Administrators LEAD & MANAGE MY SCHOOL
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: Provisions Related to Children With Disabilities Enrolled by Their Parents in Private Schools
March 2011

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Equitable Participation

The 2004 Amendments to IDEA expand upon the 1997 reauthorization and include new requirements to ensure that LEAs provide parentally placed private school children with disabilities an opportunity for equitable participation in programs assisted or carried out under IDEA, the foundation of which is the consultation process.

The major provisions regarding children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private, including religious, elementary and secondary schools are located in the statute at section 612(a)(10)(A) and in the regulations at 34 CFR §§300.130-300.144 and are summarized in the sections below. They concern:

  • Agency responsibility for conducting child find activities and determining equitable services (34 CFR §§300.131 -300.132);

  • Consultation requirements (34 CFR §300.134);

  • Written affirmation of timely and meaningful consultation (34 CFR §300.135);

  • Child find activities (34 CFR §300.131);

  • Data collection requirements (34 CFR §300.132(c));

  • Determination and provision of equitable services (34 CFR §§300.137-300.138);

  • Services plans for children with disabilities receiving equitable services (34 CFR §§300.132(b), 300.137(c) and 300.138(b));

  • Permission for delivery of services at the private schools by LEAs, to the extent consistent with law (34 CFR §300.139(a));

  • Determination of the proportionate share of federal IDEA funds to be spent on equitable services (34 CFR §300.133);

  • Non-availability of an individual entitlement of parentally placed private school students to special education and related services (34 CFR §300.137(a)); and

  • Complaint procedures for private school officials regarding consultation (34 CFR §300.136).

This booklet is not intended to be a replacement for careful study of IDEA and the regulations, which are available at A number of additional provisions found in the law and regulations but that are not covered in this booklet also affect parentally placed children with disabilities. Therefore, it is important for all stakeholders to be familiar with these provisions as well. They concern:

  • Requirement that state and local funds supplement, not supplant, the proportionate share of federal funds (34 CFR §300.133(d));

  • Right to file due process complaints regarding child find and state complaints regarding equitable participation requirements (34 CFR §300.140);

  • Requirements that funds not benefit a private school (34 CFR §300.141);

  • Requirements regarding use of public and private school personnel to provide equitable services (34 CFR §300.142);

  • Prohibition of separate classes based on school enrollment or religion under certain circumstances (34 CFR §300.143);

  • Funds for equitable participation remaining in control of public agency (34 CFR §300.144(a));

  • Definition of child with a disability (34 CFR §300.8);

  • Special procedures for identifying specific learning disabilities (34 CFR §§300.307-300.311);

  • Requirements for highly qualified public school special education teachers (34 CFR §300.18);

  • Parental consent for evaluation and provision of services (34 CFR §300.300);

  • 60-day evaluation timeline or state-established timeline (34 CFR §300.301(c));

  • State advisory panel (34 CFR §§300.167-300.169);

  • Arrangement for a bypass (if LEAs are barred by state law from providing services to private school students or if a public agency has failed or is unwilling to provide for equitable participation) (34 CFR §300.190);

  • Prohibition of mandatory medication (34 CFR §300.174);

  • Changing services plans without a formal team meeting (34 CFR §300.324(a)(4));

  • Accommodation guidelines/alternate assessments (if private school children with disabilities participate in statewide assessments) (34 CFR §300.160); and

  • Reducing litigation to provide an opportunity for resolution within 30 days following a due-process complaint regarding the child find process (34 CFR §300.510).

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Last Modified: 08/02/2017