Starting a School
Please read the Manual for New Administrators of Nonpublic Schools.
As a first step in starting a new nonpublic school, we recommend that you inform the superintendent of schools in the district in which the school is to be located of your intention to establish a school. When plans are firm, you or the administrator of the new school should meet with the local superintendent of schools and provide the following items:
- a certificate of occupancy for use as a school, health inspection report or fire inspection report, depending on local requirements
- a copy of the school calendar for the coming year;
- the enrollment at each grade level;
- the names and addresses of students who will be attending the school;
- a list of the courses and subjects which will be offered in the school; and
- a description of the testing program which will be administered by the school.
State law requires all schools to maintain attendance and health records. Since attendance registers are legal documents, they should be carefully maintained and retained in the school.
Each nonpublic school must provide a program of physical education similar to that of the public school of the district in which the child resides. Part 135 of Commissioner’s Regulations covers the area of health and physical education. This is another topic for discussion with your local superintendent of schools.
Once major decisions have been made and your plans are in the final stage, please complete the form below and return it to:
NYS Education Department
Office of Nonpublic School Services
Room 876 EBA
Albany, NY 12234
Quick links to important categories of information contained on this page:
- Forming an Education Corporation and Commissioner Consent
- Basic Educational Data System (BEDS) Number
- State Education Department Reference File (SEDREF)
- High School Registration
- Funding Opportunities
- Handbooks, Manuals, and Guidelines
The New York State Education Department, under the Board of Regents, has oversight for incorporating nonpublic schools as not-for-profit Education Corporations. Information on submitting a petition for a Provisional Charter or Absolute Charter, amendments to both types of Charters, and other related information can be found on the NYS Education Department’s Office of Counsel’s website here: http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/charters/
While all the information is important and those interested are encouraged to read information connected to each link, Sample Forms, provides petition prototypes for submitting Provisional and Absolute Charters, Charter amendments, Provisional Charter extension, and related issues. Petitions must follow the format(s) provided.
Please consult the Questions and Answersdocument which explain where to send petitions, costs, and additional important information.
It is important to specifically describe the purpose for the incorporation in the petition. The age of the students to be served, including the grades to be operated, must be included, and the type of education that will be provided, i.e. typically developing students, students with special needs, etc.
In order to recommend that the Board of Regents grant the Education Corporation, i.e. Provisional or Absolute Charter, that is being requested and subsequent amendments and/or extensions, the New York State Education Department’s Office of Nonpublic School Services, also referred to as the “program office”, requires that documentation from the “21 Item Checklist” be submitted. The address of where to submit the materials can be found on the top of the Checklist.
You may also wish to consult the following additional important resources on incorporations:
- Education Law and Rules of the Board of Regents Relating to Education Corporations
- Selected Sections of the Rules of the Board of Regents pertaining to charters and incorporations
Extension of Provisional Charter
Typically, Provisional Charters are issued for a three year period, but may range for one year to a maximum (by law) of five years. Information and sample forms can be found under “Forming an Education Corporation” discussed above.
Program office requirements for recommending that an extension to a Provisional Charter (if there are no changes to the most recently issued Charter) be granted by the Board of Regents are:
- Current Fire Inspection Report by the Code Enforcement Official - municipality in which the nonpublic school is located;
- a list of the number of students at each grade level the corporation is authorized to operate;
- current staff and their qualifications; and
- the most current audited financial statement for the corporation.
Amendments to Provisional and Absolute Charters
A petition to amend a Charter must be submitted to the Office of Counsel if the Education Corporation seeks to modify its Charter. Information and sample forms can be found under “Forming an Education Corporation” discussed above. A change in the location of the school or a change in the grade levels to be offered, including the addition of prekindergarten or after-school programming, etc., are the most common types of amendments.
Program office requirements for recommending that an amendment be adopted by the Board of Regents are:
- Change of location – Certificate of Occupancy and Fire Inspection Report by the Code Enforcement Official - municipality in which the nonpublic school is located.
- Addition of grades – Curriculum guidelines for proposed additional grades; qualifications of additional staff; description of floor plans to serve additional students; and any other items from the “21 Item Checklist” that are pertinent.
- Other amendments – Program related materials from the “21 Item Checklist” that are applicable to the changes noted in the amendment.
A nonpublic school which is incorporated under the Board of Regents as an Education Corporation with a Provisional Charter, and, typically, has extended its Provisional Charter at least once, and can document that it operates a sound educational program, has class enrollment at every grade level that it is authorized to operate, and can demonstrate fiscal solvency, may wish to be considered for the Absolute Charter. An Absolute Charter is an Education Corporation in its final stage and does not need to be extended. Details on the program requirements required for recommending that an Absolute Charter be granted by the Board of Regents can be found at the link below:
In addition to the documentation required in the Absolute Charter document, please also submit documentation of the items delineated on the "21 Item Checklist."
Commissioner’s Consent to Nonpublic Schools, Nursery Schools, Preschools, and Related Entities Seeking Incorporations under the New York State Department of State
Those seeking to incorporate under the New York State Department of State must seek and obtain the Commissioner’s Consent from the State Education Department where the proposed corporation has educational purposes and/or uses terms associated with education in its name, such as school, academy, nursery school, preschool, etc. Similarly, filing amendments to existing corporations under the Department of State must also obtain Commissioner’s Consent. Information, including where to send the request forms and the associated fee, can be obtained on the New York State Education Department’s Office of Counsel’s website at: http://www.counsel.nysed.gov/consents.html
In order to recommended that Commissioner’s Consent be granted, the New York State Education Department’s Office of Nonpublic School Services requires that documentation from the "21 Item Checklist" be submitted directly to that office. The address of where to submit the information, and contact information for questions, can be found on the Checklist.
Upon opening a nonpublic school, you may apply for a Basic Educational Data System (BEDS) Number through the State Education Department Office of Information and Reporting Services (IRS). New schools must complete an initial addendum, as well as the BEDS Report of Nonpublic Schools. In subsequent years, schools submit only the BEDS Report, which is due the last Friday of October. The Office of Information and Reporting Services will assign a BEDS code number to schools, which meet predetermined criteria, including operation of any or all grades from kindergarten through 12. The BEDS number, which serves as a means of identification, is based on the nonpublic school's public school district of location and reflects its affiliation, if any, with a State agency or a religious group. Once the BEDS number, or code, has been issued, the school is considered “recognized” by the State Education Department and the school and its students become eligible to apply for whatever services and/or funds to which they are entitled. Online submission of the BEDS Report is the preferred method for delivery, however, for the immediate future the Department will also continue to accept and process paper submissions. Information from these reports is useful in determining the status and educational needs of students in the schools of New York State. It is also the basis for allocation of aid under Chapter 2 and is invaluable for planning purposes.
Instructions for completing the BEDS Report of Nonpublic Schools, the BEDS Report on Nonpublic Schools, and the BEDS Addendum for schools applying for a BEDS code for may be found at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/irs/beds/
Questions about the BEDS forms should be addressed to email@example.com.
The SEDREF portal provides a great deal of information about different types of schools in New York State. To access information about a school, follow the directions of placing a "percentage, i.e., %, sign" after the name of the school (do not leave any spaces between the words). SEDREF may be accessed at: http://portal.nysed.gov/portal/pls/pref/SED.sed_inst_qry_vw$.startup
Secondary schools which are registered are admitted to the University of the State of New York and so granted the privilege of administering Regents examinations and awarding Regents diplomas. Schools containing grades 9 to 12 may apply for registration once they have a class of students which started in grade 9 and has continued to grade 12. They must currently have students in each grade 9 through 12. The deadline for submitting applications for 2013-2014 school year registration is Monday, January 6, 2014.
Please see (link: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/applicationnpssecschreg/) for more information and the application form.
The following opportunities are available for eligible nonpublic schools in New York State:
- Academic Intervention for Nonpublic Schools (AIS)
- Comprehensive Attendance Program (CAP)
- Learning Technology Grant Program (LTG)
- Mandated Services Aid (MSA)
For more information about funding, please visit: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/nonpub/fundingopportunities/
Please reference the handbooks, manuals, and guidelines, including:
- Manual for New Administrators of Nonpublic Schools
- Handbook on Services to Pupils Attending Nonpublic Schools
- Guidelines for Determining Equivalency of Instruction in Nonpublic Schools
- Summer School Handbook