the governor’s policy office. Parrish Mort, Karen Skelton and our lobbyist Scott Price spent 50 minutes giving the background and mission of VaHomeschoolers, discussing homeschooling in general and the issues of sports access and religious exemption in particular.  Jennifer asked thoughtful questions and was open to hearing our perspective and to learning more about homeschooling. VaHomeschoolers benefits by having open lines of communication with local and state level government.

Legislative Monitoring Team for 2015 Welcomes New Members

Each year, Virginia’s General Assembly meets in January for 45 to 60 days, during which time new bills are introduced. VaHomeschoolers has a team of volunteers who look for and track bills that may be relevant to homeschooling.  When such bills are found, we can then take active measures — such as meeting with delegates — to ensure that our interests are taken into consideration. If you have ever wondered how the General Assembly works and would like to be a part of this annual event, please consider joining our team. The commitment is primarily in January and February, and all monitoring can be done from your computer at home. This may also be suitable for a mature high school student as a civics project. For more information about this role or to apply, go to our website here: //vahomeschoolers.org/volunteer/.  You may also send an email to our Volunteer Coordinator if you have more questions: Florence.Brooks.

Update on Hampton City Public Schools New NOI Form – UNRESOLVED

We reported last quarter (Aug 8) that Hampton City Public Schools set a new requirement: that all homeschooling families must use a new NOI form. After our repeated attempts to speak with the superintendent about the problems with the form, Hampton City’s school division attorney called VaHomeschoolers.  And although she did not acknowledge the problems with the form during our phone conversation, she did make several of our advised changes afterwards. The section on the form addressing home instruction no longer asks for the signature of a child 10 or older or that the form be notarized. The top of the form does still say, “If you intend to home school your pupil, you must complete the section for Home Instruction.”  This is inaccurate as there is no requirement in law that a form be used.  We now have feedback from Hampton residents who submitted their NOI as usual without using the new form, and were not asked to re-submit. If you experience any problems, please let us know.

We’re Working For You

Want to show your appreciation for VaHomeschoolers’ efforts on behalf of homeschoolers across the state? Make a donation! The generosity of our donors makes it possible for us to continue protecting homeschooling rights. Thank you for your support!

The Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers is a non-profit public charity with 501(c)(3) status; your donation is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. A financial statement is available from the Virginia Division of Consumer Affairs upon request.

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