In California, state law requires that all children age six through eighteen attend a public day school. Students enrolled in a private school that files the affidavit are exempt from compulsory education. Students who are homeschooled are either public school students using a public charter school or private school students who are homeschooled under a private school affidavit (“PSA”). Therefore, in California, you are either a public school student or private school student. A private school student’s rights to services under the IDEA are different than the rights of a public school student. However, they do have some rights designed to ensure equitable participation of parentally placed private school children with disabilities.
The requirements of Child Find (20 USC Section 1412( a)(3)) are the same for private and public school. Jurisdiction for the student in the private school falls on the local educational agency (“LEA”) where the private school is located. So, if your child attends a private school in San Ramon, a parent who wishes to request an assessment would request an assessment from the San Ramon School District. If the student is homeschooled under a PSA, the address of the school would determine the agency responsible for Child Find.
The LEA, under Child Find, is required to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services. The LEA has 60 days of receipt of parental consent to conduct an initial evaluation.
The LEA must obtain parental consent before they are able to conduct an evaluation or provide services to the student. If a parent withholds consent, the LEA may not seek consent through due process.
The LEA is required to consult with a representative of the private school and parents of parentally placed private school students with disabilities during the design and development of special education and related services for the student. The LEA must give meaningful consideration to the of the views of the private school representative and parents.
If your student qualifies for special education, you are entitled to equitable services. Equitable services is determined by the amount of funding provided to the LEA. Because funding is limited, your student might receive fewer free services than if he or she attended public school.
Each student who has been designated to receive special education and/or related services must have a services plan. The services plan describes the specific special education and/or related services that the LEA will provide to the student. The provision of equitable services may be made through employees of a public agency or through a third party contract.
The LEA must ensure that the process used to develop the services plan is consistent with the process used to develop and review an IEP for a public school student. Measurable goals shall be written for services offered under the services plan.
A private school representative has the right to file a complaint to with the State Educational Agency (“SEA”) if the LEA did not engage in a timely or meaningful consultation.
Parents only have the right to file for due process for Child Find violations. Additional complaints may be made with the SEA.
Parents May Choose to Enroll in Public School
Parents of a privately-placed student with a disability may choose to enroll their student in their local public school. If an eligible student becomes a public school student they will have all the rights under the IDEA.
If you have further questions about this issue, do not hesitate to contact Kristin Springer at (925) 551-1041.
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