California Private School Affidavit Form Sample
Make a copy of this form and then go online to fill out a similar form for your California homeschool. The new form for the next school year will be available on or about October 1st. Though it is often available before October 1st, it is recommended that you do not complete or send it in until October 1st, and DO complete it on or by October 15th. If you decide to homeschool later in the school year, you may also send it on at that time, until the state takes the affidavit off its site during the summer vacation months. Even if you file for the first time in, say, March, you must file again the October of the same year if you will be continuing to homeschool.
Private School Affidavit Form (The PSA Form)
The California Department of Education makes the PSA form available from about October 1 (or earlier) through May every year. This link will probably be “dead” over the summer. Read the instructions below and look at the sample before attempting to fill it out. Some questions are trickier than others, and you will need to think about how you will answer some ahead of time.
What if you got an error message when you filed?
I called the CA DOE and talked to George who said to do one of these things:
If you DID print out a copy of your affidavit, you have the confirmation number at the top of the document. That is all you need for “proof” that you filed. The DOE has your PSA in their database.
If you didn’t print it out, but remember or wrote down the confirmation number and want a copy, send them your confirmation number and where to send the printed copy.
If you didn’t print it out, and don’t recall any confirmation number, you may also ask for a copy, but you must CAREFULLY spell out the name of your “School” and its address. If you make any differences from your PSA, they won’t be able to find it in the database.
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How to Start a Private School in Your Home
In California, families can legally homeschool their children by establishing a private school in their home and complying with the private school requirements of the California Education Code. Parents who have established a home-based private school cannot be prosecuted for truancy.
Forming Your Own California Private School
5 items must be placed in a special file folder or binder to make your home into a private school in California. You then file the Private School Affidavit in early October to inform the State Department of California Department of Education that you have formed your private school by creating this set of documents.
This page is not intended to be legal advice and is distributed for information purposes only. Consult a lawyer, such as the HSC Legal Team, if you have special circumstances precluding following these directions.
The provisions of Education Code Section 48222 provide for the exception of children from public school by reason of being instructed in a private full-time school.
The PSA Affidavit
Excemptions under this section are valid only after verification by the attendance supervisor of the district that the private school has complied with the provisions of Education Code Section 33190 requiring the annual filing by the “owner or other head of a private school” of an affidavit of prescribed information with the Superintendent of Public Instruction. This affidavit does not act as a license. The Department of Education does not license, evaluate, recognize, approve, or endorse any private school course. The affidavit is necessary to effect public exemption from other schools and for the school to be eligible to receive the appropriate pupil records from pupil last school of attendance.
What if you can’t get an affidavit?
Submit written requests to:Private Schools Affidavit
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Fourth Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
I recommend that you use the web-based application even if you have to borrow a friend’s access or use a public terminal such as at a library or cybercafe.
It would probaby be best NOT to file on October 1st, the first day of filing, nor on October 15th, the deadline, as the server could get too much traffic. File instead between October 2 and 14, and at an “odd” hour such as early in the morning or late at night.
Debbie Schwarzer, HSC.
The State Of California now DOES agree that our family use of the Private School Affidavit is legal. For the current state position on this, see questions 3 and 4 on this CDE page.
Should you wish to double check this information, visit the HSC page: Homeschooling Legally and Confidently.
What if you can’t print it out?
It is the information on the form that is wanted. You may carefully hand write or type it out (recommended) it out.
Statement/Letters-in-Lieu must be postmarked no earlier than October 1st. The certification statement from the Private School Affidavit is available for your reference. Private schools filing a statement in lieu of the affidavit are not required to use this specific wording. However, an acceptable certification makes substantially the same statement.
Filling out the PSA Affidavit
The CDE has put up an PSA form online with the exact same questions in a web-based form that is formatted only slightly differently. My instructions below would not change. Do NOT under any circumstances use an affidavit from a previous year as it will not be valid for the coming year.
The PSA does not need to be mailed in this year. It requires an electronic signature instead. Do make two printed copies for yourself, and keep in your “homeschool” folder.”
Some parts always bring forth questions. Here’s the reasoning behind some of the data provided:
Is this a new school?
If you have been homeschooling since birth, so to speak, but this is the first year you have been required to fill out the PSA, select the “Yes” radio button.
If your school has six or more students, have you filed an affidavit in the past?
What if you have less than 6 children but did file in the past? Put ‘No,” as the first phrase disqualifies you.
Present Name of School
A fun thing to do in September is to decide on a name for your school. I have written another article about doing this. You will mostly use the name in formal documents such as the PSA, so select one that sounds “professional.”
For those in hiding (seriously, from an abuser or in the Victims Witness program), the street address of the school and the mailing address can be different. You can use a P.O. Box for the mailing address, but then use for the street address some public place where you regularly conduct school. Do you go to your local library a lot? Use that. A church basement? Use that. The woman with whom I (Debbie) spoke said that the CDE does not try to verify these school addresses.
HSC Legal Team
Type of School
- Put this even if you have all boys or all girls. You may decide to form co-operative classes in your home with children of both genders. You could have more children. This leaves the option open.
- Day only
- Yes, I know your children are most likely with you over night. Selecting “Residential boarding only” or “both” could open you up for a demand for inspection not required by day schools.
- This is for the grades OFFERED by your school, not the grade level work actually attempted by your children, so put the grade your child would be in because of his or her age and birth date. Do NOT offer kindergarten; regulations for kindergartens are more detailed than those for private elementary and secondary schools, and marking this box will open you up to additional bureaucratic regulation. Since kindergarten is not compulsory, it is not necessary to offer it even if you have kindergarten-aged children. You should also NOT say that you operate a preschool, because of strict licensing and other regulations.
High School Diploma Offered
- Even if you just have small children, some day you may want to give them a diploma, so sure, YES, you offer one!
Classification of School
- Select “Non-religious” even if you are. The “Church-affiliated” option would only be for churches running a private school. Only someone starting up a cottage school under church auspices would check “Religious.”
Range of students’ ages
- Put current ages of your youngest (6 by December 2) and oldest child (under 18 by December 2) in the homeschool. If you are homeschooling only one child, put their age in both fields, as the form will bounce if you put the age in only one field.
Enrollment on a single date
- Note that the form even says that you do not need to include any preschoolers. As Kindergarten is also not required in California, feel free to not include any child who will not be 6 by or on October 1 in your count. Do not include any teenager who turns 18 on or by October 1 or earlier, even if they will be concluding their high school studies at home.
- Put the number of children you have at each grade level. In most circumstances, you would put your children according to their ages. Do not be tempted to put bright kids ahead or slow kids on non-standard grade levels. This isn’t a transcript. You may also be “ungraded” and just lump the number of your children into “Ungraded Elementary” or “Ungraded Secondary.”
Number of School Staff
- I advise you to put one each in “Full-Time Teachers” and “Administrators.” You do not need to discuss who does which job with your spouse. They are only asking for numbers, and this is a reasonable number of people to run a private school. Even if all sorts of relatives, friends and neighbors may pitch in and help with your children’s education, it is not necessary nor advisable to list them here. If you are a single parent, put “1” in the “Full time Teachers” block.
Directors and Principal Officers
- Decide which parent is most tolerant of filling out forms and doing the paper work. Let them be the “Director” of your private school. While there is room to list two directors, it is only necessary to list one.
- The attendance records required by Education Code Section 48222 and the records of courses of study, names, addresses, and educational qualifications of the faculty, as required by subdivisions (f)(2) and (3) of Education Code Section 33190, are maintained by the person and at the place listed here and are true and accurate.
- Who will be keeping the records? Required records include immunization records, course of study for each child, and a list of educational qualifications of teachers, as well as attendance records. You need only record days absent. You may wish to send for your child’s “Cumulative Folder” from their last school. You probably keep your own old transcripts and the children’s immunizations records anyways. If you have no faith in immunizations, you need to get a Waiver of Health Examination for School Entry available here online. More information on this below.
- Neither you nor your children need to meet any special health requirements in order to homeschool. Health requirements are required for those taking in the children of others on a regular, paying basis.
Tax Status of School
- Check only “None of the above.” There is no way you can claim any of these tax exemptions for any of the expenses associated with homeschooling your own children.
Certified Nonpublic, Nonsectarian School
No. You do not need to be “certified” to homeschool your own children. While the last two adjectives may be true, the first is not true. So “No.”
Check all boxes.
- No, you do not need concern yourself with city ordinances as long as you are only educating your own children in your home.
- Do plan how you will safely store your children’s records for many years to come.
- I advise you to make at least two copies of the final document: one to store away safely in a fire-proof box, and the other to be available to show when needed. Keep copies for 3 years.
- You understand that filing the PSA does not mean your homeschool is accredited.
- You only need to show a background check for non-family members you employ (pay) to instruct your children in your home.
This is a legal document. You would be committing perjury should you lie on it. The information should be true, accurate, and complete. The advice here on how to answer some questions comes from legal advisors to HSC.
What is an “R4” and is it different from a “PSA?”
The Private School Affidavit (PSA) used to be in print form, and, like most forms, had a form number printed at the bottom. The state labeled this their “R4” form. Older homeschool families still refer to the R4. They are the same thing. Probably the term “R4” will fade away.
Do I need to file an PSA if we intend to purchase the services of a distance learning program?
Yes, if the program’s headquarters is in another state. Yes, if you are just purchasing curriculum. No, if the school is located in the State Of California and your children are considered enrolled in that school. Check with the program. Some are specifically set up as “Private School Satellite Programs” for homeschool families in California and even though headquartered out of state, have their PSA on file in California. Clonlara is an example of a program that does this.
When is the PSA due to be turned in? What if I miss that date?
The PSA must be postmarked no later than October 15th each school year your decide to homeschool. If you decide to homeschool after October 15th, it is OK to acquire and turn in the form at any time, except the summer, when the form for the new school year is not available. You should do this within two weeks of taking your child out of school to avoid truancy accusations. I was told to file between October 1st and 15th as this is when all the big private schools file. The state then has so many PSA’s to handle, yours is not likely to be examined too closely. [The School of Sardines strategy.]
I have a teaching credential. Do I need to file an PSA?
Is your credential from the state of California? Is it for the grades your children are in? If you answer “yes” to both these questions, you may homeschool under the “Tutor Provision” and do not need to file the PSA. Be aware that by high school level you will most likely have to file the PSA, as most high school credentials are subject-specific rather than grade-specific.
A friend has a teaching credential and has agreed to tutor our children. Do I need to file an PSA?
Yes, file the PSA, then hire your friend as an instructor in your private school. That is the easiest way. You could hire the friend even if she didn’t have a credential. Homeschooling families regularly outsource for a wide variety of subjects they can’t easily do at home. (For example, piano lessons, soccer coaching, computer camp, etc. Hiring a tutor for the 3 Rs is the same.) Some teachers do form an independent study service if they plan on tutoring a large number of students as a home business. See For Teachers Who Want to Tutor.
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There is another website claiming to represent a state association that I shall not deem to link. It is listed by some homeschooling sites unfamiliar with California homeschooling. It says the PSA is not legal, which is contrary to the statements of all three California homeschool associations and even HSLDA. Should you run into this site, ignore it. It has no credibility from the majority of California homeschoolers, religious or secular.