Private Schools and Students with Disabilities (page 2)
What rights are provided to children with disabilities, and their parents, who voluntarily enroll in private schools?
Children with disabilities should not be excluded from special education evaluations or services simply because their parents choose to place them in private schools. Therefore, under IDEA, children with disabilities who are enrolled in private schools by their parents are entitled to evaluations and, if necessary, special education and related services from the local educational agency (LEA) with jurisdiction over the district in which the private school is located. Such special education and related services must be equitable to what is provided to the LEA's public school children. In addition, the LEA must consult with representatives of the parents and the private schools to ensure that the design and delivery of evaluations and special education and related services meet the children's needs.
What are the obligations of local educational agencies (LEAs) in providing for children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private schools?
Local educational agencies (LEAs) are required to provide special education and related services for children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private schools located in the school district served by the LEA. LEAs can provide services, including direct services, such as professional development for teachers, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and provide educational materials in specialized formats. Funds for these services must be equal to a proportionate amount of the federal funds made available to the LEA under Part B of IDEA as related to the number of private school students located in the LEA. State and local funds may be used to supplement federal funds, but may not be used in place of federal money to comply with this requirement.
Special education and related services may be provided to children with disabilities on the premises of private schools to the extent consistent with state and federal law or, when appropriate, at a location and in a manner deemed appropriate by the LEA in consultation with representatives from the private schools and the parents. Special education and related services must be provided by employees of a public agency or through contract by the public agency with another entity, and be secular, neutral, and non-ideological. The funds used to provide the special education and related services must be controlled and administered by a public agency. In addition, the LEA must provide the state educational agency (SEA) the number of children enrolled by their parents in private schools evaluated by the LEA, the number of such children determined to be children with disabilities, and the number of children served.
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