Religious and Independent Schools

New Schools

Anyone planning to open a new school should first inform the superintendent of schools of the district in which the school will be located of the plan to establish a school and indicate the intended opening date. Notification of the public school superintendent is essential because each public school district has an obligation to all resident students to see that they are provided with an adequate educational program. Before the new school opens, the superintendent of schools of the district in which the new school is located should be invited to visit the facility. An additional visit is recommended once the school is in operation. It is also recommended that the administrator of the new school make every effort to develop good relations with district officials. Both the school and students will benefit from a cordial and cooperative relationship.

The superintendent of schools of the district in which the school is located should be provided with the following:

  • Assurance that the building is a safe place for children to be. The best evidence of this comes from fire inspection reports or, in New York City, a certificate of occupancy issued by the Department of Buildings.
  • A list of the names of pupils from the district who will be attending the nonpublic school and the names of other districts in which other pupils reside. These lists will provide data to the district so that it can arrange to provide the services to which those pupils are entitled.
  • A copy of the school calendar for the coming year.
  • A list of the grade levels and the total enrollment at each grade level.
  • A list of the courses and subjects which will be taught at each grade level in school.
  • A description of the testing program. State-mandated tests should be part of the total program to evaluate pupils. In addition, every school is encouraged to use nationally-normed standardized tests. These test results provide the most objective data on pupil achievement.

The new school should show that it plans to instruct pupils in required subjects and during time periods sufficient to achieve results comparable to those of the public school. The subjects are listed in the section on Program Requirements. Public schools, in order to qualify for a maximum of State aid, are in session for at least 180 days each school year. While this requirement is not binding on nonpublic schools, the length of the school year and school day in a nonpublic school should approximate that of the public school. If the new school enrolls pupils from outside the district in which the school is located, the nonpublic school administrator should provide the superintendent of schools of each of the districts which have pupils enrolled in the school with the following:

  • Written notification that the new school is opening.
  • A list of the names of pupils from the district who are enrolled in the school.
  • A copy of the school calendar for the coming year.

Based on the information received from the new nonpublic school and as a result of the on-site visit, if the superintendent ascertains that the new nonpublic school is providing substantially equivalent instruction, the superintendent should so notify the board in writing and send a copy to the nonpublic school.

If the information received from the nonpublic school is not satisfactory, the superintendent should discuss the deficiencies with the administrator and ascertain whether or not these deficiencies can be overcome in a reasonable amount of time. They should agree on a schedule for arriving at a satisfactory solution. Since time is required to put into place all aspects of an educational program, it is recommended that a continuing relationship be maintained by public and nonpublic school officials.

The most objective way to ascertain student progress is through standardized test results. It is recommended that the nonpublic school administrator share such results with the superintendent during the first two or three years of the school's existence.

It is further recommended that the administrator of a new school inform the Office of Nonpublic Schools of its opening and provide some basic information. The Office will then have the school put on the State Education Department's mailing list so that information regarding issues and events affecting the school will be sent directly to it. The Office of Nonpublic Schools is a source of information and counsel, acting as a liaison between other offices in the State Education Department and all nonpublic schools of New York State.

Last Updated: February 3, 2012