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Filing a PSA

The information in these pages has been compiled from various sources including newsletters, magazines and the internet. It is not necessarily a complete list of resources, programs or contacts, and it is not intended to be legal advice. 
What is a PSA and why do I need to file one?
Some families choose to homeschool by creating and running their own home based private school. To establish a private school, you will need someone to serve as teacher/facilitator, at least one student, a course of study and you will need to keep some basic records. Once you establish your private school, you must file a Private School Affidavit (PSA) with the California Department of Education.  
In simple terms, the PSA is a statistical tool used by the state to determine how many private schools exist in California and how many students and teachers are in each. It is not a license to operate a school or an approval from the state to run your school. The state asks ALL private schools to submit this form after students have enrolled in the school. Schools with fewer than six students will not be listed in the online database and will not recieve a CDE issued number.  
California requires private school teachers be "qualified to teach", but it does not require that they hold a teaching credential. California does not specify a minimum number of students required to establish a private school. Your school may have one teacher and one student if you so choose. California does not require private schools to use a state approved curriculum. Schools are required to "offer" the list of courses specified in the law (see below). California does not require standardized testing for private schools.
Establishing your own school is just one alternative to traditional public school. If you would rather look into other alternatives, head back to our Get Started page for information.

Where do I get the PSA?

The state provides a form commonly referred to as the Private School Affidavit (PSA). It is available online at the CDE web site beginning October 1st. SBHN volunteers offer printable line-by-line instructions for answering the questions on the form PSA Instructions

When do I file?   
The Private School Affidavit should be filed between October 1 and 15 each school year. If your school is established after that date, file the form as soon as students are enrolled.

What about curriculum?  
Private schools must OFFER the courses prescribed in California Education Code to their students. For a complete list of courses that must be offered, refer CA Ed Code Sections 51210-1251220-2951745-49.

What if I have more questions? 
Our hand-out for private schools goes into more details.
 If you have questions or encounter problems, contact your local support group for advice or check with the California Homeschool Network or Homeschool Association of California
The California Department of Education maintains a list of frequently asked questions on their website, but their section on "school at home" is very confusing. Check with your local or state support group instead.
Public school personnel are not well versed in private school law. You are likely to get their opinions rather than the actual law, so check with your local or state support group instead.   

What records do I have to keep?

Although private schools are not required to submit records to the state, they are required to keep certain records in their files. For a complete list, see California Education Code Section 33190.
The records a private school must keep on file include:
PSA -A copy of the completed Private School Affidavit that you submitted to the state.
Attendance Records -Indicating every absence of a half day or more. Sample.
Faculty qualifications and addresses -Teachers need not hold credentials, but must be "capable of teaching". Sample.
Annual course of study -You may create your own curriculum, or use existing tools such as the California Content Standards and Frameworks or The World Book Typical Course of Study.
Health Forms -California law also requires all schools, including private schools, keep health examination and immunization records for each student. The form for health examination is pm171a and the exemption is pm171b.  CDP form pm286 also known as the Blue Card is the required immunization form. More information and forms are available on the Shots For School website. Students in home-based private schools are exempt from mandatory immunizations, but your school is still required to keep copies of health records for your students. 
Student Information -including the following:
    1) Legal name of student.
    2) Date, place and verification of birth.
    3) Sex of pupil. 
    4) Name and address of parent of minor pupil. 
    5) Entering and leaving date of each school year.
    6) Subjects taken during each year. 
    7) Marks, grades or credits if given.
    8) Date of high school graduation or CHSPE, GED equivalent. 
You may also be told that you are required to have an FBI criminal background/fingerprint check, an earthquake and fire inspections, a TB test, and a business license to operate your private school. Parents working exclusively with their own children are not required to undergo FBI criminal background checks. Assemblies with fewer than 50 students are not required to undergo earthquake or fire  inspections. Whether or not you need a TB test or business license to work with your own children exclusively in your own home is subject to interpretation. Some homeschoolers believe they are exempt from these requirements because they are not "employees" and are not conducting a "business". You should talk with your local or state support group about these if you are concerned.