A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Serving Private School Students With Federal Education Programs

CHAPTER 4.....Other Federal Programs Serving Private Schools and Their Students

The programs contained in this chapter do not represent every program that can affect non- public schools. Rather, these programs are included because of the frequency of inquiries received by the Office of Non-Public Education from non-public school officials.

Transfer of Excess and Surplus Federal Computer Equipment

The federal government has a program to donate educationally useful federal equipment to schools and nonprofit organizations. Private as well as public schools are eligible, prekindergarten through 12th grade. Schools may transfer this equipment permanently or temporarily to a teacher, administrator, student, employee, or other designated person for furtherance of educational goals. These provisions are included in Executive Order 12999 ("Educational Technology: Ensuring Opportunity for All Children in the Next Century"), signed by President Clinton on April 17, 1996.

To find out more about the availability of excess and surplus federal computer equipment, contact one or more of the following:

The Office of Non-Public Education has prepared a packet of information on obtaining surplus federal property. To request a copy, write the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Non-Public Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202- 0122 or phone 202/401-1365.

Child Nutrition Programs


Child Nutrition Programs, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are open to participation by private schools. Applications for participation in any of the Child Nutrition Programs are obtained by contacting the Child Nutrition Program coordinator for your state or by calling Alberta Frost, Director, Child Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22302, telephone 703/305-2620.

National School Lunch and National School Breakfast Programs

The National School Lunch and the National School Breakfast Programs provide cash and commodity assistance to schools that serve meals that meet the dietary requirements of the statute. Through this program, schools provide free or reduced-price meals to students that qualify under the poverty guidelines of the program, which are adjusted for family size. Other children may purchase meals at cost. Schools receive reimbursement for each meal served. The highest rates of reimbursement are provided for meals served to children eligible for free meals and reduced-price meals.

Special Milk Program

The Special Milk Program reimburses participating schools for a portion of their expenditures in providing milk to students of all income ranges. Students may qualify for free milk under this program. Schools not participating in other federally funded food programs may participate.

Environmental Hazards


Several programs and laws administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) apply to all schools, kindergarten through grade 12, including private schools. Contact information for each of the programs is listed in the program section. Programs that require action by school officials usually have a penalty attached for those who fail to comply.

Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act

The best known EPA program that applies to schools is the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA). Under AHERA, the EPA requires each elementary and secondary school to perform an inspection for asbestos-containing building material and to prepare an asbestos management plan. The AHERA regulations further require a reinspection of the asbestos-containing building material at least once every three years. For further information, contact your SEA asbestos coordinator or EPA regional asbestos coordinator. Because most schools are in the reinspection phase of AHERA, EPA has published a manual for reinspection titled A Guide to Performing Reinspections Under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), publication number EPA 700/B-92/001. Copies are available from EPA's TSCA Information Services at 202/554- 1404.

Safe Drinking Water

Tap water safety for public water supplies is regulated by the EPA. States are responsible for implementing and enforcing these regulations. Schools with their own source of water, such as a well, are considered to be public water supplies if they regularly serve more than 25 people. These systems must do regular water monitoring. The requirements vary by system and type and many states have programs to waive some of the monitoring requirements. EPA's Drinking Water Hotline provides appropriate state contacts as well as information about drinking water regulations and groundwater protection efforts. If your school is receiving water from a community water supply, such as a municipality or local utility, you may request information about local testing requirements and results. The Safe Drinking Water Act was recently amended. Contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline for more information at 1-800-426-4791. Internet information is available at http://www.epa.gov/OW/OGWDW.

Lead in Drinking Water

The Lead Contamination Control Act (LCCA) requires EPA to identify and publish a list of water coolers that are not lead free, including those with lead-lined tanks. The LCCA also requires that water coolers found to contribute lead to drinking water (within the limits of testing accuracy) in schools must be repaired, replaced, or rendered inoperative. Furthermore, the LCCA requires that states establish a program to assist schools to implement measures to test for and remedy lead contamination in drinking water from water coolers and from other sources. As required by the LCCA, EPA published a guidance document and testing protocol to assist schools in determining the source and degree of lead contamination (Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Non- Residential Buildings, publication number EPA 812-B-94-002). Another document, Sampling for Lead in Drinking Water in Nursery Schools and Day Care Facilities, publication number EPA 812-B-94-003 is also available.

To receive more information about lead in drinking water, contact the EPA's Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791. For information on water cooler replacement, contact the manufacturer.

Indoor Air Quality Management in Schools

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently released voluntary guidance entitled Indoor Air Quality Tools(IAQ) for Schools Action Kit (EPA 402- K-95-001) to assist schools in preventing and resolving indoor air quality problems. This easy-to-use kit shows how to carry out a practical plan of action at little or no cost using common-sense activities and school staff.

The IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit provides simple-to-follow checklists, background information, sample memos and policies, a recommended IAQ management plan, and a problem-solving wheel. The kit's appendices include information on topics such as hiring outside assistance, and mold and moisture control. In addition to helping ensure a healthy and productive learning environment, this guidance can also help in other areas such as reducing the deterioration of a school's heating, ventilation, and air- conditioning (HVAC) systems, improving the energy efficiency of a school's HVAC system, and reducing the possibility of school closings and temporary relocation due to school renovation work.

The kit and additional problem-solving wheels are available from:

U.S. Government Printing Office
Visa or MasterCard accepted
Phone: 202-512-1800
Fax: 202-512-2250

or send prepayment to:
Superintendent of Documents
P.O. Box 371954
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954

Kit (wheel included) #055-000-00503-6
$22.00 each
$16.50 each for 100 or more

Radon Risk Management in Schools

EPA and other major national and international scientific organizations have concluded that radon causes cancer in humans and is a serious public health problem. A nationwide survey of radon levels in schools estimates that nearly one in five have at least one frequently used schoolroom with a short-term radon level above the EPA's action level of 4 picocuries per liter of indoor air. However, if a school building has a radon problem, it is unlikely that every room in the school will have an elevated radon level. EPA recommends testing all frequently used schoolrooms that have contact with the ground to identify those with elevated radon levels.

EPA's voluntary testing guidance entitled Radon Measurement in Schools - Revised Edition (EPA 402-R-92-014) provides guidance on planning, implementing, and evaluating a radon testing program for a school. If school officials choose to test their school buildings using school personnel, EPA's Radon Measurement in Schools: Self-Paced Training Workbook (EPA 402-B-94-001) provides activities that help simulate the testing process prior to actually conducting radon testing in a school building.

For free copies of these two documents, call 202-260-2080 or write to:

U.S. EPA Publication Information Center
401 M Street, SW (Mail Code 3404)
Washington, D.C. 20460

For new school construction in high-radon-potential zones, EPA's voluntary guidance entitled Radon Prevention in the Design and Construction of Schools and Other Large Buildings (EPA 625-R-92-016) provides recommendations for incorporating radon resistant and/or easy-to-mitigate features into the design of a new school building. Incorporating the recommended design features will help prevent the need for radon mitigation or reduce the cost of mitigation if needed in the future. This guidance is useful to architects, engineers, and builders involved with the construction of new buildings in a school district.

For a free copy, call 513-569-7562 or fax your request to 513-569-7566.

Underground Storage Tanks

Underground storage tanks can pose an environmental hazard if they begin to leak. For further information regarding underground storage tanks, contact EPA's Underground Storage Tank Hotline at 1-800-424-9346.

Child Care and Development Block Grant


The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funds state efforts to provide quality child care services for low-income family members who work, train for work, or attend school, or whose children are receiving or need to receive protective services. CCDBG provides states, Indian tribes, and territories with funding to help low-income families access quality child care for their children. Funds are available to provide certificates, grants, and contracts for child care services for low-income families. Certificates can be used for public or private, religious or nonreligious and center or home-based care. Child care programs that participate must comply with state licensing and health and safety requirements. Private providers of preschool or school-age programs should contact the lead agency for child care in the state.

Further Information

For general information about the CCDBG program, contact the Child Care Bureau at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, telephone 202/690-6782, fax 202/690-5600. Or write: Child Care Bureau, Room 320F, 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington D.C. 20201. The World Wide Web home page address is: http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/ACFPrograms/CCDBG/index.html.

U.S. Department of Energy

The National Energy Conservation Policy Act (1978) established the Institutional Conservation Program, which provided energy conservation grants to schools and hospitals to improve energy efficiency in buildings and reduce cost. Beginning in fiscal year 1996, this program was consolidated into the new State Energy Program, together with the State Energy Conservation Program. The new program is operated like the State Energy Conservation Program, with States having the flexibility to offer a wide range of activities, including energy efficience projects of schools and hospitals. Private schools that qualified for assistance under the Institutional Conservation Program would also be eligible under the new program, if the State is including assistance to schools in its activities. To find out if your State is offering such activities, and to obtain information about State programs and/or applications, contact your State energy officer.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides grants to facilities affected by a major disaster. Private schools are eligible to apply for assistance if they meet the definition of a private, nonprofit organization. FEMA defines a private, nonprofit organization in 44 CFR 206.221 as "any nongovernmental agency or entity that currently has: (1) an effective ruling letter from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, granting tax exemption under sections 501 (c), (d), or (e) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, or (2) satisfactory evidence from the state that the nonrevenue-producing organization or entity is a nonprofit one organized or doing business under state law."

Family and Medical Leave Act


The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) covers all elementary and secondary schools, both public and private, and all public employers regardless of the number of employees. The FMLA applies only to those employers in the private sector that have had at least 50 employees for 20 calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year. All covered employers must display the FMLA poster in a conspicuous place or be subject to a civil penalty of $100 for each willful offense. A copy of the poster is included in the Appendix of this handbook.

Specifics of the Act

To be eligible for FMLA, employees must work for a covered employer (defined in the introduction above), have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, have worked for at least 1,250 hours in the 12-month period preceding the start of the leave, and work at a work site where there are at least 50 employees within 75 miles. The 12 months need not be consecutive. For FMLA purposes, full-time teachers, for whom records of hours worked may not normally be required, are deemed to meet the 1,250 hour test unless the employer can clearly demonstrate otherwise. An employer may be covered but have not eligible employees (e.g., a small private school with fewer than 50 employees would be covered but have not eligible employees).

Eligible employees are entitled to 12 workweeks of leave in a 12-month period for the birth and care of a child; for placement with the employee of a child for adoption or foster care; to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition; or because of the serious health condition of the employee. Leave may be taken all at once, intermittently, or as a reduced schedule. Special rules may be applied to instructional employees taking intermittent leave, leave on a reduced leave schedule, or leave near the end of an academic term, and to job restoration. Employees may elect or employers may require, subject to certain conditions, the substitution of accrued paid leave during the FMLA leave period.

While on leave, the employer must continue to provide any group health benefits on the same basis as those benefits are provided when the employee is at work. When ready to return to work, the employee must be restored to the same or an equivalent position and must have all employment benefits restored.

An employer must observe greater benefits provided under state laws, employer practices, or collective bargaining agreements. Conversely, the rights established under FMLA may not be diminished by any such law, practice, or agreement.

Further Information

For additional information, please contact the nearest office of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, listed in the U.S. Government section of your telephone directory. You may also access FMLA documents from the U.S. Department of Labor's Home Page at http://www.dol.gov.


[ Chapter 3.....Special Initiatives... ] [ Table of Contents ] [ Chapter 4....Continued... ]

Last Updated -- November 7, 1996, (pjk)