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(4.61) How can my child qualify for “extended school year” (ESY) services?

(4.61) How can my child qualify for “extended school year” (ESY) services?

Federal regulations define extended school year (ESY) services as “special education and related services … that are provided to a child with a disability … beyond the normal school year of the public agency … in accordance with the child’s IEP…” These must be provided at no cost to the parent and must meet state standards. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.106(b).] Under state law, a student must meet certain eligibility requirements for ESY services under California law. To qualify, a student must show:

  1. His disabilities “are likely to continue indefinitely or for a prolonged period;
  2. Interruption of his educational program may cause regression;
  3. Limited recoupment capacity; and
  4. The above factors make it “impossible or unlikely” that he will attain self-sufficiency and independence without ESY services.

However, the “lack of clear evidence” of the above factors may not be used to deny a student ESY if the IEP team determines the need for such a program and it is written into the IEP. [5 C.C.R. Sec. 3043.]

When writing the IEP, it is important to understand that the special education and related services provided to your child during the extended school year must be “comparable in standards, scope, and quality to the special education program offered during the regular academic year.” [5 C.C.R. Sec. 3043(f)(2).] In addition, federal regulations state that the school district may not “[l]imit extended school year services to particular categories of disability; or … unilaterally limit the type, amount, or duration of those services.” [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.106(a)(3).]