Have you reached the point that you are simply tired of fighting the district?  Are you thinking about placing your child in a private school?  If so, this is information you should know:

 

Parentally-placed private school special needs students

 

Often parents begin addressing their concerns about their childís performance with the teacher, when fails, they may speak to the principal. Eventually, a school study team including a special education teacher and a psychometrician or school psychologist might get involved for response to intervention.  Next, a referral to special education may occur an finally a child might get an Individualize Educational Plan. The entire process can take years, and frequently even when an IEP is developed it is insufficient and parents find themselves constantly arguing with the IEP team for more appropriate services, writing State complaints, participating in mediations or going to due process.  For some parents, the emotional toll and the negative impact of this stress on their family prompts them to simply remove their children from public school and to place them in a private school even without the support of the IEP team. At this point, many parents assume that their child is no longer entitled to any services from the public school. This, however, is not the case.

 

Sec. 300.130 Definition of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities.

 

Parentally-placed private school children with disabilities means children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private, including religious (i.e. Walker Memorial Academy), schools or facilities that meet the definition of elementary school in Sec. 300.13 or secondary school in Sec. 300.36, other than children with disabilities covered under Sec. Sec. 300.145 through 300.147.

 

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(10)(A))

 

Services for Parentally-placed private special needs students

 

Parentally-placed private school students are entitled to some services from the public schools but,  not entitled the same services they would receive if they were enrolled in a public school program. On the one hand, parentally placed private school children are entitled to child find services when referred by their private school.  On the other hand, parentally placed private school children do not have an individual right to receive the same or all of the special education and related services the student would have received if still enrolled in public school.  

 

Sec. 300.146 Responsibility of SEA.

 

Each SEA must ensure that a child with a disability who is placed in or referred to a private school or facility by a public agency--

 

(a) Is provided special education and related services--

 

(1) In conformance with an IEP that meets the requirements of Sec. Sec. 300.320 through 300.325; and

 

(2) At no cost to the parents;

 

(b) Is provided an education that meets the standards that apply to education provided by the SEA and LEAs including the requirements of this part, except for Sec. 300.18 and Sec. 300.156(c); and

 

(c) Has all of the rights of a child with a disability who is served by a public agency.

 

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(10)(B))

 

 

            Sec. 300.137 Equitable services determined.

 

(a) No individual right to special education and related services. No parentally-placed private school child with a disability has an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services that the child would receive if enrolled in a public school.

 

(b) Decisions.

 

(1) Decisions about the services that will be provided to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities under Sec. Sec. 300.130 through 300.144 must be made in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section and Sec. 300.134(c).

 

(2) The LEA must make the final decisions with respect to the services to be provided to eligible parentally-placed private school children with disabilities.

 

(c) Services plan for each child served under Sec. Sec. 300.130 through 300.144. If a child with a disability is enrolled in a religious or other private school by the child's parents and will receive special education or related services from an LEA, the LEA must--

 

(1) Initiate and conduct meetings to develop, review, and revise a services plan for the child, in accordance with Sec. 300.138(b); and

 

(2) Ensure that a representative of the religious or other private school attends each meeting. If the representative cannot attend, the LEA shall use other methods to ensure participation by the religious or other private school, including individual or conference telephone calls.

 

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(10)(A))

 

Notifying Public Schools of Parentally Placed Special Needs Children

 

           In fact, the fiscal amount the public school districts must spend on provision of services to private school children is limited. The public schools are only required to spend on parentally-placed private school children an amount proportionate to the number of private school children with disabilities compared to the number of public school children with disabilities. This proportion is determined, district by district, based on the number of students with disabilities living in each district. To determine how the district will spend that allocation, school districts must consult with representatives of private schools within their districts. This means that it is important for a private school to refer all children with suspected learning disabilities to the district so that their numbers can be counted in determining the funds to be spend on the special needs of parentally placed private school children. So, you should encourage the private school to do this. If parents place their children in a private school, they should formally inform the public school of this placement and their childís special needs, and request a meeting with the public school representative and the private school representative to discuss what services will be provided to their child

 

Sec. 300.133 Expenditures.

 

(a) Formula. To meet the requirement of Sec. 300.132(a), each LEA must spend the following on providing special education and related services (including direct services) to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities:

 

(1) For children aged 3 through 21, an amount that is the same proportion of the LEA's total subgrant under section 611(f) of the Act as the number of private school children with disabilities aged 3 through 21 who are enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, elementary schools and secondary schools located in the school district served by the LEA, is to the total number of children with disabilities in its jurisdiction aged 3 through 21.

 

(2)

 

(i) For children aged three through five, an amount that is the same proportion of the LEA's total subgrant under section 619(g) of the Act as the number of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities aged three through five who are enrolled by their parents in a private, including religious, elementary school located in the school district served by the LEA, is to the total number of children with disabilities in its jurisdiction aged three through five.

 

(ii) As described in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of thissection, children aged three through five are considered to be parentally-placed private school children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, elementary schools, if they are enrolled in a private school that meets the definition of elementary school in Sec. 300.13.

 

(3) If an LEA has not expended for equitable services all of the funds described in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section by the end of the fiscal year for which Congress appropriated the funds, the LEA must obligate the remaining funds for special education and related services (including direct services) to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities during a carry-over period of one additional year.

 

(b) Calculating proportionate amount. In calculating the proportionate amount of Federal funds to be provided for parentally-placed private school children with disabilities, the LEA, after timely and meaningful consultation with representatives of private schools under Sec. 300.134, must conduct a thorough and complete child find process to determine the number of parentally-placed children with disabilities attending private schools located in the LEA. (See Appendix B for an example of how proportionate share is calculated).

 

(c) Annual count of the number of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities. (1) Each LEA must--

 

(i) After timely and meaningful consultation with representatives of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities (consistent with Sec. 300.134), determine the number of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities attending private schools located in the LEA; and

 

(ii) Ensure that the count is conducted on any date between October 1 and December 1, inclusive, of each year.

 

(2) The count must be used to determine the amount that the LEA must spend on providing special education and related services to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities in the next subsequent fiscal year.

 

(d) Supplement, not supplant. State and local funds may supplement and in no case supplant the proportionate amount of Federal funds required to be expended for parentally-placed private school children with disabilities under this part.

 

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(10)(A))

 

Sec. 300.134 Consultation.

 

To ensure timely and meaningful consultation, an LEA, or, if appropriate, an SEA, must consult with private school representatives and representatives of parents of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities during the design and development of special education and related services for the children regarding the following:

 

(a) Child find. The child find process, including--

 

(1) How parentally-placed private school children suspected of having a disability can participate equitably; and

 

(2) How parents, teachers, and private school officials will be informed of the process.

 

(b) Proportionate share of funds. The determination of the proportionate share of Federal funds available to serve parentally-placed private school children with disabilities under Sec. 300.133(b), including the determination of how the proportionate share of those funds was calculated.

 

(c) Consultation process. The consultation process among the LEA, private school officials, and representatives of parents of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities, including how the process will operate throughout the school year to ensure that parentally-placed children with disabilities identified through the child find process can meaningfully participate in special education and related services.

 

(d) Provision of special education and related services. How, where, and by whom special education and related services will be provided for parentally-placed private school children with disabilities, including a discussion of--

 

(1) The types of services, including direct services and alternate service delivery mechanisms; and

 

(2) How special education and related services will be apportioned if funds are insufficient to serve all parentally-placed private school children; and

 

(3) How and when those decisions will be made;

 

(e) Written explanation by LEA regarding services. How, if the LEA disagrees with the views of the private school officials on the provision of services or the types of services (whether provided directly or through a contract), the LEA will provide to the private school officials a written explanation of the reasons why the LEA chose not to provide services directly or through a contract.

 

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(10)(A)(iii))

 

Special Needs Service Plan

 

          If a student with a disability is enrolled in a private school, but will receive special education services from the school district, then the district must develop a services plan for the student. A services plan is similar to an Individualized Educational Plan.  However, it is developed by a representative of the private school and a representative of the public school along with the parents and is specifically for students in private schools who receive special education services from the public school district. The plan is suppose to specifically describe the special education and related services the private school student will receive from the school district. Still,  private school children may receive a different amount of services in their service plan than students in the public schools receive in an IEP. The services are provided based upon the school districtís allocation of funds for private school children and the plan the district has developed, in consultation with private school representatives, to serve private school children.  This is why it is important for private schools to screen for and refer for evaluation children with suspected handicapping conditions; as the number directly affect the funding of services for special needs children parentally placed in private schools.

 

Services provided in accordance with a services plan.

 

(1) Each parentally-placed private school child with a disability who has been designated to receive services under Sec. 300.132 must have a services plan that describes the specific special education and related services that the LEA will provide to the child in light of the services that the LEA has determined, through the process described in Sec. Sec. 300.134 and 300.137, it will make available to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities.

 

(2) The services plan must, to the extent appropriate--

 

(i) Meet the requirements of Sec. 300.320, or for a child ages three through five, meet the requirements of Sec. 300.323(b) with respect to the services provided; and

 

(ii) Be developed, reviewed, and revised consistent with Sec. Sec. 300.321 through 300.324.

 

Location of Service Provision

 

Often parents are told that services cannot be provided at the private school. This is not true.  In fact, services to parentally placed private school children or at another agreed upon service site.  By service site we mean a place where the student receives services that is not the public school or private school. For example, a service site might be a community library or perhaps a YMCA or nearby youth center where the student might receive services. If a student requires transportation, to benefit from the special education services being provided, then transportation must be provided by the public school at no cost to the parent.  The school district, however,  is not required to transport students from their home to the private school or from the private school to their home. Transportation may be provided from the studentís home to a service site, or from the studentís home to the studentís public school.

 

 

Sec. 300.139 Location of services and transportation.

 

(a) Services on private school premises. Services to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities may be provided on the premises of private, including religious, schools, to the extent consistent with law.

 

(b) Transportation.

 

(1) General.

 

(i) If necessary for the child to benefit from or participate in the services provided under this part, a parentally-placed private school child with a disability must be provided transportation--

 

(A) From the child's school or the child's home to a site other than the private school; and

 

(B) From the service site to the private school, or to the child's home, depending on the timing of the services.

 

(ii) LEAs are not required to provide transportation from the child's home to the private school.

 

(2) Cost of transportation. The cost of the transportation described in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section may be included in calculating whether the LEA has met the requirement of Sec. 300.133.

 

 

Appeal Process for Parentally-Placed Private School Children

 

         Parents who choose to enroll their children in private schools do not have the same due process procedures available to them as parents of children in the public schools as they are not allowed to file for due process to  appeal the services planor the districtís failure to comply with the service plan. The are limited, instead, to filing complaints with their State Department of Education. Parents of private school children, however, may use the due process hearing procedures to appeal issues regarding the districtís child find obligation to locate, identify, and evaluate children with disabilities.  Under child find, the   Local Educational Agency (LEA) has an obligation to seek out and find children with suspected disabilities, thus, any child that your private school or the parents refers to the school district should must evaluated to determine whether or not they qualify as a disabled child under IDEA. This responsibility falls not to the LEA where the child resides, but to the LEA where the private school is located. 

 

 

Sec. 300.140 Due process complaints and State complaints.

 

(a) Due process not applicable, except for child find. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, the procedures in Sec. Sec. 300.504 through 300.519 do not apply to complaints that an LEA has failed to meet the requirements of Sec. Sec. 300.132 through 300.139, including the provision of services indicated on the child's services plan.

 

(b) Child find complaints--to be filed with the LEA in which the private school is located.

 

(1) The procedures in Sec. Sec. 300.504 through 300.519 apply to complaints that an LEA has failed to meet the child find requirements in Sec. 300.131, including the requirements in Sec. Sec. 300.300 through 300.311.

 

(2) Any due process complaint regarding the child find requirements (as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section) must be filed with the LEA in which the private school is located and a copy must be forwarded to the SEA.

 

(c) State complaints. (1) Any complaint that an SEA or LEA has failed to meet the requirements in Sec. Sec. 300.132 through 300.135 and 300.137 through 300.144 must be filed in accordance with the procedures described in Sec. Sec. 300.151 through 300.153.

 

(2) A complaint filed by a private school official under Sec. 300.136(a) must be filed with the SEA in accordance with the procedures in Sec. 300.136(b).

 

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(10)(A))

 

Sec. 300.140 Due process complaints and State complaints.

 

(a) Due process not applicable, except for child find. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, the procedures in Sec. Sec. 300.504 through 300.519 do not apply to complaints that an LEA has failed to meet the requirements of Sec. Sec. 300.132 through 300.139, including the provision of services indicated on the child's services plan.

 

(b) Child find complaints--to be filed with the LEA in which the private school is located.

 

(1) The procedures in Sec. Sec. 300.504 through 300.519 apply to complaints that an LEA has failed to meet the child find requirements in Sec. 300.131, including the requirements in Sec. Sec. 300.300 through 300.311.

 

(2) Any due process complaint regarding the child find requirements (as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section) must be filed with the LEA in which the private school is located and a copy must be forwarded to the SEA.

 

(c) State complaints. (1) Any complaint that an SEA or LEA has failed to meet the requirements in Sec. Sec. 300.132 through 300.135 and 300.137 through 300.144 must be filed in accordance with the procedures described in Sec. Sec. 300.151 through 300.153.

 

(2) A complaint filed by a private school official under Sec. 300.136(a) must be filed with the SEA in accordance with the procedures in Sec. 300.136(b).

 

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(10)(A))


Reimbursement Possibities for Tuition, Fees and Books

Some parents believe firmly that they should not have to pay the tuition for a private school in order to have their childís special needs addressed; certainly IDEA talk about a Free and Appropriate Public Education at no cost to the parent. Therefore,  when a parent believes that the public school fails to provide their child a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), they may wish to pursue having the public school  bear the costs of sending their child to a private school that can address their needs.  If the IEP team agrees that the public school is unable to meet the students needs, it is a relatively straight forward process for the team to approve placement in a State approved private school and for the district to cover, tuition, fees, room, board and transportation as applicable.  The problem arises, when parents feel that FAPE has been denied, but the district does not.  In this case, the parents have to document the ways in which the IEP is inadequate, they need to document notifying the district of the inadequacies and desired modifications,  they need to document several IEP meetings in an attempt to address these concerns with the district, they need to document an attempt at mediation. Then, they can provide the district written notice that since all these efforts have failed they are unilaterally making a parental placement in a private school and that they expect full reimbursement from the public school for all costs.  Then, of course, they have to document delivery of this notification.  Thereafter, the parent can place their child in the private school, and take the school district to due process to pursue an award for the expenses involved.  In this type of situation, where the parent has worked cooperatively with the district yet  been unable to obtain FAPE, can document the lack of FAPE,  a hearing officer may order the district to reimburse the parent for tuition, fees, books and transportation.  The key, of course, is documentation of lack of progress or regression along with documentation of an inadequate IEP.  In the interim, you can still pursue the services available to your child as a parentally placed private school student.

 

 

Presented as a community service by,

 

Susan L. Crum, Ph.D.

 

Special Needs Coach

 

Able2Learn

 

Email:  able2learn@live.com

 

Website:  www.specialeducationsupport.org

 

Voice and Fax: 863-471-0281