The following article was submitted by Annette Jones, Ed.S.; Assistant Director of Leadership Development at NCEA.
On Wednesday, September 27, I had the pleasure of attending the 2017 National Private School Leadership Conference. One session, Empowering Private School Officials to Participate in Timely and Meaningful IDEA Consultation, was facilitated by Pamela Allen, Education Program Specialist at the Office of Non-Public Education. In addition, these four panelists contributed to the conversation and key points about consultation.
- Dwight Thomas, Office of Special Education Programs
- Maggie Hubbard, Archdiocese of Washington, DC
- Ruth Ryder, Office of Special Education Programs
- Steve Perla, Diocese of Fall River, MA
Based on an excerpt from Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Placed by Their Parents in Private Schools (revised April 2011), the following information was shared during this informative session.
Authority: The requirements for consultation are found in 34 CFR (Code of Federal Regulation) 300.134.
Relationship-building is a process.” Pamela Allen, Program Specialist at the Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE)
What is consultation?
As used in the regulations, consultation is a mandatory process that involves discussions between the Local Education Agency (LEA), private school representatives, and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities on key issues relating to equitable participation of eligible private school children with disabilities in federally funded special education and related services. Each LEA must consult, in a timely and meaningful way, with private school representatives and representatives of parents of parentally placed private school children with disabilities during the design and development of special education and related services for parentally placed private school children.
Effective consultation provides a genuine opportunity for all parties to express their views and to have those views considered by the LEA before the LEA makes any decision that has an impact on services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities. Timeliness is critical to effective consultation and requires collaboration between the LEA and private school officials in developing a timeline and selecting dates for consultation. Successful consultation establishes positive and productive working relationships that make planning easier and ensure that the services provided meet the needs of eligible parentally placed private school children with disabilities.
What must the consultation process include?
Apart from specifying certain topics that must be addresses during consultation, the regulations offer LEAs and private schools a great deal of flexibility in conducting the consultation process. However, in accordance with 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 300.134, discussions between public and private school officials must address:
- The child find process and how parentally placed private school children suspected of having a disability can participate equitably, including how parents, teachers, and private school officials will be informed of the process.
- The determination of the proportionate share of Federal funds available to serve parentally placed private school children with disabilities, including the determination of how the proportionate share of those funds was calculated.
- How the consultation process among representatives of the agency, the private schools, and the parents of parentally placed private school children will take place, including how the process will operate throughout the school year to ensure that parentally placed private school children with disabilities identified through the child find process can meaningfully participate in special education and related services.
- How, where, and by whom special education and related services will be provided, including a discussion of types of services- including direct services and alternate service-delivery mechanisms, as well as how the services will be apportioned if funds are insufficient to serve all children- and how and when decisions regarding services will be made.
- How, if the LEA representatives disagree with the views of the private school officials on the provision of services or the types of services whether provided directly or through a contract, the LEA will provide to the private school officials of written explanation of the resources why the LEA chose not to adopt the recommendations of the private school officials.
For answers to specific questions regarding consultation, please contact Pamela Allen, Education Program Specialist at the Office of Non-Public Education (ONPE) firstname.lastname@example.org.