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Equitable Services in Non-Public Schools

Equitable Services Overview 

Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a local education agency (LEA) must provide services to eligible non-public school students, families, and teachers that are equitable to those provided in eligible public schools.  LEAs and non-public school officials are required to complete and submit the results of consultation to the Equitable Services Ombudsman prior to the LEAs application for ESEA funds. The Federal Programs & Supports Unit (FPSU) of CDE administers programs and distributes funds under this act. This includes supporting the equitable services provisions under Titles I and VIII.  Key Points for Equitable Services include the following:

  • In Titles I and VIII, the law provides for equitable participation of non-public school students, teachers and other educational personnel, and, in some cases, families. 
  • LEAs must conduct consultation with eligible non-public schools in a timely and meaningful manner.
  • Funds generated for equitable services are determined on a per-pupil basis.
  • A public agency (i.e., the LEA) must control funds. Non-public schools do not receive funds.
  • Services must be secular, neutral, and non-ideological; supplemental; and costs must be allowable, necessary, and reasonable.
  • Non-public school officials have the right to file a formal complaint, if these requirements are not being met.

Eligible Non Public Schools and Determination of Eligible Students

The LEA needs to determine the overall number of children from low-income families who reside in participating Title I public school attendance areas and who attend public and non-public schools. Preferably, the same method of determining eligible students is used by the non-public school as that used in the public school. Otherwise, the LEA and non-public school (NPS) can make a plan to use comparable poverty data from a survey or other source. 

Students from specific student groups, such as Multilingual/English Learners, attending NPS might also be eligible for services under ESEA/ESSA. Total enrollment or number of students from each student group must be determined. 

The NPS eligibility for equitable services is made based on poverty and enrollment data the NPS provide to the LEA. The NPS does not typically need to provide the LEA with all supporting documentation for how the data was determined unless requested by the LEA for a monitoring purpose.

Meaningful Consultation

The goal of consultation is agreement between the LEA and appropriate non-public school officials on how to provide equitable and effective programs for eligible children attending non-public schools. The “goal of reaching agreement” between an LEA and appropriate non-public school officials is grounded in timely, meaningful, and open communication between the LEA and the non-public school officials on key issues that are relevant to the equitable participation of eligible non-public school students, teachers and other education personnel, and families in ESEA programs.

Meaningful consultation provides ample time and a genuine opportunity for all parties to express their views, to have their views seriously considered, and to discuss viable options for ensuring equitable participation of eligible students who attend a non-public school, teachers and other education personnel, and families. This assumes that the LEA has not made any decisions that will impact the participation of non-public school students and teachers in applicable programs prior to consultation, or established a blanket rule that precludes non-public school students and teachers from receiving certain services authorized under applicable programs. An LEA must consult with non-public school officials about the timeline for consultation and provide adequate notice of such consultation to ensure meaningful consultation and the likelihood that those involved will be well prepared with the necessary information and data for decision-making. Successful consultation begins well before the implementation of services, establishes positive and productive working relationships, makes planning effective, continues throughout implementation of equitable services, and serves to ensure that the services provided meet the needs of eligible students and teachers.

Consultation forms must be submitted to the Ombudsman for Equitable Services after timely and meaningful consultation. 

Meaningful Consultation includes:

  1. If the NPS wishes to participate in Equitable Services & for which grants

  2. How eligible students will be identified

  3. How children’s and educator’s needs will be identified

  4. Nature and details of services and resources that will be provided to students attending NPS, including if the services will be provided by the LEA or contracted provider

  5. How and when LEA will make decisions related to Equitable Services and how the academic impact of services will be evaluated

  6. If NPS will pool the funds 

  7. What direct or indirect administrative costs will be covered with Federal Funds

  8. Which Family Engagement Activities will be available for eligible NPS families (for Title IA, if total LEA allocation is at least $500,000)

  9. Address concerns of any party


  • NPS Administrators Presentation, November 2023

Narrated PowerPoint


The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has recently released several guidance documents that impact equitable services, including updated Non-Regulatory Guidance for both Title I and Title VIII. These replace all previous non-regulatory guidance. Key resources include the following:

Based on ED’s recent guidance, CDE has updated its guidance and websites: 


As part of federal EDFacts and CSPR reporting requirements, CDE is required to collect a count of students by grade level that received Title I, Part A services at NPS during the fiscal year (July 1- June 30). The LEAs required to complete this collection will receive a data template via email each school year. This template is sent out by early August each year and must be submitted via Syncplicity by the end of September.

To access your Syncplicity folder, please visit to see your folders listed under the Files tab. Please upload the completed template to your OFP-111 Non-Public Schools folder, located within each LEA Federal Reporting folder. If a Syncplicity folder has not already been shared with you, you should receive a separate email from Syncplicity with a link for uploading the completed template. Each LEA should only submit one completed template with the total number of students served in the district, at all non-public schools, by grade level. For questions regarding submission, please contact Tina Negley.

Complaint Procedure 

Non-public school officials have access to a formal complaint process if they do not believe that the LEA has engaged in meaningful consultation or if they believe the LEA is not providing equitable services as agreed to in the consultation process.  The Ombuds for Equitable Services serves as the primary point of contact for questions and requests for support related to equitable services, as well as responding to and supporting resolution of formal complaints when necessary. Christina Adeboye Sullivan serves as Colorado’s NPS Ombuds. 

If a non-public school official believes that timely and meaningful consultation has not occurred, they should first discuss concerns with the LEA point of contact responsible for coordinating the consultation and provision of services between the two entities.  If, after discussing the concerns with the LEA, the non-public school official still believes the issue is unresolved, the official may reach out to the Ombuds for Equitable Services and an informal mediation may occur upon request.  In the event the problem is not resolved, non-public school officials have the right to file a formal written complaint with the Ombuds for Equitable Services.

Filing a Complaint

To file a complaint, the ESEA Complaint Form below must be fully completed.

ESEA Complaint Form

The form requires a party to explain the nature of the complaint, the entities involved and the resolution being sought. See the complaint form for exact requirements.

CDE will send a copy of the complaint to all parties involved. Those entities will be allowed to respond to the complaint in writing within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt.

CDE, at its discretion, may allow the parties to present additional information or evidence in person and/or in writing. 

No additions or corrections may be made to the written complaint once the complaint has been submitted, unless requested by CDE.

Complaint Resolution

CDE will typically respond to properly submitted complaints within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of the complaint or within 60 calendar days of receipt of a response by a named party or receipt of documents requested by CDE. CDE may extend the response timeline. If such an extension is necessary, CDE will notify all parties in writing of the reason for the extension and the new response timeline.

Depending on the nature of the complaint and the type of relief sought, CDE may not be able provide a resolution or remedy. If the complaint is beyond the scope of CDE’s authority, the parties will be informed in writing and directed to the appropriate entity to resolve the dispute.

CDE will issue a written resolution which will include the following:

  • A citation to and statement of the ESEA program requirements involved.
  • A summary of the information, records or data reviewed and considered.
  • The conclusions for each allegation, including the reasons for the conclusion.
  • Any technical assistance, negotiation or corrective action that must occur and when the action must occur.

The written resolution will be mailed to all parties involved. CDE’s written resolution is final - no further appeal may be made at the state level.

For Additional Information Contact:

Christina Adeboye Sullivan
Program Implementation Coordinator & Non-Public Schools Ombudsman
720-498-2252 (c)