Special Education Links
Special Education Services

Nonpublic Special Education Programs


What's New

  • The Annual Special Education Director’s Conference will take place Aug. 3-5, 2016, at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. Registration is now open and is $150 per person. Registration will close on July 15, 2016. 

    Additional information on registration and schedules for the Director’s Conference can be found at http://www.isbe.net/spec-ed/conf/default.htm.

  • A new PE assessment requirement, effective beginning with the 2016-17 school year, mandates that each student in grades 3-12 must participate in one of two assessments - the Physical Fitness Assessment or the Brockport Fitness Test.  All students who are able to participate in the general or alternate fitness assessment must do so.  Having an IEP does not automatically excuse a student from these assessments.  ISBE is revising IEP forms to include an area that details whether or not the student will take the general assessment, alternate assessment, or be exempt from both if he/she cannot reasonably perform either assessment.  Once revised, those IEP forms will be available on the ISBE website. 

    Additional information on this topic can be found at http://www.isbe.net/EPE/pdf/fitness-asmt-faq.pdf.

    PE teachers must hold a Professional Educator License endorsed for Physical Education.  Staff providing Adaptive PE must have the Adaptive PE endorsement on their Professional Educator License.


Hot Topics

  • According to 23 Illinois Administrative Code 401.20, you are required to notify ISBE and placing districts for the following instances:

    • Vacancy of position that affects compliance – Notify ISBE within five calendar days.
    • Ongoing vacancy of a position that affects compliance – Notify ISBE and placing district at the 30 and 60 calendar day period.  Notification must include attempts to permanently fill the position, including the use of substitutes and other steps undertaken in order to provide necessary instruction and related services to the students enrolled.
    • Program closure – Notify ISBE and placing districts 60 calendar days prior to closure.
    • Program moving to a new location – New location must be approved by ISBE.  Notify ISBE and placing districts 60 calendar days prior to the anticipated move date.
  • 23 Illinois Administrative Code 401.240 – Nonpublic special education programs are required to maintain sufficient staff to meet the needs of the students enrolled in the program. Please note the following:

    • Staff members must hold the credentials required for the position prior to employment within the program. It is unacceptable for a staff member who is unlicensed to work in a position that requires a license.
    • Pending Review for an ISBE license does not qualify staff to hold that position. 
    • Pending Review indicates that a license has been applied for, but is not an indication that he/she meets the requirements for that license or that a license will be issued in the future.
    • Licensed Special Education Teachers with endorsement for the specific grade level being taught are required for each classroom. 
    • Substitute teachers can be used to replace absent teachers and cannot be used to open a new classroom, begin a school year, or meet staffing requirements. 
    • A program that has operated for more than 60 consecutive calendar days in noncompliance with staffing requirements can cause a change in the provider's approval status accordingly, pursuant to the provisions of Section 401.30.
    • Early Childhood (PreK-K) – Students must be between the ages of 3-5.  Students turning 6 during the school year are allowed to remain in the classroom.
    • Elementary (K-8) – Age range cannot exceed 4 years in the classroom.
    • Secondary (9-12+) - Age range cannot exceed 6 years in the classroom.
    • A Licensed Special Education Teacher can have up to five students in a classroom.  Class size may increase to 10 students when a full-time paraprofessional is assigned to that classroom.  Adding an additional staff member does not allow the class size to exceed 10 students.  The maximum class size is 10 students.
    • Deviations – A written deviation request must be approved by ISBE prior to placing a student in a class that would cause the classroom to be out of compliance with class/age range requirements.  Deviations cannot be granted to begin a new school year and are only valid for the time period specified in the approval.

Overview

Nonpublic special education programs provide educational, therapeutic and/or residential services to students with disabilities. In the continuum of services for eligible students, federal and state laws allow programmatic options for students who may require exceptional educational and/or clinical intervention to meet their needs. Nonpublic programs approved under Section 14-7.02 of the School Code help serve and promote the continuation and improvement of Individualized Education Program (IEP) services for these students with disabilities.

Typically, students placed in 14-7.02 programs have such severe and perhaps complicated clinical and educational needs that school districts may opt to refer their students to outside district placements after exploring other least restrictive options. These placements can last anywhere from short periods of time (i.e. one semester), up to longer stretches (i.e. multiple years). 

 Placement - District versus Parent(s)

Parents who may be considering a nonpublic program for special education services should know the following:

  • Unilateral parent placement – If a parent unilaterally places their child in a nonpublic special education program, educational services will be provided to the child at parental expense. The school district will not be required to accept financial responsibility for the service costs associated with such placement.
  • District placement - ISBE Approved Nonpublic Special Education Programs are used when the IEP team from the public school has determined that the services the student needs can only be provided in a nonpublic setting. The public school district then pays the tuition for all special education and related services provided by the nonpublic school program. All the information on this page is related to these types of schools.
Topic Educational Environment (Least Restrictive Environment)

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) requires that, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities aged 3 through 21, in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled [34 C.F.R. §300.550 (b)(1)]. Placements by which students with disabilities are removed from the general education environment should occur only if the student's IEP team determines that the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in a general classroom setting, even with the use of supplemental aids and services, cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

 Implementation of Services

Once a placement has been made, the nonpublic program assumes responsibility to implement the entire IEP and collect/analyze data on progress. Although nonpublic schools will provide the necessary special education services as dictated by the IEP, the placing school district is ultimately responsible for their student(s) placed at these programs and ensuring that the student receives services appropriately.

Further, the placing school district is responsible for development, review, and revision of the IEP. Nonpublic schools and their professional and certified staff will provide educational, clinical, and when appropriate, vocational programming to students. The nonpublic school is responsible for developing a curriculum appropriate to the needs of the enrolled students that teaches the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade in the public schools. Transcript credits are agreed upon at the IEP meeting and are accepted by/awarded by the placing public school district.

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Approval

An initial application for approval is made by contacting the Special Education Services Division by telephone or email (see contact information at the bottom of the page). If it is determined that the program may be eligible for approval, application materials and other information will be forwarded. Please use one of the following checklists to determine if your program may be eligible for approval.

Programs must be “approved” by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in order for placing school districts to receive reimbursement for educational and/or residential programming. Once approved, these programs are given a three digit program code number and issued a per diem rate which will be used on a contractual basis with school districts. 

Each 14-7.02 nonpublic program is approved for specific categories and ages of special education programming dependent upon their program description, educational/clinical milieu, and staff credentials. Schools must also identify programmatic outcomes and how success toward these goals will be measured.

To find a list of approved programs, their subsequent rates, and to determine what those programs are approved for, please visit the Harrisburg Project private facility search.

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Funding

The approved Nonpublic Special Education Programs are privately run, yet are publicly funded through a referral process from school districts. A district will receive no reimbursement for students who are placed in a program that is not approved by ISBE. Additionally, a district is not financially responsible if a parent unilaterally places their child in a nonpublic special education program.

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Questions regarding 14-7.02 Nonpublic Special Education Programs should be directed to (312) 814-5560 or email Viver Ballard, April George, or Jacqueline Hammond.