Approval Process for Private Facilities that Provide Special Education Instruction
In accordance with 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §89.61 and the federal requirements in 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §300.146-§300.147, the TEA approves the educational programs of nonpublic schools that meet both federal and state special education program requirements. The TEA reviews both day and residential nonpublic schools with which local education agencies (LEAs) may contract for special education instructional and related services.
LEAs, and TEA as part of the review, must ensure that all service providers at these nonpublic schools are appropriately licensed and/or certified. Placement in a nonpublic school is considered a more segregated educational environment than placement in a public school setting, and federal regulations and State Board of Education/Commissioner’s rules protect the rights of students in such placements. If a nonpublic school provides any or all educational services listed in the student’s individualized education program (IEP), the nonpublic school’s education program must be approved by the commissioner of education.
The nonpublic school approval process is not required for a facility that provides only related services and/or whose special education instructional program is provided by an accredited Texas public school. The educational program is reviewed using procedures established by the agency’s Division of Program Monitoring and Interventions. The legal responsibility for ensuring that appropriate educational services are provided to students remains with the LEA. The LEA has the following responsibilities when making nonpublic placements:
• The LEA must initiate and conduct a meeting of the student’s admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee to develop an IEP for the student that meets federal and state requirements;
• The services that the LEA is unable to provide and that the nonpublic school will provide must be documented in the student’s IEP.
• The ARD committee must establish, in writing, criteria and estimated timelines for the student’s return to the LEA;
• The appropriateness of the nonpublic school for each student placed shall be documented in the IEP;
• The LEA must make an initial and annual visit to the nonpublic school to verify that the day and/or residential nonpublic school can, and will, provide the services listed in the student’s IEP.
Review of IEP
TEA will conduct a thorough review of the student’s IEP for whom the LEA desires to place at the nonpublic school. The IEP must state the services that the LEA is unable to provide and that the nonpublic school will provide. The IEP must meet all requirements of 34 CFR §§300.320 through 300.325. If the student’s IEP does not meet the requirements, and if the IEP does not establish a timeline for returning the student to the LEA, the approval of the nonpublic school will be denied.
If the IEP meets the requirements of 34 CFR §300.320 through §300.325, an initial on-site review of the nonpublic school by TEA staff will be scheduled to verify compliance with state and federal requirements. After the TEA on-site review, a letter of findings that identifies any corrective actions for any area(s) of identified noncompliance is issued to the nonpublic school and, if applicable, contracting LEA(s). When all compliance standards are met, the nonpublic school is recommended to the Director for Program Monitoring and Interventions for approval. Initial approval of a nonpublic school educational program is for one year.
The approval is based on the educational program and services the nonpublic school can provide. The programs and services are reviewed relative to appropriate staffing, program location(s), specific area(s) of disability, and age range(s). The nonpublic school must be approved by the TEA before the LEA may negotiate and enter into a contract for services with the nonpublic school. Both the LEA and the nonpublic school must maintain a copy of the contract for the current year
2012-2013 Nonpublic Schools for Students with Disabilities Approved for Contracting Purposes
Placements into Previously Approved Nonpublic School
When an LEA desires to place a student into a nonpublic school that is currently on the Nonpublic Schools for Students with Disabilities Approved for Contracting Purposes, TEA will conduct a thorough review of the student’s IEP for whom the LEA desires to place at the nonpublic school. The IEP must state the services that the LEA is unable to provide and that the nonpublic school will provide. The IEP must meet all requirements of 34 CFR §§300.320 through 300.325. If the student’s IEP does not meet the requirements, and if the IEP does not establish a timeline for returning the student to the LEA, the approval of the nonpublic school will be denied.
Guidance and Resources are available for nonpublic schools and LEAs involved in the nonpublic school review process.