Children with Disabilities in Private Schools and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) is designed to improve the educational results of children with disabilities.
IntroductionThe IDEA provides benefits and services to children within public schools and requires school districts to make services and benefits available to students in private schools. The local education agency (“LEA”) with jurisdiction over the district where the private school is located is responsible for administering the IDEA requirements for private school children with disabilities. In particular, this includes an obligation that the LEA locate, identify, evaluate, and spend a proportionate amount of IDEA federal funds to provide equitable special education and related services to eligible disabled private school children in that district. This includes a requirement for the LEA to provide direct services to disabled children or through a contract with a third party.
Services PlanEach disabled private school child that has been designated eligible to receive special education and related services must have a “services plan.” The LEA is required to ensure that a representative of the private school attend each meeting to develop the services plan for each disabled private school child. To the extent appropriate, the services plan for each disabled private school child should meet the applicable individualized education program content requirements. Additionally, the plan should be developed, reviewed, and revised according to the requirements related to the IEP team, parent participation, and when IEPs must be in effect.
LEA's requirementsWhile a LEA is not required to provide transportation from a disabled private school child’s home to the private school, the LEA is required to provide transportation from the school or the home to a site other than the private school in the event services are required elsewhere. Of note, if a LEA evaluates a private school child and determines that he or she is eligible under the IDEA, but the parent refuses equitable services under a services plan, the LEA must still include this child in the calculation of eligible private school children with disabilities in that district.