Meeting of the Board of Regents | October 2008
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Rebecca H. Cort
Program Standards for Private School Programs Serving Students with Disabilities
October 1, 2008
Goals 1 and 2
Issue for Discussion
Does the Committee concur with the issues identified requiring regulatory changes relating to the program standards for private schools approved to serve students with disabilities?
Reason for Consideration
Review of policy.
This question is before the Committee for discussion in October 2008.
Section 4401 of the Education Law authorizes a public school district to place a student in a private school which has been approved by the Commissioner, which could include a private day or residential school inside and outside of the State. Section 4407 of the Education Law requires the State Education Department to maintain a register of out-of-state educational facilities which, after inspection, it deems qualified to meet the needs of certain children for instruction. Section 200.7 establishes the program standards for education programs for students with disabilities being educated in private schools and State-operated or State-supported schools. Section 200.20 establishes the approval, operation, and administration of preschool programs funded pursuant to section 4410 of the Education Law.
Committees on Special Education (CSE) may recommend that a student with a disability be placed in an approved private school or a Special Act School District when it has documentation that the nature or severity of the student’s disability is such that appropriate public facilities for instruction are not available. Students with disabilities placed in such schools, therefore, are those students presenting the most complex and severe needs, including significant emotional, behavioral, learning and physical challenges. The Department is charged under federal and State law and regulations to provide oversight to schools serving students with disabilities. Currently, there are 399 approved private day and residential programs, which includes both preschool and school age programs. Many of these schools seek approval for more than one program or site.
The current regulations relating to program standards for education programs for students and preschool students with disabilities being educated in private schools were promulgated in the early 1980s. Since that time, the Department has had extensive experience with broad issues relating to the approval, termination of approval and the operation and administration of such schools and has identified several areas where the regulations should be revised to authorize the Department to more fully ensure fiscal, health, safety and educational program standards in such programs. These include, but are not limited to, requirements relating to:
- application requirements for private schools applying to serve students with disabilities;
- documentation of regional need prior to the approval of any new private schools or preschool programs or the expansion of existing private schools or programs;
- provisional approval during the first year of operation of a private school program to ensure it is operating consistent with program standards;
- actions the Department may take to address fiscal, educational and health and safety issues that compromise the school’s ability to provide an appropriate education to students, which might include such actions as: change of a school’s approval status to probationary, termination of approval for a school to accept new admissions and removing a school from the list of approved schools;
- deletion of obsolete provisions related to preschool program approval; and
- the public school district’s responsibility to ensure that the individualized education program (IEP) and the proposed plan to return the student to a less restrictive setting is implemented.
That the VESID Committee agree that proposed regulations to address the above issues be developed for discussion by the Board of Regents.