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​Equitable Participation Q&A

The reauthorization of IDEA in 2004 and the subsequent 2006 IDEA regulations significantly changed the obligation of States and local education agencies (LEAs) to children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private elementary and secondary schools. §612(a)(10)(A) of the Act and 34 CFR §§ 300.130 – 300.144 require LEAs, in which the private schools are located, conduct child find and provide equitable services to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities. In Pennsylvania, intermediate units (IUs) serve as the LEAs for equitable participation.

IDEA mandates that the LEAs (IUs) where the private schools are located, must conduct a thorough and complete child find process to determine the number of parentally-placed children with disabilities attending private elementary schools and secondary schools to calculate the proportionate amount of Federal funds under Part B of the Act that must be spent on parentally-placed private school children with disabilities. Furthermore, after timely and meaningful consultation with representatives of private elementary and secondary schools, and parents of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities there is an obligation that the LEA (IU) will spend a proportionate amount of funds to provide services to children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools. The amount of funds available for equitable participation is now based on the total number of children with disabilities who are enrolled in the private schools located in the LEA (IU) whether or not the children and their parents reside in the LEA (IU).

The following are answers to questions raised regarding equitable participation in Pennsylvania.

Child Find and Evaluation



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What educational agency has child find responsibilities for equitable participation (EP)?

When an LEA (IU) conducts an evaluation, should the LEA (IU) automatically ask for parental consent to share the findings with the district of residence?

Do the IDEA regulations allow for different types of evaluations if the parent clearly requests EP services rather than FAPE?

Who makes the eligibility determination?

What process is required when the parent is seeking FAPE?

What process is required when the parent is seeking EP only?

Can parents insist that the school district of residence conduct an evaluation even if they know they do not want FAPE, and they indicate at the onset their intention is EP services at the private school?

​Provision of Services



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What is an Equitable Participation (EP) Services Plan?

Does every student getting direct EP services get an EP Services Plan?

If a child is not getting a direct service should they have an EP Services Plan?

​What does an EP Services Plan look like?

Can a child have an EP Services Plan and an IEP?

Can a child have a Chapter 15 Service Agreement and an EP Services Plan?

Once a student receives EP services, when may the services end?

How often must a student with a disability enrolled by their parents in a private school be reevaluated?

Does the LEA where the private school is located (IU) notify the district of residence that a reevaluation is needed?

Does a student with an EP Services Plan qualify for Extended School Year “ESY" services?

​Record Keeping and Funding



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Who keeps data regarding student with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools?

May IUs charge the districts of residence?

Who pays for evaluations for EP services?

How are EP funds calculated?

Can students receiving EP services be included on the Penn Data Child Count?

​Other



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Does EP apply when a Kindergarten class is not in an elementary school?

Does EP apply if the parent enrolls and pays for their child in an Approved Private School (APS)?

Does the documentation of the consultation process between representatives and parents of the private school with representatives of the LEA (IU) where the private schools are located need to be included as part of the IU IDEA-B Grant Application?

If the private school official wishes to file a complaint with PDE, how should they proceed?

Is there the possibility to carry over EP funds from one year to another?

Are EP services restricted to non-profit schools?

When it is appropriate to develop an individualized EP Service Plan for a student or students, are there components of the current IEP that do not need to be included or addressed as part of the EP Services Plan development process?

If an EP Services Plan is developed for a student, is it necessary to provide a copy of the procedural safeguards notice to the parents?

Why is the Notice of Recommended Education Placement and Prior Written Notice (NOREP/PWN) not required as a part of the development and implementation of an EP Services Plan?

Is Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) a component for consideration in the development and implementation of an EP Services Plan?

In what circumstances, if any, is it appropriate for an IU to issue a NOREP/PWN as a part of the EP process?

Is there a provision in IDEA for parents to request an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) as a part of the evaluation process under EP?

Can a student receive EP services and be dual enrolled at a public school?