TO: Day School and Community Leaders
FROM: Nathan J. Diament, Director, Institute for Public Affairs
Howie Beigelman, Deputy Director, Institute for Public Affairs
DATE: July 28, 2005
RE: New Special Education Regulations – IDEA revisions
President Bush signed a reauthorization of IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Act) on December 3, 2004. Recently, the Department of Education released new regulations governing IDEA and specifically, regulations intended to see special education services are fairly provided to non-public school students.
The most significant aspect of IDEA 2004 is regarding Child Find:
New regulations effective July 1 require states as well as Local Education Agencies (local school boards/districts) to consult with all private schools in the district and perform a comprehensive Child Find for any private school students within that district requiring special education or related services.
In the past, Child Find fell to the district where the child resided, regardless of where they were enrolled. Each LEA now must contact each private school in their district to determine which students require services. Note: For the 2005-06 school year, the best available data will do. But beginning next year, these regulations will be in full force.
We urge schools not to wait till they are contacted but to be proactive in reaching out to their own local school districts and making sure all appropriate and available services are provided to students in need.
Day schools and communities should also contact their local districts regarding IDEA 2004’s requirement that parents and private schools be consulted on Child Find, the Child Find process and provision of services to eligible children.
In particular, in this regard, IDEA 2004 requires:
Use of a proportionate share of federal IDEA funds to provide services to students with disabilities in private schools and requiring public school districts consult with private school/parent representatives about how Child Find identifies private school students with disabilities and how they will be served.
In addition, other noteworthy aspects of IDEA 2004 require:
Public school officials must put in writing a reason denying direct services to private school students if private school representatives request such services (rather than indirect services to teachers).
IDEA 2004 institutes an accurate record keeping requirement regarding the number of private school students requesting evaluations, receiving evaluations, and given services and creates a complaint procedure for private school representatives and parents to use.
Should you have any questions or need any assistance in reaching public officials regarding this matter, please contact the OU/IPA offices at 212-613-8123 or 202-513-6484 or to contact NJCD at 212-613-8229.