General regulations

  • There are no registration, licensing or approval requirements and accreditation is optional.

  • The South Dakota Department of Education has assembled a page of guidelines for private schools.

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

  • Homeschooled students must take periodic state assessments to ensure learning goals are being met.

  • The South Dakota 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 South Dakota

State funding sources & support

South Dakota does not provide funding for private education.

Curriculum requirements

Schools must offer instruction in language arts and math for an equivalent period of time as public schools. All nonpublic schools must provide regular courses in the constitutions of the United States and the state of South Dakota beginning no later than eighth grade and continuing through high school.

Teacher certification & hiring

Instructors do not have to be certified. In nonaccredited schools, instructors cannot teach more than 22 students.

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

Length of school year

The number of hours in the school term for kindergarten may be no less than 437.5 hours, for grades one through five may be no less than 875 hours, and for grades six through 12 may not be less than 962.5 hours, exclusive of intermissions. An intermission is the time when pupils are at recess or lunch.

Recordkeeping and reports

Schools must keep enrollment information as well as request birth certificates to ensure student age and identity.

Health and safety requirements

Students must be immunized or provide documentation of a medical or religious exemption.


Transportation is not provided by the state or district for private schools students. All school busses must be inspected annually.


Students must annually take a standardized achievement test.

State and regional associations

  • N/A

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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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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