Private School for Special Education Students in Los Angeles
Your Child May Qualify for Private School, If the District Doesn’t Meet Their Needs
Perhaps you’ve considered sending your child with special needs to a private school. If this is the case, it is important for you to know that that standards of care may differ from school to school, and that many services that public schools are required to provide special needs students are not enforced the same way in private institutions.
Some private schools specialize in the education of students with special needs, but many do not offer the same assistance. Some private schools may reject a child’s entry into their institution based on the special needs of the student.
If your child is eligible for special education and you choose to send him or her to a private school, he or she could receive special education services that are paid for by the public-school district. To get some answers and some more information, contact the caring and experienced attorneys at Pasadena’s Woodsmall Law Group for a free consultation.
Special Needs Service Evaluations
Under federal law, public school districts are required to be on the lookout for students who may have developmental disabilities. They must evaluate these children. Even if a child is home-schooled or in a private school, there are checks in place to make sure no children with disabilities go without the help they need, regardless of the type of educational institution they are enrolled in.
If your child’s teachers think your young one might have a developmental disability and may need special education resources, there are steps you can take. Families can request an evaluation that is paid for by the public-school system. All evaluations for special needs services are made by the public-school district where the private school is located.
Equitable Services in Private Schools
If your child is found to be in need of special education resources, your family has a choice to make. You can move your child to your local public school so they can receive the full range of special education services, or you can keep them at the private school and get what’s known as “equitable services.”
Because private schools are not required by law to provide special education services to enrolled students, equitable services are provided by the public-school district. However, the funding for equitable services is limited. The way the system is currently implemented, children could end up receiving fewer services if they attend private school than if they switch to public school.
If you choose to send your child to private school, the school and the district may create what’s called an “Individual Services Plan.” This written plan is similar to an Individualized Education Program (IEP), but service plans are typically less comprehensive than an IEP, and it could be difficult to know if your child is getting all of his or her needs met.
Placement for Your Child
When a school district has determined that your child is eligible for special education, the district will also decide which special services and learning environment is suitable. Typically, parents are part of the team that makes this decision on what services are available to the child and where the child will be learning. For many students with special needs, the district will argue that the most appropriate placement is in a general education classroom in local public school, but with the right legal help and advocacy, the district can agree to what’s called an out-of-district placement.
An out-of-district placement is when the district your child is in consents to pay for the cost of sending your child to a school that is approved by the state to educate students with a certain range of disabilities. This occurs when the district agrees that your child’s local public school cannot meet the needs your child has.
If you and the district disagree about the placement your child needs, you can consider a unilateral placement. This process involves notifying the district before enrolling your child in a private school. However, to get the district to pay for the tuition, you’ll most likely have to use a dispute resolution option, which is why you need an experienced special education attorney on your side.
Need Help Reviewing an IEP or Section 504 Plan? Please Call Us
Ensuring that your child can go to a private school that is right for them and still receive the special education services they deserve can be a complicated task. At Woodsmall Law Group, we have a full understanding of both state and federal special education statutes and have helped many Los Angeles families successfully petition for services in private schools. To get your child the education guaranteed by law, call our Pasadena office at (626) 440-0028 to schedule a free case evaluation today.