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Equitable Services in Non-Public Schools

Equitable Services Overview 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law by President Obama on December 10, 2015 and includes updates to the equitable services provisions under Title I and Title VIII.  Updates include the following:

  • Requires the state to give timely notice to private school officials regarding the amount of the allocation for educational services and other benefits for private school students
  • Requires the proportional share of funds for equitable services be calculated based on the district’s entire Title I, Part A allocation, prior to determining any allowable expenditures or transfers
  • Requires all funding for equitable services be obligated in the first fiscal year that the funds are available to districts
  • Creates a state-level ombudsman to monitor and enforce equitable services requirements
  • Requires the state to give timely notice to private school officials regarding the amount of the allocation for educational services and other benefits for private school students
  • Strengthens the timely and meaningful consultation provisions by requiring discussion of additional topics
  • Requires districts to submit the results of the timely and meaningful consultation to the ombudsman
  • Requires districts to provide private school officials with a written explanation of the reasons the district disagrees with the view of private school officials on a particular consultation topic
  • Gives private school officials the option of signing an affirmation stating the district did not engage in timely and meaningful consultation
  • Updates the states services option and procedures
  •  Adds specific time frames for the SEA and ED to consider a complaint from private school officials

Consultation

The goal of consultation is agreement between the LEA and appropriate private school officials on how to provide equitable and effective programs for eligible private school children. The “goal of reaching agreement” between an LEA and appropriate private school officials is grounded in timely, meaningful, and open communication between the LEA and the private school officials on key issues that are relevant to the equitable participation of eligible private 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 private school students, teachers and other education personnel, and families. This assumes that the LEA has not made any decisions that will impact the participation of private school students and teachers in applicable programs prior to consultation, or established a blanket rule that precludes private school students and teachers from receiving certain services authorized under applicable programs. An LEA must consult with private 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.  The 2017-18 Consultation Form and Sample Interdistrict Memorandum of Understanding are provided below; however, an updated version of these forms will be available to LEAs soon.  Please use the following documents for information purposes only.

Resources

Complaint Procedure 

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.   Non-public school officials have recourse through the 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 form.  The Ombudsman for Equitable Services serves as the primary point of contact for responding to and resolving any complaints regarding equitable services.

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 Ombudsman 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 Ombudsman for Equitable Services.

To file a formal written complaint, please access and submit the following document to the Ombudsman for Equitable Services to Non-public Schools:

 

For additional information regarding the provision of equitable services, contact the Ombudsman for Equitable Services:  Colleen Brooks  303-866-3897​

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