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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.
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.
Meaningful Consultation includes:
If the NPS wishes to participate in Equitable Services & for which grants
How eligible students will be identified
How children’s and educator’s needs will be identified
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
How and when LEA will make decisions related to Equitable Services and how the academic impact of services will be evaluated
If NPS will pool the funds
What direct or indirect administrative costs will be covered with Federal Funds
Which Family Engagement Activities will be available for eligible NPS families (for Title IA, if total LEA allocation is at least $500,000)
Address concerns of any party
NPS Administrators Presentation, November 2023
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:
CDE Equitable Services Web Page (Updates in progress)
CDE Non-Public Schools Web Page (Updates in progress)
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 my.syncplicity.com 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.
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.
To file a formal written complaint, please access and submit the following document to the Ombuds for Equitable Services to Non-Public Schools:
- Equitable Services to Non-public Schools Complaint Procedure Form (Released 2023)
For additional information regarding the provision of equitable services, contact Christina Adeboye Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 720-498-2252.