The U.S. Department of Education issued a guidance document on requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for students placed by their parents in private schools, who are not enrolled in their local educational agency. It updates and supersedes the Department’s guidance, titled Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by Their Parents in Private Schools, that was first issued in April 2011. The new guidance also includes additional questions and answers that address topics that have arisen concerning the provisions of IDEA and its implementing regulations.
According to the guidance, children with disabilities attending private schools will generally fall into one of three categories: (1) those placed by their parents, who are not enrolled in the LEA, and for whom the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is not at issue; (2) those placed by their parents and who are, or previously were, enrolled in the LEA and the provision of FAPE is at issue; and (3) those placed by the LEA as the means of ensuring that FAPE is made available.
The DOE’s Q&A document is intended to provide guidance regarding the IDEA requirements applicable to the first category of students — children with disabilities placed by their parents in private schools, who are not enrolled in the LEA, and for whom the provision of FAPE is not at issue. It covers a wide range of topics, including child find, equitable services, service plans, transportation, home-schooled children, preschool, school closures, dispute resolution, and much more. It is a must-read for special education and other administrators.
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