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Act 89 and Equitable Participation (IDEA) Q&A

Relevant law

  • 24 P.S. § 9-922.1-A (Act 89 of 1975, as amended)
  • 22 Pa. Chapter 112
  • 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(10)


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Students enrolled in private/nonpublic schools may be evaluated pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Act 89 law and/or the IDEA’s Equitable Participation provisions. Is there a difference between the two types of evaluations?

What is the purpose of the Act 89 psychologist?

May Act 89 funds be used to have an Act 89 psychologist do a psycho-educational evaluation?

Are there any restrictions on responsibilities or duties regarding the use of psychologists funded under Act 89?

May Act 89 funded psychologists complete special education evaluations that determine eligibility under IDEA?

When a Prior Written Notice for Initial Evaluation and Request for Consent, formerly Permission to Evaluate (“PTE”) is issued following an Act 89 funded evaluation, and an IDEA evaluation includes a review of the Act 89 report, may the Act 89 psychologist fulfill the role of a psychologist on the IDEA evaluation team or is a differently funded psychologist required?

Why would the IU conduct an Act 89 evaluation instead of a special education evaluation under the IDEA?

​Does a student require an IDEA evaluation if speech services are requested under the IDEA’s Equitable Participation provisions?

If an IU has a psychologist complete an IDEA evaluation, what is the funding stream?

​Can exchange students attending private/nonpublic schools go to the school district of residence to get a special education evaluation?

​Table 14

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Please clarify which students are counted as students with a disability and reported in Table 14?

​Services available to pre-K and Kindergarten Students

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Does Equitable Participation apply to ages 3 -21?

​If a student is in a private/nonpublic school that ONLY has kindergarten, is the student eligible for Equitable Participation services?

Please clarify regarding 4 year olds eligibility for Equitable Participation services?

Some schools are Pre-K or K-3 are they eligible under Act 89?

​Child Find/Services/FAPE

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​When a parent seeks an IDEA evaluation from a district, districts are not permitted to ask a parent if the parent intends to enroll the student in the district. Under what instances would a district decide that it will not proceed with development of an IEP?

​What if the parent contacts the District of Residence for a special education evaluation and the district asks, ‘Are you going to bring them back?’ Parent responds ‘no’ and the District refers the parent to the IU for an evaluation?

If a child is eligible for special education, can any EP funds be used for interpreters?

​How can the IU address concerns about districts that are attempting to avoid the child find responsibility and still maintain a positive relationship with districts?

Can Act 89 services be provided in a church or synagogue?

May a student with a visual disability be dually enrolled in a public and a private/nonpublic school?

Can Act 89 funds be used to pay for vision services?

​Can a district pay for services provided to students enrolled in private/nonpublic schools?