General regulations

  • There are no requirements for registration, licensing or approval, but Ohio does offer charters as a form of optional accreditation to nonpublic schools.

  • The Ohio 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 Ohio.

  • Homeschooling in Ohio must be done by a parent or guardian and cannot entail enrollment in a private school.

  • The Ohio 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 Ohio

State funding sources & support

Ohio provides funding for private education:

  • Cleveland Scholarship and Tutoring Program provides scholarships to students who reside in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District to attend qualifying private schools. Students from low-income families have priority in receiving new scholarships.

  • The Autism Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students who have been identified as autistic through their assigned resident school districts. These scholarships allow eligible students to receive special education and related services from approved registered providers, including private schools.

  • The Educational Choice Scholarship (EdChoice) Program was created to provide students from underperforming public schools the opportunity to attend participating private schools. The program provides up to 60,000 EdChoice scholarships to eligible students. Any student currently attending a public school that has been listed as on Academic Emergency or Academic Watch for two of the past three years is eligible to apply. 

  • The Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students in kindergarten through grade 12 who have IEPs from their districts of residence. The amount of each scholarship will be based on the disability identified on the student’s IEP, not to exceed $20,000. Excluding category one (speech- and language-only) students, scholarships can be used to pay tuition at chartered nonpublic schools. Private school students are eligible to apply.


Curriculum requirements

  • A non-chartered, non-tax supported school must provide courses in the following subjects: language arts; geography, the history of the United States and Ohio, and national state, and local government; mathematics; science; health; physical education; the fine arts, including music; first aid, safety, and fire prevention; and other subjects as prescribed by the school.

  • A chartered nonpublic school must have a curriculum that includes: language arts; geography, the history of the United States and Ohio, and national, state, and local government in the United States, including a balanced presentation of the relevant contributions to society of men and women of African, Mexican, Puerto Rican, and American Indian descent as well as other ethnic and racial groups in Ohio and the United States; mathematics; natural science; health education; personal safety and assault prevention in grades kindergarten through six; physical education; the fine arts, including music; and first aid.


Teacher certification & hiring

Teachers must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.


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Food services / school lunch

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


Length of school year

Schools must be open the same amount of time as public schools -- 182 days per year.


Recordkeeping and reports

A school that is non-chartered or seeking a charter from the State Board of Education due to religious beliefs must submit a report to the parents of its pupils that the school meets Ohio minimum standards for non-chartered, non-tax supported schools annually. Schools must report the names, addresses, and ages of all enrolled students.


Health and safety requirements

Monthly fire drills are required of schools enrolling 20 students or more. Nonpublic school teachers, principals and administrators may use reasonable corporal punishment whenever such punishment is reasonably necessary to preserve discipline.


Transportation

Students in grades k through eight who are enrolled in and attend nonpublic schools may be eligible for transportation from their public school district of residence, providing the distance to travel between the public school to which the student was assigned and the nonpublic school is within 30 minutes travel time by school bus, on a school day and during the hours a school bus would normally operate. School boards may provide students in grades nine through 12 transportation to and from nonpublic schools, but only if transportation is provided for students attending the public high school(s). 


Testing

Students at chartered nonpublic schools must pass the Ohio Graduation Tests to earn a high school diploma.


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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