Meggan and her four younger siblings were home-schooled by Mrs. Stone, who was a certified teacher. During Meggan's twelfth grade, she was dual-enrolled in the Ankeny District so she could participate in the high school choir program. Meggan was counted as one-tenth of one pupil as a resident pupil receiving competent private instruction under dual enrollment.
Meggan applied to take two courses at DMACC under the PSEO Act during the fall semester of 1999-2000. She was taking five credit courses at that time, four at home, and one at Ankeny High School. Meggan's application was denied, based upon a Department of Education Declaratory Ruling (#44), which concluded that dual-enrolled students were not eligible [5 D.o.E. App. Dec. 33(1993)]. Ankeny High School did not retain Meggan's application from the fall of 1999. For the spring semester of 1999-2000, Meggan again applied. The high school counselor reviewed Meggan's transcript and DMACC's catalog with her and advised Meggan that the two courses were eligible courses under the Act. He told Meggan that the final step would be to obtain the principal's approve of her application.
The principal denied Meggan's application and on March 8, 2000, Mr. Stone requested that the Board of Directors consider the Stones' request. Mrs. Stone made a brief presentation at the board meeting. On April 10, 2000, the board denied the request to pay for post-second enrollment for home-schooled students.
This appeal requested the State Board of Education to overrule Declaratory Ruling #44. The PSEO Act provides that eligible public and accredited private high school students may take college courses with tuition reimbursement from the local school district of up to $250 per course. In 1991, the Legislature enacted Iowa Code chapter 299A, "Private Instruction," which allowed home-school students to receive private instruction by a licensed practitioner. Section 299A.8 of the Iowa Code provides that any child dual-enrolled shall be permitted to participate in any academic activity in the district. 281 IAC 31.5(2) states a dual-enrolled student may participate in academic or instruction programs of a district of the same basis an any regularly-enrolled child.
The language of the statues [261C.3(2), 299A.8] when read together include dual-enrolled students as "eligible pupils" under the Act. Meggan was a "pupil classified by the board of directors of a school district as a twelfth grade pupil."261C.2(1999).
Although the District was not unreasonable in relying on Declaratory Ruling #44, it would be subject to reversal if it relied on it in the future.