General regulations

  • Florida has no accreditation, licensing, or approval requirements, but does require each private school to register with the state and file an annual report.

  • The Florida Department of Education has assembled a page of detailed requirements for private schools.

  • The US Office of Innovation & Improvement has assembled a summary of regulations for private schools operating in Florida.

  • Florida does not place restrictions or provide guidelines for home education programs, but does require that parents inform the state of the intent to homeschool and maintain a portfolio of student work to demonstrate that the student is meeting compulsory education requirements.

  • The Florida DOE has no published requirements for school insurance -- consult a professional for guidance in this area.

Education regulations and resources for starting a private school in the state of Florida

State funding sources & support

Florida provides funding for private education under three programs:

  • Florida Tax Credit Scholarships: Florida law provides for state tax credits for contributions to nonprofit scholarship funding organizations, (SFOs). The SFOs then award scholarships to eligible children of low-income families.

  • McKay Scholarships: Florida's school choice programs allow parents to choose the best educational setting—public or private—for their child. The McKay Scholarship Program for Students with Disabilities provides Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a participating private school.

  • Gardiner ScholarshipsThe Gardiner Scholarship Program provides eligible students a scholarship that can be used to purchase approved services or products in order to design a customized educational program for the student.


Curriculum requirements

The state and local districts have no authority over the curriculum of private schools or home education programs. 


Teacher certification & hiring

Private and home education teachers are not required to be certified, but private school owners can require school employees to submit fingerprints to the state Department of Law Enforcement to use for background checks.


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Food services / school lunch

In Florida, school lunch requirements, including funding for schools offering the National School Lunch Program, are managed by the Food, Nutrition and Wellness division of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.


Length of school year

Students meet the compulsory school attendance requirements if they attend either 180 actual school days or 170 school days and the hourly equivalent of 180 days.


Recordkeeping and reports

Schools must keep a register of student enrollment available for inspection by the local superintendent. Parents must provide verification of student age prior to pre-K or kindergarten enrollment. Schools must also collect immunization records if they enroll kindergarten or 7th grade students.


Health and safety requirements

Schools must keep a register of student enrollment available for inspection by the local superintendent. Parents must provide verification of student age prior to pre-K or kindergarten enrollment. Schools must also collect immunization records if they enroll kindergarten or 7th grade students.


Transportation

Private schools operating school buses are subject to requirements based on the number of students on each bus. Additionally, school crossing guards and bus driver training programs can be provided by the district depending on their desire to do so.


Testing

Schools that participate in school choice scholarship programs must offer statewide assessments to students. There are no statutory requirements for testing in schools that do not participate in school choice scholarship programs.


State and regional associations

  • A.A.A. Scholarship Foundation - FL, LLC: Approved Scholarship Funding Organization (SFO) for administering the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program and the Gardiner Scholarship.

  • Association of Independent Schools of Florida: The mission of the Association of Independent Schools of Florida is to maintain the highest educational, ethical and professional standards among member schools for the benefit of the children of Florida.

  • Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools: A major function of FAANS is monitoring local, state, and national legislation impacting nonpublic schools. In state issues, FAANS provides members of the Florida Legislature with information about nonpublic education in Florida as well as nonpublic school viewpoints on current and pending legislation that might affect the private sector.

  • Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS): The Florida Council of Independent Schools promotes the highest standards for PK-12 education through its accreditation process, professional development programming, and advocacy efforts.

  • Florida Parent Educators Association: The Florida Parent-Educators Association exists solely to serve homeschooling families in Florida. 

  • Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS): The mission of SAIS is to strengthen member schools by providing high-quality accreditation processes, comprehensive professional growth opportunities, and visionary leadership development programs.

  • Step Up For Students: Approved Scholarship Funding Organization (SFO) for administering the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program and the Gardiner Scholarship.


Starting a Private School

Want to know more about opening a school? We’ve assembled a complete guide to starting a private school, with considerations for everything from planning and finance to branding, hiring, curriculum, facilities, and more!

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Disclaimer

We've done our best to pull together current and accurate information. Even so, there may be omissions or mistakes or content that needs to be updated. If you have recommendations for any resources or corrections, we appreciate your input so we can continue to improve this guide for everyone. 

Nothing in this guide should be construed as legal, business, or tax advice. It is important that you engage qualified professionals who can advise you on such matters, and please visit the Department of Education pages for your state to verify you are in compliance with all regulations.


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