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Guidance: Nonprofit Private Schools

Consolidated Application, Spring Release Guidance for the 2020–21 Nonprofit Private Schools data collections.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act, Section 8501 requires local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide services to eligible private school students, teachers, and other educational personnel. These services must be equitable in comparison to the services provided for students, teachers, and other educational personnel in public schools.

The LEA is responsible for initiating consultation process with eligible private schools located within its geographic jurisdiction, and for providing services to eligible students, teachers, and other educational personnel. The LEA maintains control of the federal funds used to provide services, and the nonprofit private schools receive no direct federal funding.

Consultation: Equitable services for private school students, teachers, and educational personnel must be developed in consultation with the officials of participating private schools. The consultation process must be both timely and meaningful. Consultation must occur before the LEA makes any decision (such as ordering materials or hiring staff) that affects the opportunities of the private school students, teachers, or other educational personnel to participate, and must address issues such as:

  • How the student’s needs will be identified;
  • What services will be offered;
  • How, where, and by whom the services will be provided;
  • How the services will be assessed and how the results of the assessment will be used to improve those services;
  • The size and scope of the equitable services to be provided to the eligible private school students, teachers, and other educational personnel and the amount of funds available for those services and how that amount is determined; and
  • How and when the LEA will make decisions about the delivery of services, including a thorough consideration and analysis of the views of the private school officials on the provision of contract services through potential third-party providers.

The LEA may request documentation, as needed, from private school officials that enables the LEA to identify students who are eligible under the applicable ESEA program and the appropriate services that meet the needs of those private school students, their teachers, or other educational personnel. However, the request for documentation should not constitute an administrative barrier that is inconsistent with the LEA’s responsibility to ensure equitable participation of private school students, teachers, and other educational personnel.

The LEA should thoroughly document and maintain a record of the consultation process in order to verify that it has met the requirement for timely and meaningful consultation and has provided equitable services. If the LEA consulted with a private school that chose not to participate in services, the LEA should maintain documentation that supports the fact that the district initiated contact and offered equitable services that were declined.

Additional information and guidance, concerning private school participation in ESEA, is available on the California Department of Education (CDE) Title II, Part A, Equitable Services web page and the CDE Equitable Services Ombudsman web page.

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Last Reviewed: Thursday, August 12, 2021
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