General regulations

  • There are no accreditation or licensing requirements for schools, and registration/recognition are optional processes, but are recommended due to the additional benefits of being a recognized school. 

  • The Illinois State Board of Education has assembled a page of detailed requirements for private schools.

  • Homeschooling is considered a form of private school in Illinois and does not require special reporting as long as students are receiving education at least equivalent to public education.

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

  • Illinois does not have specific insurance requirements for private schools.

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

State funding sources & support

Illinois does not provide funding for private education, but does offer an Education Expense tax credit for qualified education expenses of K-12 students.


Curriculum requirements

Among others, recognized nonpublic schools must provide instruction in English (except as otherwise permitted under the law), in language arts, mathematics, the biological physical and social sciences, the fine arts, and physical development and health education.


Teacher certification & hiring

Nonpublic teachers do not have to hold certifications but must have a bachelors degree or higher and must be evaluated every 2 years for job proficiency. 


Looking for more?

Our comprehensive Starting a Private School guide includes great information for funding, curriculum, hiring & much more that applies no matter where you’re opening your school.

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Food services / school lunch

In Illinois, school lunch requirements, including funding for schools offering the National School Lunch Program, are managed by the Illinois State Board of Education.


Length of school year

For registered and recognized schools, the length of the school year must be at least 176 days of student attendance, with at least five hours of instruction daily, or a total of 880 hours of instruction per school year.


Recordkeeping and reports

Schools must provide the state with the number of immunized students, the number who haven't complied, and the number claiming religious or health exemptions. They must also keep official records of student academic progress and are obligated to transfer them to any school students may transfer to.


Health and safety requirements

Students are required to have health exams and show proof of immunizations before enrolling in school. Schools must hold fire, severe weather, and bomb threat/active shooter drills each year. 


Transportation

District school boards are required to provide transportation for nonpublic students. Additionally, the Chicago Transit Authority offers reduced fares to students, including nonpublic students.


Testing

There is no state policy for testing.


State and regional associations


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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