The IDEA regulations require the local educational agency (LEA) where the private school is geographically located to conduct a thorough Child Find, including evaluations and/or re-evaluations, and provide equitable services for parentally placed private school children. The requirement to provide equitable services to parentally placed private school children is based on the total number of children with disabilities who are enrolled in private schools located in the LEA whether the children and their parents reside in the LEA. The LEA, where the private schools are located, is also responsible for paying for the equitable services provided to a parentally placed private elementary school or secondary school child. The LEA must spend a proportionate amount of its federal funds available under Part B of IDEA for these services (§300.133). Parentally placed private school children are addressed in §§300.129-300.148 of the IDEA Part B regulations. The following sections address parentally placed private school children with disabilities:
A provision (§300.131) regarding Child Find states that each LEA, in which private elementary and secondary schools are located must include in its Child Find activities parentally placed private school children who reside in a state other than the state in which the private schools that they attend are located.
§300.133 (a)(2)(ii) states that children ages three through five are parentally placed private school children with disabilities enrolled by their parents if they are enrolled in a private school that meets the definition of elementary school in §300.13 or secondary school in §300.131.
The determination of special education and related services for parentally placed school children with disabilities is made through consultation among LEA officials, private school representatives, and representatives of parents of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities (§300.134). The consultation process must be timely and meaningful and must include:
Under IDEA, LEAs only have an obligation to provide these children an opportunity for equitable participation in the services funded with federal Part B funds that the LEA has determined, after consultation, to make available to these children. LEAs are not required to spend more than the proportionate federal share on those services. However, IDEA in no way prohibits states or LEAs from spending additional state or local funds in excess of those required in the Act, consistent with state or local policy. A services plan, which is generally less comprehensive than the individualized education program (IEP), should be developed to describe the specific special education and related services offered to a parentally placed private school child with a disability designated to receive services.
Section 300.137 (b)(2) states that, after this consultation process, the final decision with respect to the services provided to eligible parentally placed private school children with disabilities is made by the LEA. Parentally placed private school children do not have an individual right to special education and related services.
In §300.138 (a)(1), the regulations state that the highly qualified special education teacher requirements do not apply to teachers hired by the private schools.
Section 300.140 (b)(2) states the due process complaint must be filed with the LEA in which the private school is located, and a copy must be forward to the SEA.
Members working in districts where a private school is located should be aware that their local school district is responsible for Child Find services for parentally placed private school children. The LEA responsible for these children in private schools is now determined by the geographic location of the private school, not the residence of the student. Even if the child resides in a different state, they will be included in this LEA's Child Find, including evaluations and reevaluations, and is entitled to equitable services. This may impact members working in districts with private schools.
The LEA should engage in consultation with private school officials and representatives of the parents regarding how services will be provided throughout the school year to ensure the child can meaningfully participate in special education and related services. The discussions should include the types of services (direct and alternate service delivery mechanisms) and how the services will be apportioned if funds are insufficient and how those decisions will be made.
While special education personnel employed by the public schools must be highly qualified, these qualifications do not apply to those employed by the private school.
ASHA members should familiarize themselves as much as possible with the regulations pertaining to parentally placed private school children with disabilities. Members should be aware of the private schools geographically located within their LEA(s) to ensure that appropriate services are being provided to parentally placed private school children with disabilities. Members should also be familiar with the procedures for providing services to these children. For more information on these regulations, visit the U.S. Department of Education's website on IDEA.
ASHA members also should familiarize themselves with state statutes and regulations pertaining to parentally placed private school children with disabilities. Members should be aware that state requirements may be in addition to federal requirements and/or may create two sets of requirements for serving parentally placed private school children with disabilities. One set of requirements (federal IDEA) pertains to services provided with federal funds. The other set of requirements (state) pertains to services provided with state/local funds.