ESEA Title I, Part A, Sec. 1120 – Participation of Children Enrolled in Private Schools
ESEA Title IX, Part E, Subpart 1 – Private Schools
Why Serve Private/Nonpublic Schools
The federal programs are supported from tax dollars; therefore all children and teachers are eligible to access these programs. ESEA requires equitable services to be provided to private/nonpublic school students, teachers, and other educational personnel.
For all covered programs, services should be equitable and should begin at the same time as the public school services begin. The key word is services. No public funds are distributed to private/nonpublic schools, only services and materials. The public district retains ownership of all educational materials.
ESEA Title VI Flexibility and Accountability
Public districts wishing to exercise the General Transferability provision or the REAP-Flex authority must conduct consultations with private/nonpublic school officials prior to making any decision regarding the transfer or flex of funds that could affect the private/nonpublic school’s ability to benefit from programs for which they are eligible.
- Public districts exercising either the REAP-Flex Authority or transferring to a Title IA Schoolwide program must serve participating private/nonpublic schools before flexing or transferring funds.
- Public districts exercising the General Transferability authority, must serve the private/nonpublic schools in both the originating and receiving programs.
If private/nonpublic school officials believe that timely and meaningful consultation has not occurred or that the district did not give due consideration to their views, they should first contact the federal programs representative or superintendent at the school district to discuss their concerns.
In the event the concern is not resolved, the private/nonpublic school has the right to file a formal written complaint with the Office of Public Instruction (OPI). Section 200-3 of the OPI State and Federal Grants Handbook is the guideline for the complaint process.
The formal written complaint should include:
- A statement that the district, other educational agency, or in some cases the OPI, has violated a requirement of a federal statute or regulation that applies to a program requiring equitable participation
- The specific requirement alleged to have been violated
- The facts on which the complaint is based
- The name and address of the complainant
- The expected resolution of the alleged violation
- The signature of the complainant
A complaint should be sent directly to:
Jack O'Connor, Private School Ombudsman
Office of Public Instruction
P. O. Box 202501, Helena, MT 59620-2501
For more information or guidance on serving private/non-public schools with federal funds, visit The Office of Non-Public Education on the Department of Education website.