Special Education Services for Private School Students in CA
Parents of children with disabilities who choose to enroll their children in private schools have the right to receive special education services provided by the District of Location (DOL), which is the local district where the private school or facility is located.
Public school districts must assess and evaluate students with disabilities. They are also required to provide comparable services to children with disabilities who attend private schools in their area.
Public school districts do not have to provide Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students who attend private schools. But federal law does require school districts to set aside a proportional amount of their special education budget for children with disabilities who attend private schools located within their district.
DOL representatives must consult with local private school officials in a timely and meaningful way about the types the services they will be providing for students with special needs who are attending private schools.
The DOL is required to communicate with representatives of private schools in their area and inform them of the following:
- Which services will be provided
- Which disabilities will be considered for services
- How and where services will be provided
- How these services will be evaluated
How Are Special Education Services Provided for Private Schools Students?
The Local Education Agency (LEA) is legally required to find all children who may be entitled to receive special education. And Child Find requires public schools to look for, find, and evaluate kids who are eligible for special education. Private schools may also refer students to the DOL for testing.
The DOL does not have to provide an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for private school students. In these cases, an Individualized Services Plan (ISP) must be developed and implemented by the child’s private school. But the DOL is required to initiate and conduct meetings to develop, review, and revise the ISP.
The DOL is legally mandated to do the following when in regards to assisting private schools and providing services for students with disabilities:
- Make eligibility decisions.
- Ensure that activities are comparable to those provided in a public school setting.
- Assess students who have not been previously assessed by a school district.
- Set aside a portion of federal funds made available in the Part B grant for local assistance to private schools.
- Provide private school officials with a written description of available services.
- Provide transportation from the private school to the site where services will be provided (but not from the student’s home).
- Distribute materials regarding criteria, eligibility, and referral procedures to representatives of private schools, including parents, teachers, administrators, and students.
- Provide up to 3 staff development days per year for private school staff.
- Provide up to 10 hours of consultation per student per year.
- Provide up to 12 hours of consultation per year to private schools for assisting students with a visual impairment.
Are You Concerned About the Special Education Services Your Child Is Receiving?
Private school students with disabilities have rights. If you have a dispute, you may submit a complaint. You can also request a dispute resolution hearing with the Office of Administrative Hearings.
To learn more, contact Woodsmall Law Group right away. We serve children with special needs and their parents in Los Angeles County, focusing on the San Gabriel Valley. We have been helping families make the most out of their educational opportunities for over 18 years.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s private school placement or the services they are receiving, please call (626) 440-0028 to schedule a FREE initial consultation. We speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Polish, and Spanish.