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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
March 15, 2019

Dear Special Education Directors and Select Nonpublic Agency Administrators:

Out-of-State Nonpublic Agency Certification Requirements

The purpose of this correspondence is to reiterate the requirement that any nonpublic agency (NPA) located out-of-state must be certified by the state of location to provide related services as an eligibility requirement to become certified by the California Department of Education (CDE), in accordance with California Education Code (EC) Section 56365(h) and California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) Section 3060(c)(18):

EC 56365(h)

In addition to meeting the requirements of Section 56366.1, a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency that operates a program outside of this state shall be certified or licensed by that state to provide, respectively, special education and related services and designated instruction and related services to pupils under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C Sec 1400 et seq.)

5 CCR 3060(c)(18)

Each nonpublic school or nonpublic agency application shall include all information required by the CDE's application pursuant to Education Code sections 56366.1(a) and (b) and:

(18) for out-of-state applicants, a copy of the current certification or license by the state education agency to provide education services to individuals with exceptional needs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;

Effective immediately, new out-of-state applicants that do not meet the requirements set forth in statute and regulations will not qualify for certification. NPAs that currently hold a certification will be allowed to maintain certification through their current certification end date, but must provide evidence of certification by the state of location to be considered for certification renewal by the CDE.

Contracting local educational agencies or special education local plan areas should strive to locate and contract with providers located in California prior to contracting with providers outside the state, in accordance with EC 56365(e):

Before contracting with a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency outside of this state, the local educational agency shall document its efforts to utilize public schools or to locate an appropriate nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency program, or both, within the state.

If the contracting entity cannot identify an appropriate NPA to provide related services, EC 56366.2 allows the contracting entity to submit a petition to waive portions of EC 56365, 56366, 56366.3, and 56366.6.

In addition, EC 56365(f) requires the contracting entity to submit a report to the CDE within 15 days of a decision to place a student with an out-of-state NPA.

If a local educational agency places a pupil with a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency outside of this state, the pupil’s individualized education program team shall submit a report to the [CDE] within 15 days of the placement decision. The report shall include information about the special education and related services provided by the out-of-state program placement and the costs of the special education and related services provided, and shall indicate the efforts of the local educational agency to locate an appropriate public school or nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, or a combination thereof, within the state. The [CDE] shall submit a report to the board on all placements made outside of this state.

If there are any questions regarding this subject, please contact Brian Maxwell, Staff Services Manager I, Nonpublic Agencies Unit, by phone at 916-327-0141 or by email at


Original signed by Kristin Wright. A hard copy of the signed document is available by contacting the Nonpublic Agencies Unit by phone at 916-327-0141.

Kristin Wright, Director
Special Education Division

cc: Special Education Local Plan Area Directors

Last Reviewed: Friday, May 19, 2023

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