ERIC Number: EJ759509
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-May-18
Reference Count: N/A
Private Schools Hail Changes to IDEA
Samuels, Christina A.
Education Week, v24 n37 p1, 24 May 2005
Private school students with special needs are among the intended beneficiaries of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Parents and private school advocates hope changes in the newest version of the law will make it easier for them to get school district services without having to enroll in public schools. Under the IDEA, school districts are required to spend a proportionate share of their federal special education funding on students who were enrolled by their parents in private schools. For instance, if private schools enroll 10 percent of all the students with special needs in a district, the district should spend 10 percent of its federal IDEA allocation on services for private school students. That proportionate-share formula has not changed since the 1997 reauthorization of the federal law. The version of the law that Congress enacted in late 2004, however does include some changes that private school supporters have welcomed. For example, districts now must provide services to students who attend private schools within the district's boundaries, even if the student resides in another school district, whereas, in the 1997 version of the IDEA, districts were required to offer services only to the students who lived within that district's boundaries. Among the other changes in the 2004 law are requirements that private and public schools have "timely and meaningful" consultations on special education services and that districts maintain written affirmations that such meetings have taken place. Also under the latest reauthorization, districts are required to report to the state the number of private school students who have been evaluated, and how many have been determined to have some kind of disability. Districts also must record and report the number of private school children they evaluate, the number determined to have a disability, and the total number served.
Descriptors: Special Needs Students, Federal Legislation, Disabilities, Private Schools, Special Education, Educational Legislation, Advocacy, Educational Finance, School Districts
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act