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(5.39) If I place my child in a nonpublic licensed school on my own, would the school district have to provide services?

(5.39) If I place my child in a nonpublic licensed school on my own, would the school district have to provide services?

If you “unilaterally” place your child at a non-public school without the consent of the IEP team, she has no individual right to special education and related services.  [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.137(a).]  Write a letter to your child’s school informing them of their duty to have goals and services related to your child’s behavioral needs in her IEP.

For students unilaterally enrolled in an NPS by their parents, a district is still responsible for full implementation of its “child-find” and assessment responsibilities, but has extremely limited obligations for providing related services. [34 C.F.R. Secs. 300.131-132.]  This means that a student may receive a different, and significantly smaller, amount of services than a child in a public school.  The amount of money spent on these students will be limited to a proportionate share of the federal dollars received by the district (based on the number of these students there are in the district).  [34 C.F.R. Secs. 300.133 – 138.]  The services the district provides will be written in a service plan, not an IEP.  The district makes the final decisions with respect to the specific services after consultation with local NPS officials.  [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.137(b).]  If a related service is agreed to in the child’s service plan by a school district and transportation is necessary for a student to benefit from, or participate in one of these services, the district must also provide the necessary transportation.  [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.139(b).]

You are not entitled to a due process proceeding to challenge a school district’s refusal to provide certain services or the amount of services offered or to provide the services written into a child’s service plan.  [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.140.] However, the compliance complaint process is still available to challenge issues such as the district’s failure to implement its child-find or assessment responsibilities or to consult with local NPS school officials in determining the nature and scope of its limited service responsibilities.  [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.140; see also Chapter 6, Information on Due Process/Compliance Procedures.]

Because of the constitutional separation of church and state, children attending religious schools can only attend these schools as a result of unilateral placement by their parents.  However, the limited related services may be provided by districts on the site of religious schools “to the extent consistent with law”. 

[34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.139; see also Chapter 4, Information on IEP Process.]