The Florida Department of Education does not have jurisdiction over private schools. Legislative intent not to regulate, control, approve, or accredit private educational institutions, churches, their ministries, religious instruction, freedoms, or rites, is explicit. The owners of private elementary and secondary schools in Florida are solely responsible for all aspects of their educational programs, including:
- Certification, qualification, and training of teachers and administrators;
- Content and comprehensiveness of the curriculum;
- Duties, qualifications, and salaries of faculty and staff; tuition, class size, fee scales, pupil expenditures, and refund policies;
- Student assessment, academic credits, grades, and graduation or promotion requirements;
- Student regulation, dismissal, and expulsion policies; and
- Student records content, retention, transfer, and release.
Such issues as dress code, discipline, punishment and behavior, extra curricular activities, religious participation, parental responsibilities, and parental involvement in school activities varies from one private school to another.
All private schools are required under s. 1002.42, Florida Statutes, to register with the Department of Education and complete an annual survey each year. Each owner of a private school must submit fingerprints to FDLE for a criminal background check. Private schools must keep attendance records for compulsory attendance purposes and must also meet certain health and safety requirements. Finally, private schools that become defunct are required to transfer all permanent information included in student records to the public school district.
For additional information about private school requirements, please see the Detailed Requirements for Private Schools.