Montana Compulsory Education Laws

Children of a certain age range are required to attend school according to compulsory education laws in every state. But parents always have the choice of which type of school is right for their child, whether it's public, private, religious, or home school. Different from truancy laws, which are meant to keep enrolled kids from skipping school, compulsory education laws are targeted toward the parents.

If a parent fails or refuses to enroll their child in school, they may be hit with fines or other sanctions, even jail in some states. Parents who choose to home school their child must provide a similar curriculum (with similar time commitments) of a public school program.

Montana Compulsory Education Laws at a Glance

Montana requires children ages seven through 16 (or having finished the eighth grade) to attend school. Noncompliance can result in fines and jail if the fines are not paid.

Learn more about compulsory education laws in Montana, including exemptions and home school requirements, in the following chart.

Code Section 20-5-102, et seq.
Age at Which School Attendance is Required Between 7 and the later of attaining 16 or finishing 8th grade
Exceptions to Attendance Requirements Enrolled in another district or state; supervised correspondence or home study; excused by district judge or board of trustees; enrolled in nonpublic or home school
Non-Public and Home School Requirements
  • Shall maintain records on pupil attendance and disease immunization and make the records available to the county superintendent of schools on request;
  • Shall provide at least the minimum aggregate hours of pupil instruction in accordance with [statutory public school requirements];
  • Must be housed in a building that complies with applicable local health and safety regulations;
  • Shall provide an organized course of study that includes instruction in the subjects required of
    public schools as a basic instructional program; and
  • In the case of home schools, shall notify the county superintendent of schools, of the county in which the home school is located, in each school fiscal year of the student's attendance at the school.
Rights and Responsibilities of Parents with Homeschooled Children
  • The educational philosophy of the home school;
  • The selection of instructional materials, curriculum, and textbooks;
  • The time, place, and method of instruction; and
  • The evaluation of the home school instruction.
Penalties on Parents for Noncompliance Fine of $5 to $20; if parent refuses to pay he shall be imprisoned in county jail 10 to 30 days

Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the enactment of new legislation, decisions from higher courts, and other means. You may want to contact a Montana education law attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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