A Special Education Guideline For Special Education Services for Non-Public School Students

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1 TO: FROM: A Special Education Guideline For Special Education Services for Non-Public School Students Principals, SAT Members, Unique Learners Professional Staff Chris McHugh and Kim Gibbons N U M B E R 17 DATE: August 20, 2003 This guideline applies to those students residing within the school district s boundaries yet attend a non-public school within the district (note; in cases where a student attends a non-public school outside their district of residence, contact the Director of Special Education or the Unique Learners Manager). Non-public school students typically attend home school or private school settings. This guideline discusses the areas of Referral and Identification, Provision of Special Education Services, and Transportation and cites relevant legal references. There are a growing number of parents teaching their children at home. During the school year, there were 2,322 students being home schooled in Minnesota. During the school year, that number rose to 13,081. During the school year, there were 844,410 students enrolled in Minnesota public schools and another 84,095 enrolled in non-public schools other than home schools. (From Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning Publication: Home Schooling in Minnesota) Home schools are considered to be private or non-public schools; therefore, procedures dealing with special education issues with children in private or non-public schools will also be applied to home school students. State and Federal laws are clear that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that includes special education and related services to meet their unique needs. Public school districts are responsible for the identification of pupils with disabilities and providing special education and related services to eligible students who reside in the district and attend a non-public school.

2 Sp. Ed. G. #17 Page 1 : Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) The purpose of the Code of Federal Regulations, title 34, part 300, is to: a) ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living, b) ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and their parents are protected, c) assist States, localities, educational service agencies, and Federal agencies to provide for the education of all children with disabilities; and d) assess and ensure the effectiveness of efforts to education children with disabilities. 34 CFR (a) A recipient that operates a public elementary or secondary education program shall provide a free appropriate public education to each qualified handicapped person who is in the recipient s jurisdiction, regardless of the severity of the person s handicap. MN. Statute 125A.18 Special Instruction: Non-public Schools No resident of a district who is eligible for special instruction and services under this section may be denied instruction and service on a shared time basis consistent with section 126C.19, subd. 4, because of attending a non-public school defined in section 123B.41, subd.9. Referral and Identification The process for referral and identification of students with a disability attending a nonpublic school is the same as for those students attending a public school. Typically, the classroom teacher or parent requests that the pupil be evaluated for special education services. Thus, all referrals for evaluations for non-public school children must be processed through the local building s Student Support Team (SST). All due process procedures, forms, including planning meetings, must be followed. Normally, home school and private school providers are not as familiar with special education procedures as that of public school providers. It is, therefore, suggested that a referral meeting be scheduled with all involved parties to discuss special education processes including pre-referral intervention requirements. Team membership requirements indicate that the regular education teacher is to be involved with the evaluation planning and Individual Education Plan (IEP) development. This may be the non-public school teacher. All other team membership requirements apply as for a public school student. Meetings and evaluations may be conducted at either the non-public school or at the public school; however, the public school has the authority to determine where the meetings and evaluations will be held. In most cases, best practice indicates to evaluate the pupil in their regular environment especially when conducting classroom observations.

3 Sp. Ed. G. #17 Page 2 MN. Rule Identification of Pupils with Disabilities School districts shall develop systems designed to identify pupils with disabilities beginning at birth, pupils with disabilities attending public and non-public school, and pupils with disabilities who are of school age and are not attending any school. Provision of Special Education Services Once a non-public school student has been identified as eligible for special education services, an IEP must be developed that includes special education and related services to meet their unique needs. These services may be provided at the non-public school or the public school or a neutral site. The public school has the authority to determine the location of these services. Other related activities may include meeting or consulting periodically with the nonpublic school staff to review progress of the pupil in their special education program and periodically observing the pupil in the non-public school classroom to evaluate special education services. All these issues should be discussed and included as part of the student s IEP. Any equipment or individualized instructional materials made available to the non-public school are only to be used to implement the student s IEP. As a note to special education service providers, be sure to include the non-public school special education student in the special education child count data and the SCRED data base. MN. Statute 123B.41 Neutral Site Neutral site means a public center, a non-sectarian school, a mobile unit located off the non-public school premises which is neither physically nor educationally identified with the functions of the non-public school. MN. Statute 126C.19 Subd. 4. Location of services a) Public school programs that provide instruction in core curriculum may be provided to shared time pupils only at a public school building. Public school programs, excluding programs that provide instruction in core curriculum, may be provided to shared time pupils at a public school building, a neutral site, the nonpublic school, or any other suitable location. b) For those children with a disability under sections 125A.03 to 125A.24 who attend a non-public school at their parent s choice, a school district may provide special instruction and services at the non-public school building, a public school, or at a neutral site other than a non-public school as defined in section , subd. 13. The school district shall determine the location at which to provide services on a student-by-student basis, consistent with federal law.

4 Sp. Ed. G. #17 Page 3 Transportation The resident school district is responsible to provide the necessary transportation for a non-public school student from the non-public school to the neutral site where special education services are delivered on a shared-time basis. This service should be indicated in the IEP. The IEP team may wish to investigate alternative transportation including the parent transporting the student, the non-public school transporting the student, or the public school district contracting with the parent or non-public school to transport the student. (note; in cases where a student attends a non-public school outside their district of residence, contact the Director of Special Education or the Unique Learners Manager) MN. Statute 125A.18 Special Instruction; Non-public Schools If a resident pupil with a disability attends a non-public school located within the district of residence, the district must provide necessary transportation for that pupil within the district between the non-public school and the educational facility where special instruction and services are provided on a shared time basis.

5 Sp. Ed. G. #17 Page 4

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