IDEA '04 describes services for students in private school in two separate
and very distinct ways:
1) Students seeking FAPE (Free, Appropriate Public Education) from a
public school who are enrolled unilaterally in private or non-public programs
by their parents, when public schools are perceived to have failed to
2) Students for whom FAPE is not an issue, but who are seeking special
education services to supplement their private or parochial school programs.
This section of the Procedures Guide deals only with elementary and secondary
students that fall within category 2 above. These are students whose parents
have chosen a private education for personal or religious reasons. While
the federal law states that the district is required to spend a proportional
amount of federal funding on these students, there is no individual entitlement
to special education services for these students. Local Education Agencies
are required to locate, identify and assess students with special needs
in private school settings. Once assessed, these students can be served
according to the Contra Costa SELPA Service Plan.
See the "Child Find" section of the Procedures Guide for more
After consultation with representatives of private schools serving children
with disabilities regarding how best to provide special education services,
Contra Costa SELPA has selected a consultation model of service delivery.
Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and the County Office of Education (COE)
will provide consultation related to the private school curriculum and
instruction upon request of the parent of a child with disabilities or
a private school service provider. Consultation can be provided by the
following educational specialists:
- Speech and Language Pathologist
- Resource Specialist/Instructional Support Provider
- School Psychologist
- Hearing Specialist
- Vision Specialist
Private schools that serve students with disabilities are also eligible
to attend staff development activities conducted by the Contra Costa SELPA.
The LEA offering a Service Plan to a private school student should also
refer parents or private schools that desire to be on the SELPA's mailing
list for staff development to the SELPA office at 925 827-0949 x 10. The
SELPA will notify private schools and parents through their mailing list
of staff development opportunities.
Child Find Requirements
Local Education Agencies are required by Federal Law to locate students
suspected to have disabilities within their attendance boundaries. This
requirement extends to private, parochial and home-school settings. Each
LEA will notify the private and parochial school of the availability of
special education services every year. In addition, the Contra Costa SELPA
will place advertisements in local newspapers describing parents' right
to an assessment for eligibility for special education services. Schools
and parents will be directed to refer suspected children to their local
public school for evaluation for eligibility.
Assessments of students in private schools must be conducted according
to the same legal requirements as a public school student suspected of
having a disability. When a parent suspects that a student may have a
disability, they will make a referral to the school district in which
the private school is located. This district will ultimately be responsible
for conducting the assessment and providing a service plan if the student
is found to be eligible for Special Education. However, in Contra Costa
County, the four SELPAs (including the 15 districts within the Contra
Costa SELPA) have agreed to seek written parent permission to notify the
student's district of residence of the referral, and allow the district
of residence to conduct the assessment. The assessment team from the district
of residence, if permission is obtained, or the district of service will
develop an assessment plan.
The assessment team may want to meet with the staff of the private school
prior to developing the assessment plan. The plan will be provided to
the parents and upon agreement; the assessment will be conducted in all
areas of suspected disability and in accordance with timelines. Following
the assessment, the team will invite the parents and, if appropriate,
private school staff, to a meeting to discuss the assessment results and
Initial Meeting Requirements
- After receiving written parental permission the district of residence
IEP team shall make the eligibility decision in accordance with applicable
state and federal laws and regulations and develop an IEP. Otherwise
it will be the district where the private school is located who will
be making these decisions. Please see the "Eligibility" and
"Individual Education Program" section of the Procedures Guide
for more information.
- If the parents of a private school child with a disability are interested
in enrolling their child in public school, or are unsure about enrolling
their child in public school, the IEP team shall develop an IEP for
the child. If the parents of a private school child with a disability
agree with and consent to the IEP developed by the IEP team, the IEP
shall be implemented without undue delay following the IEP team meeting.
- If the parents of a private school child with a disability agree with,
but decline the IEP developed by the IEP team, the IEP team shall ask
the parent to check the box on the IEP Contra Costa SELPA Signature
and Parent Consent page that states: "Student enrolled in private
school by their parents." Also add, "Refer to Individual Service
Plan", if appropriate.\
- Document in the comments section of the IEP that while the parents
agree that their child has been offered a free appropriate public education,
including appropriate services in special education, that they are voluntarily
placing their child in a private school. Request the LEA to develop
a Service Plan, on the LEA Service Plan form in accordance with this
policy and federal and state laws and regulations. Continuing eligibility
for special education must be revisited at least every three years.
- In order to ensure that the parents' intentions are clear, the district
of residence shall request that the parents sign the following statement
on a form entitled Certification of Parent's Decision Not to Enroll
in Public School: We/I the Parent(s) of ____ hereby certify that we
are not interested in enrolling our child, in a public school. We are
not interested in the development of an IEP for our child or in the
_____________ (District of residence) offer of a free appropriate public
education. We are only interested in a Service Plan from the ___________
school district, which is the district where, our choice of the private
school in which we are placing our child is located. We have received
the Contra Costa SELPA Notice of Parents' Rights. We understand the
notice and that we may place our child in a public school at any time.
- If the parents of a private school child with a disability are clearly
not interested in enrolling their child in public school, and if the
child is eligible for special education and related services as a child
with a disability, the district of residence shall request the LEA where
the private school is located to develop a Service Plan.
Parents must request that a service on the plan be initiated by notifying
the person responsible for the implementation, as specified on the plan.
The service plan provider will complete a Service Plan in the Special
Education Information System (SEIS) using the code for private school
student (900, other special education/related services). Districts are
required to utilize a proportionate share of their special education federal
funds to provide services to parentally placed private school students
with disabilities. The Contra Costa SELPA has determined that a proportionate
amount of federal funding may have been spent on the private school student
when 5 hours of consultation have been completed. This is neither a limit
nor minimum, only an average to be used as a guideline. The provider should
contact the district administrator for further instructions when the five
hours have been reached. Consultation hours will be documented on a Private
School Consultation Log that will be forwarded to the special education
administrator monthly if service has been provided.
IEP Meetings after the Initial IEP Team Meeting
The requirement for annual and 3-year reviews continues to be the responsibility
of the school district of residence for students enrolled in private schools,
but if no direct services are being provided, this requirement is minimized.
All children with disabilities eligible for special education who reside
in the District of Residence are entitled to receive a FAPE from the District
of Residence if they are enrolled in public school. One year after an
eligible private school child's initial IEP team meeting and annually
thereafter, the District of Residence shall notify the child's parents
in writing that the District of Residence:
- Continues to offer a FAPE in accordance with federal and state laws
- Will schedule an IEP team meeting for their child in order to offer
the child a FAPE, subject to assessment, if appropriate, if the parents
express an interest in enrolling their child in public school.
An annual notice to the parents reminding them of their right to participate
in a service plan, request an assessment or enroll in public school is
sufficient. An annual notice should be sent to all identified private
school students on the anniversary of their eligibility determination.
should mail information to the parents when
Meetings for parents and private school providers are offered
(SELPA will provide flyers.)
Opportunities for staff development are
available (SELPA will provide flyers.)
Parents have expressed an interest in enrolling the child in
public school and an IEP meeting is required.
Annually by a letter from the special education administrator
including a copy of Parent Rights.
Request for Special Education Consultation for Pupils Enrolled by
their Parents in Private Schools
When a parent is offered a service plan for consultation services, the
district of service special education administrator shall be responsible
for the following:
1. Notify the consultant(s) listed on the plan that they will be contacted
by the parent or private school
- The assignment is not part of a caseload; however, the administrator
should review the implications of such assignments on the consultant's
2. Instruct the consultant(s) of the parameters of service:
- Phone contact only.
- References or sources for finding further information and materials
may be provided. No materials may be provided or recommended.
- No direct service will be provided.
- No recommendation or suggestion for additional service will be made
other than to offer an IEP meeting.
- No recommendation or referral to other providers will be made.
- The professional's obligation and the obvious need for direct service
have been met by the district's offer of a free appropriate public education
- Consultation is not related to an individual child or their needs.
"Advice" about the needs of a specific child shall not be
given. When consultation is requested from the speech/language pathologist,
the special education administrator and consultant should remember that
ethically, a professional may not instruct or treat solely by correspondence
or through a third party. Providing general information of an educational
nature is allowed.
- The consultant or consultation should not refer to the child's IEP
- Generally, contact for one year shall be limited to approximately
five hours. The provider should contact the administrator when five
hours have been provided.
- The district's responsibility will have been reached when the total
number of hours reaches a calculated total of five hours per identified
private school student in the district.
- Services should be logged and documented. Documentation should be
provided to the district administrator monthly.
- Once the annual service limit has been reached it is the shared responsibility
of the consultant and the administrator to communicate and end the consultation
3. Document the assignment of staff
4. Collect log sheets from consultant service providers
5. Calculate and monitor annual service limits
6. Include such students in the Pupil Count
Consultation may include:
- Providing general information of an educational nature
- Providing references for sources for further information and
- Providing information on accommodations and modifications possibilities.
- Providing information about phonemic awareness for articulation
- Providing information on vocabulary development, use of visual
cues, and eliciting language through questioning for language
- Providing information on methods to encourage the students'
oral success and comfort in the classroom for fluency students.
- Providing information on preferential seating, visual cueing
and the redundancy of language for hearing impaired students.
Consultation may not include:
- Recommending or referral to other providers.
- Providing materials or direct services.
- Advice about an individual student or his needs.
- Providing "treatment" through a third party.
- Direct observation of student or review of work samples.
Questions about these instructions may be addressed by contacting the
Preschool Age Students in Private Settings
State and Federal Preschool Regulations cover students ages 3 to 5 inclusively,
and are very different from the Private School provisions for elementary
and secondary students. Preschool age students in private settings, or
not enrolled in any school, continue to be eligible for direct special
education services from their district of residence until their sixth
birthday or until they enroll in elementary school transitional kindergarten.
Occasionally, parents of young children with disabilities prefer to keep
their kindergarten-age eligible children in preschool for an extra year.
These children can continue to receive direct special education services
until their sixth birthday, as long as the private school they attend
has not promoted them to a transitional kindergarten or kindergarten level