Legal Rights of Parentally Placed
Private School Students with Disabilities
When students with disabilities enroll in our schools, it is very important to understand that the legal rights families of students with disabilities receive in a private school are very different than the legal rights of families of students who are enrolled in public schools.
Listed below are common questions parents have regarding the placement of students with disabilities in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.
What are public school districts required to provide to serve parentally placed private school students?
Public school districts must spend a "proportionate share" of the federal funds they receive to serve students with special needs (there is no requirement to include state or local tax dollars).
How is this dollar amount calculated?
The total amount of federal funds received by the school district for the current fiscal year is
the total number of private school students ages 3-21 who have been identified as eligible to receive services, whether or not they are receiving services,
the total number of public school children with disabilities 3-21 who have been identified as eligible to receive services, whether or not they are receiving services,
the total number of private school students 3-21 who have been identified as eligible to receive services, whether or not they are receiving services,
the total amount of federal funds to be spent on services to private school children ages 3-21 for the current fiscal year.
# of eligible children in private school = 25
# of eligible children in public school = 300
Total federal funds to school district = $150,000
$150,000/325 = $461.54 x 25 = $11,538.46
$11,538.46 is the total amount required by law to be spent for the group of children parentally placed in private schools.
It is important to note that most school districts that work with our schools spend significantly more than their "proportionate share" serving our students.
Does each student with special needs receive services equal to his or her proportionate share?
Any entitlement to services exists on behalf of the collective group of private schools students. No private school child with a disability has an individual right to receive whatever services could be purchased with his or her own individually computed "proportionate amount" of funding.
Who decides how a school district will spend their required amount of federal funds?
School districts are permitted to decide how they will spend their required amount of federal funds. Parents play no legal role in deciding how a school district will spend the required amount of federal funds on private school students. However, school districts must consult with representatives of private school children with disabilities to decide which private school children will receive services.
Are public schools required to serve every private school student with a disability?
A school district is not required to serve every private school child with a disability. Private school children with disabilities may receive a different amount of services than children with disabilities in public schools. Moreover, no private school child with a disability is entitled to any service or to any amount of a service the child would receive if enrolled in a public school.
For example, a school district may decide to spend their "proportionate share" on Speech and Language services that would mean that only students needing speech therapy services would receive services from the public school district. In this instance, students would not receive occupational therapy, physical therapy, and/or specialized instructional services.
Another example would be when a child moves into a new district with a current IEP. The new public school district could choose not to serve that child enrolled in a private school because it has already met its "proportionate share" obligations, or the public school district could choose to change the type and amount of services specified on the IEP. (It is important to note that, in most instances, the new public school district would accept the IEP and provide the type and amount of services specified specified in the current IEP.)
Who decides what services are provided for a student and how the services will be provided and evaluated?
Public schools are required to consult with representatives of the private schools, however, the public school district decides not only which children will receive services, but also what services will be provided, how the services will be provided, and how the services provided will be evaluated.
For more information regarding Parentally Placed Private School Students go to the Office of Non-Public Education, U.S. Department of Education at www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oii/nonpublic/programs2.html or the National Catholic Education Association at www.ncea.org/public/IDEASpecialEducation.asp.
For additional information please download the booklets below from the U.S. Department of Education: