Author: Catherine Merino Reisman, Esq.
Many parents decide they want to place their child at a private school as opposed to keeping them at their neighborhood school in their home district because they feel the private school will offer a superior education. But what happens if the private school offers a lot of what your child needs, but not everything? Answer: Ask the district where the private school is located to develop an IESP.
Regardless of whether that private school is a special education private school or a regular education private school, parents may want to rely on the district where that private school is located to supplement the programming at the private school with certain related services and/or supports. Children who are New York residents and placed parentally at private schools are entitled to receive special education related services and supports (like physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, or even specialized reading services or a 1:1 aide) under an Individualized Education Services Program (IESP) from the school district in which the private school is located.
The CSE in the district where the private school is located (“the district of location”) must develop the IESP in the same manner as it develops Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for its own public-school students. The CSE must ensure that a representative of the private school participates in the meeting to develop an appropriate IESP. And just like an IEP – the CSE must review the IESP annually.
The CSE must provide services in an IESP based on need. The district where the private school is located must make available the same range of services to private school students, taking into account the child’s placement in a private school. The CSE may not deny services to a private school student that it would provide to a similarly situated public school student.
If you want your child to receive special education services or supports from the school district where your child’s private school is located, you must request those services, in writing. You have to submit that request, in New York, no later than June 1 before the school year during which you want the services. If your child is identified with a disability after June 1, you may submit your request within 30 days of identification.
So the bottom line is: if you find a private school that has much of what your child needs, but not absolutely everything, there may be a way of supplementing that program through the district where the private school is located. This is a valuable AND FREE resource for parents. Make sure you look into what services and supports are available for YOUR child!
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