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Kentucky Compulsory Education Laws

In the interest of maintaining an educated populace (ultimately, one that generates economic activity), state laws require children within a certain age range to attend formal schooling, which may be private, religious, or home school instead of public school. Compulsory education laws, as they're called, typically hold parents or guardians responsible for a child's school attendance. By actively keeping their children out of school, parents may face fines and even jail time. Home schooling arrangements meet this requirement as long as they meet certain criteria set out by the state.

Kentucky Compulsory Education Laws at a Glance

The state of Kentucky requires children between the ages of six and 16 to attend school or receive a comparable education at home, with some exceptions. For instance, students who have graduated early or who have an approved physical or mental condition may opt out of the requirement. In addition, local school boards may extend the compulsory education age limit to 18.

When a student is truant (away from school without a valid excuse), parents are contacted and asked to ensure their student's attendance. But if such administrative measures fail to work, then the parent of guardian may face a $100 fine for the first offense (noncompliance with a warning) and a $250 fine for each subsequent offense.

Learn more about Kentucky's compulsory education laws, including exemptions, in the following chart.

Code Section 159.010, et seq.
Age at Which School Attendance is Required Between 6 and 16 (local school boards may adopt a limit of 18 years of age)
Exceptions to Attendance Requirements Graduate from approved 4 year high school; enrolled in private, parochial, or church school; child less than 7 years old and in regular attendance in a private kindergarten-nursery school; physical/mental condition prevents it; enrolled in state supported school for exceptional children
Home School Provisions -
Penalties on Parents for Noncompliance 1st offense: $100 fine; 2nd offense: $250 fine; subsequent: Class B misdemeanor

Note: State laws are always subject to change, often through the passage of new laws or decisions from appellate courts. You may want to contact a Kentucky education attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Kentucky Home School Requirements

Kentucky parents are free to homeschool their children if they follow certain guidelines meant to ensure an adequate curriculum and instruction. Parents of homeschooled children must notify the superintendent of their decision; track and record their child's progress; keep accurate attendance records; and teach subjects that will "educate children to be intelligent citizens." See the official Kentucky Home School Information Packet (PDF) for more details.

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