PRIVATE SCHOOL AFFIDAVIT
2020/2021 SCHOOL YEAR
Line-by-Line Instructions for the Private School Affidavit
There is a new form available as of May of 2020. Here are the highlights of the new application:
The New PSA Application features the following enhancements:
A new and improved multistage filing interface.
Readily available filing instructions and on-screen field help.
Ability to review and edit your affidavit before filing.
Ability to edit, view, and print a filed affidavit.
Improved data validations, including the prevention of duplicate filings.
Updates to the Affidavit Filing Process
Anyone who filed an affidavit in the prior year will now have the ability to prefill their current year affidavit with select information from the prior year’s affidavit. Previously this feature was only available to private schools with more than five students.
New confirmation codes will be issued to anyone who filed an affidavit in the 2019–20 and 2018–19 school years. These new confirmation codes will be your key to access and/or file your 2019–20 affidavit, as well as file your 2020–21 affidavit. You will no longer need a password to access the PSA application.
The form is at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/rq/affidavit.asp .
We've included some helpful hints in filling out the form.
There is no obligation to update the information if it changes after you file, although the new enhancements give you the ability to do so if you choose.
Your affidavit needs to be true as of the date you are filing it (and you are signing it under penalty of perjury, so take this obligation seriously). If for any reason, the information in the filed affidavit ceases to be true at any point during the school year, you do NOT need to update it. So if, for example, you move, or you add or drop children from your school, or your school even stops operating, you do not need to report anything to the CDE. If you file an affidavit the following school year, you would just need to make sure that the affidavit you file at that time is true as of the date you file it. However, if you realize after filing that your affidavit was not correct at the time of filing and that you need to make changes, you can do so by using your confirmation code to access it online.
You are welcome to contact the CDE with questions
If you have questions about whether and how to file the affidavit, contact the CDE (916-445-7331). If you do, we encourage you to approach all dealings with them in a business-like way.
You might wish to post your questions first to the HSC community since there is a good chance someone will know the answer. Ask on our Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/HomeSchoolCA/). You may also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you really operate a full-time private school?
At the beginning of the form, you're asked to affirm the statement that: To begin the affidavit filing process, indicate whether or not the school is a full-time private school and meets the exemptions as set forth in EC Section 48222. Only schools that can affirm this should be filing private school affidavits. See the discussion under item 51 below. If you are only providing "enrichment" at this time while your child attends another school that is taking primary responsibility for your child's education, do not file. If you're unsure whether your child will last in the school/charter program he or she is in now and you may wish to withdraw your child at some later time to homeschool, do not file now. The CDE will accept filings of affidavits throughout the school year for newly-formed schools, and we have no reason to think that people who file at a later time will, absent other factors (such as unresolved truancy problems with the former school), be subject to any greater scrutiny than schools that file during the October filing period.
You will then be asked if you filed a PSA last school year and if the answer is yes, you will then enter your code. If not, you are taken straight to the form.
1. Name of School
Enter the name you have chosen for your school. Any name you choose is permissible, although you may wish to use a name that is business-like and professional. "Cutesy" names may draw attention or unwarranted scrutiny to your school. This name should be used on all correspondence concerning the school. We strongly recommend that you either purchase printed letterhead and envelopes or prepare letterhead on your computer for you to use in correspondence on school matters. You need not worry about trademark issues or whether your name is unique unless you plan to operate it as a business; seek competent legal advice if you do.
2. CDS-Assigned Code
If your school had previously been assigned a CDE code enter it, or, it may be populated for you if you filed last year.
Select the county where your school is located from a drop-down menu.
4. Public school district in which school is located
It is necessary to list the public school district in which your private school is located. Choose from the drop-down menu after selecting your county. If you have both elementary age and high school-age children and your public elementary and high schools are in different districts, the CDE says to choose the district which the majority of the private school's children would attend. If you have equal numbers of children in each, just pick one. They confirmed that your filing is valid for the grades in your school that would be covered by the district you did not choose.
5. Type of School
Choose one from the choices given: coeducational (you offer to teach both boys and girls), boys only or girls only. We generally recommend that you select coeducational, only because you never know how circumstances in your life might change.
6. School Accommodations
Even though your children sleep there, mark "Day Only." Residential Boarding Schools have complex requirements.
7. Does the school provide special education services?
We suggest that you check "no" to this question, even if one of your children has learning issues or had an IEP when in public school.
8. High School Diploma Offered
If you offer secondary education (grades 7 - 12), it is advisable to check "yes". There is nothing in the California statutes that prevents a home-based private school from issuing a diploma.
9 & 10. Low Grade/High Grade
You are to select, from a drop-down menu, the lowest and highest grades OFFERED by your school, not the grades actually attended by your children. Since kindergarten is not compulsory, it is not necessary to offer it even if you have age-appropriate children. For example, you may choose to offer grades 1 - 12 or grades 1 - 6 even if you only have one child in the 3rd grade.
11. Classification of school
Choose either "Non-Religious" or "Religious." If you choose "Religious," you have to pick the religion from a drop-down menu. We recommend you choose non-religious even if religion is important to you. Many church affiliates must meet additional requirements imposed by their churches.
12. Street Address
California law requires you to provide a street address in California (as opposed to a P.O. box) where your school conducts business. For most people, this will be your home address, and we recommend that you use that. If there is some reason why you feel you can't use your home address (e.g. you have concerns about personal security, or you travel extensively), please contact the HSC legal team. It might be better, in such a case, for you to join a private satellite program instead of forming your own school.
13, 14, 15, 16. City, State, Zip, Zip4
17, 18, 16, 20, 21. Mailing Address
(if different from the street address) - Enter the mailing street address, city, state, zip, and zip4.
A phone number is necessary for your school.
23. School Fax Number
A fax number is optional. You can skip this question if desired.
24. Primary E-mail
The CDE uses the e-mail to send you a confirmation of your filing. As the CDE no longer requires you to submit a physical copy of the affidavit, this e-mail confirmation replaces the signed post office receipt as confirmation of your submission. When you provide an e-mail address, you are welcome to create a designated "school" email with one of the free email providers using the name of your school as this looks more professional than many typical family e-mail addresses (like for example), however, this is not strictly necessary. Many members have used their personal, regular email for years with no trouble.
25. School Website
This is optional. You may enter a school website if you wish
26. Has this school filed under a different name
If your school filed an affidavit in a prior year under a different name, check "yes".
27. Former name of school
If you answered "yes" to 26, fill in this box.
28. Change in school districts
Mark "no" unless the public school district in which your school site is located has changed since last year. See 4 above for situations where the elementary and high school districts where you live are different and you now need to choose a different one.
29. Former public school district
See 20. If the public school district in which your school site is located has changed since last year, enter the name of the former district. The name appears on your last year's affidavit.
30-32. Range of students' ages in years and months
You may enter the age range for the students actually attending, or the age range of students to whom education is offered. Do not include preschool-age children in this range. It is not required to include kindergarten.
33-47. Enrollment on a single date
You should mark the boxes that correspond to your students' grade levels. It is not necessary to mark any kindergarten age children in the kindergarten box since kindergarten is not required, but some people may choose to mark kindergarten if you desire to file a personal beliefs exemption for immunizations that will, under current law, be grandfathered in until the child reaches 7th grade.
Do not mark any children who are formally enrolled in another legal school, such as a public charter school. The system will automatically fill in 0s for the other grades.
We generally recommend that, if you choose to use grade levels, you use the grade levels that match your children's chronological ages, even if they are doing work above or below their traditional grade level. We doubt that what you put in the affidavit would be controlling for any other purpose. For instance, if you were later to enroll your child in public school, they may or may not agree with you if you think a grade level other than the traditional one is appropriate, and the fact that you had listed your child as two grade levels ahead on your affidavit would have no importance to them. Also, if your child wants to take the CHSPE but isn't yet of 10th grade age, they will not be prevented from doing so if you have marked a child in at least 10th-grade level on the affidavit at the time of filing in October for a Spring test date. Finally, please see the discussion at the beginning about whether you are really operating a private school. The affidavit won't be accepted by the CDE system with an enrollment of zero. Do NOT file now with a false number of students if your child is in another school but you're trying to keep your options open. File when you are really operating a full-time private school.
48. Number of Twelfth Grade Graduates in the [prior] School Year
Mark the number of students who graduated.
49-52. Number of School Staff
Count each person only once. Even if you are philosophically opposed to "teaching" your child "full-time," you should fill in one full-time teacher. Remember, you are establishing a full-time day school. For example: If you are both the teacher and the administrator, mark "1" under "Full-time teacher" and leave the number of administrators and other school staff blank. You may or may not include a second parent as a teacher on the PSA. Excluding them at the time of filing does not prevent them from teaching.
53-64. Site Administrator, Title, Address, and Email
You must list a site administrator. This can be the same person as the School Staff (teacher) or the Director/Principal Officer. You're asked to pick a title for the site administrator, such as Principal, Headmaster, Headmistress, from a drop-down menu. There's not a lot of importance as to which you choose.
65-76. Director or Principal Officer
This can be the same person as the "Site Administrator." Click on Copy Site Administrator to easily auto-populate this section.
Provide the name and street address of the person maintaining your records. This can be, but does not have to be, the same address as the physical school address you entered earlier. For most people, this will be your name and your home address. If, for any reason you have entered a place other than your home address as your school address (e.g. people who are reluctant to use their home address due to personal security concerns, or who were traveling extensively), make sure that the address you put here is for someone who actually maintains your records. This can be a relative, a friend, your accountant, whomever. But it has to be someone explicitly willing to take on that job, and at least a copy of the records should be kept at that address. All persons operating private schools must maintain attendance records, records of courses of study offered, and the names, addresses, and qualifications of the faculty, even those of you who are using a correspondence school that maintains grades and records. Again, an email address is optional.
89-93. Records Location
The address where the school's records are maintained, usually your home address. Use the copy function to auto-populate. Click the box to acknowledge that the records are true and accurate.
94-97. Tax Status
Unless you have formed a corporation and been granted a federal tax exemption, you must select number 43, "none of the above."
Acknowledgements and Statutory Notices
You are asked to check a box indicating that you understand:
All Private School Affidavits are public documents viewable by the public.
The Private School Affidavit must be filed by persons, firms, associations, partnerships, or corporations offering or conducting full-time day school at the elementary or high school level for students between the ages of six and eighteen years of age.
Preschools should contact the Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) of the California Department of Social Services. Contact CCLD at 916-229-4530 or contact a regional office.
The Affidavit is not a license or authorization to operate a private school.
The Private School Affidavit does not indicate approval, recognition, or endorsement by the state. Filing of this Affidavit shall not be interpreted to mean, and it shall be unlawful for any school to expressly or impliedly represent by any means whatsoever, that the State of California, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State Board of Education, the CDE, or any division or bureau of the Department, or any accrediting agency has made any evaluation, recognition, approval, or endorsement of the school or course unless this is an actual fact (see EC Section 33190 ).
Private school authorities are responsible for initiating contact with the appropriate local authorities (city and/or county) regarding compliance with ordinances governing health, safety and fire standards, business licensing, and zoning requirements applicable to private schools.
When a school ceases operation, every effort shall be made to give a copy of pupils' permanent records to parents or guardians. If records cannot be given to the parents or guardians, it is recommended that the school's custodian of records retain the records permanently so that former pupils may obtain copies when needed for future education, employment, or other purposes.
You shall retain a copy of this document for a period of three years.
A private school shall not employ a person who has been convicted of a violent or serious felony or a person who would be prohibited from employment by a public school district pursuant to EC Section 44237 . This school is in compliance with EC Section 44237 to the extent that it applies.
The students enrolled in this private school and included in the school's enrollment total are full-time students in this school and are not enrolled in any other public or private elementary or secondary school on a full-time basis.
Select the "Review" button. Carefully check all the fields for accuracy. We recommend that you try to print, print to PDF on your computer, or save the form so that you have a record of what you submitted even if something goes wrong after that. Once you've done all that, click on "Submit Affidavit." A confirmation page with a unique confirmation number will come up displaying the data. First, write the confirmation number down on a piece of paper. If something goes wrong with printing or your internet connection, at least you'll have the number that the CDE can use to find you in the system. Then print at least one copy of the confirmation page to keep at your school site with your records. If this page successfully printed with all of the information in the form before you hit the "submit form" button, you can get rid of the earlier form; the one with your confirmation number is the one that proves you filed the affidavit. This is the page that attendance officers are entitled to see if they come to your home asking about whether your child is enrolled in a legal school. It is also the page that you can give, for instance, to bookstores to try to get teacher discounts. You can also print to PDF and save it on your computer, just make sure you safely back it up.
Schools using the CDE's online filing system will have met their obligation to file a private school affidavit only when the data have successfully been submitted online; if the filing never makes it to the page where you get a confirmation number, you'll need to try again. Schools using paper affidavits, whether the form provided by the CDE or one they made up containing the statutorily required information, will be in compliance with 33190 only when they have mailed their affidavits to the CDE. If you're mailing your affidavit, we recommend that you mail it by certified mail, return receipt requested. This is powerful proof that your affidavit was received, and is worth every penny. Use a cover letter on your letterhead that sounds official. For example: "Enclosed for filing on behalf of [name of school] is the confirmation copy of the private school affidavit for the 2021-2022 school year. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the undersigned at the above number" will work fine.
Finally, and most importantly, keep in mind that, whether you are filing online with an electronic signature or filing a paper copy, you are signing the affidavit under penalty of perjury. Perjury is a criminal offense. Take it seriously.
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