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Voluntary Participation in Federal Programs for Private Schools

The following information provides you with preliminary guidance concerning provisions in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 that relate to services and/or benefits for eligible children and employees of private elementary and secondary schools in Colorado.

Services to Students in Private Schools:

The responsibilities of the Local Education Agency (the school district) toward eligible children and teachers in private schools can be found in Section 9501 of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001.

In summary the district must:

  1. after timely and meaningful consultation with appropriate private school officials, provide to those children and their teachers or other educational personnel, on an equitable basis, special educational services or other benefits that address their needs under the program.
  2. provide services, benefits, materials and equipment that are secular, neutral, and non-ideological.
  3. provide services or benefits that are equitable in comparison to services and benefits provided to public school students and teachers.

What is “Timely and Meaningful Consultation?”

SECTION 9501(c) of NCLB states that the LEA “shall consult with the appropriate school officials during the design and development of the programs under this Act, on issues such as –

(A) how the children’s needs will be identified;

(B) what services will be offered;

(C) how, where, and by whom the services will be provided;

(D) how the services will be assessed and how the results of the assessment will be used to improve those services;

(E) the size and scope of the equitable services to be provided to the eligible private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel and the amount of funds available for those services; and

(F) how and when the agency, consortium or entity will make decisions about the delivery of services, including a thorough consideration and analysis of the views of the private school officials on the provisions of contract services through potential third-party providers.

The consultations must be “face to face”. Simply an offer to provide service or an invitation to participate will not satisfy the consultation requirement.

Equitable Participation

The following selection provides guidance regarding the equitable participation of eligible students from private schools from the US Department of Education.

To ensure equitable participation, the LEA or other entity receiving federal financial assistance must assess, address and evaluate the needs of private school students and teachers; spend an equal amount of funds per student to provide services; provide private school students and teachers with an opportunity to participate in activities equivalent to the opportunity provided public school students and teachers; and offer services that are secular, neutral and non-ideological.

This selection is from the publication, Benefits to Private School Students and Teachers published by the Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE).

Applicable Programs

The programs for which Private School children and teachers may be eligible as stated in Section 9501(b) of NCLB are:

Title I, Part A – Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged
Title I, Part B – Reading First and Even Start
Title I, Part C – Migrant Education
Title II, Part A – Preparing, Training and Recruiting High Quality Teachers and Principals
Title II, Part B – Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to use Technology
Title II, Part D – Enhancing Education Through Technology
Title III, Part A – Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students
Title IV, Part A – Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities
Title IV, Part B – Rural and Low-Income School Programs
Title V, Part A – Innovative Programs
Title V, Part D – Gifted and Talented Students


The eligibility of private school students would be determined by using the same standards that the district uses to determine eligibility for students in the public schools within the district. Since Colorado is a “local control” state, those standards may vary from district to district.