June 1st is coming - and it reminded me of a particularly sad CSE meeting that I attended a few years ago. There are rules and regulations governing special education in NYS and to some degree there is room for interpretation of those rules and regulations. Parents and districts sometimes disagree on what those rules and regulations mean, and sometimes districts can 'bend' the regulations to accommodate student needs.
In the sad meeting I referenced I sat in amazement as the CSE chairperson approved every single service for a child - and I was surprised because this particular chairperson had a reputation among the parents for being somewhat recalcitrant to parent requests and unfriendly in general. I really didn't expect the meeting to go so smoothly because it was the parent's intent to enroll their child in a private school but they were still asking for special education supports from the school district. There are legal parameters for what a district has to do in these situations and in general it is a complicated process to wade through.
I am infrequently silent in CSE meetings but I sat quietly and wondered if the chairperson had some religious conversion or other change of heart that would lead to such a different attitude. Every service that the parent requested was approved.
As the meeting was about to close and as the parent had a broad smile on her face and sincere thankfulness that their child was going to get everything that she perceived he needed - the chairperson looked at his watch and said, "Oh how unfortunate. Your plan is to send your child to a private school next year, and the deadline for completing the dual enrollment forms was June 1st- and it is now June 15th. I guess we won't be able to provide these services after all because you haven't signed the dual enrollment forms by the specified deadline."
My jaw hit the table at the absolute evil this chairperson just unleashed. "Come back next year," he smirked. "And don't forget to fill out your dual enrollment forms before the June 1st deadline."
So June 1st is coming quickly and parents need to be aware of the date. Enough time has passed that I am able to type this without hurling obscenities - but here is the specific rule that pertains to this issue that all parents need to be aware of:
Students with disabilities who are residents of the State attending nonpublic schools located in the State are dually enrolled in the public schools for purposes of special education and receive services pursuant to an individualized education service program (IESP) developed by the CSE of the school district of location in the same manner and with the same contents as an IEP. Special education services provided to parentally placed students with disabilities must be provided on an equitable basis. Parents must request special education services before June 1 preceding the school year for which the request is made subject to certain exceptions. Parents of students attending nonpublic schools may bring an impartial hearing to challenge their IESP. Requires regulations for procedures for the district of location to recover costs for non-resident New York State (NYS) students.
Federal law requires that the school district in which the nonpublic school is located use a proportionate share of its Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds to provide services to nonpublic school students, based on consultation with nonpublic school representatives. Districts develop a Services Plan (SP) for a student that does not create an individual right to services. Nonpublic school students do not have an individual right to services under IDEA and therefore are not entitled to a due process hearing. There are no federal procedures for the recovery of tuition costs incurred by the school district in which the nonpublic school is located for nonresident students, where the services required under state law exceed the federal minimum and require a substantial state and local contribution.
Each state has different guidelines and requirements that can exceed but not be less than the federal requirement. I encourage families and providers to be aware of the laws that govern this issue in their own states.
New York State Education Department (2010). New York State Law, Regulations and Policy Not Required by Federal Law/Regulation/Policy Revised January 2010 Retrieved May 27, 2010 from http://www.vesid.nysed.gov/specialed/idea/analysis-jan10.html