The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), requires a participating Local Educational Agency (LEA) to provide eligible children attending private elementary and secondary schools, their teachers, and their families with services or other benefits that are equitable to those provided to eligible public school children, their teachers, and their families. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress passed, the President signed and a resolution of regulations was published on November 29, 2016; however, the Non-Regulatory Guidance document regarding equitable services was not affected and remains applicable. There were some significant requirements added:
- Funds allocated to an LEA for educational services and other benefits to eligible private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel, and families must be obligated in the fiscal year for which the funds are received by the LEA. (ESEA sections 1117(a)(4)(B) and 8501(a)(4)(B).
- An LEA must determine the proportionate share of Title I funds available for equitable services based on the total amount of Title I funds received by the LEA prior to any allowable expenditures or transfers of funds. (ESEA section 1117(a)(4)(A).
- The SEA must provide notice, in a timely manner to appropriate private school officials in the State, of the allocation of funds for education services and other benefits. (ESEA sections 1117(a)(4)(C) and 8501(a)(4)(C).
- To help ensure equitable services and other benefits, an SEA must designate an ombudsman to monitor and enforce ESEA equitable services requirements under Title I and Title VIII. (ESEA sections 1117(a)(3)(B) and 8501(a)(3)(B).
- The results of agreement between the public and private school must be transmitted to the SEA’s equitable services ombudsman. The Private School Ombudsman for Arkansas is Wes Whitley.
One requirement remains in place: The Affirmation of Consultation. It serves dual purpose: 1) as documentation of participating and non-participating schools and 2) it assures the State Education Agency (SEA) that the Local Education Agency (LEA) has contacted the private schools in their attendance area and proves meaningful, timely consultation has taken place as required under ESEA section 1117. Therefore, ALL districts must upload a copy of the Affirmation of Consultation form into Indistar by Thursday, May 31, 2018.
Each LEA shall maintain in their records an Affirmation of Consultation form, signed and dated by the private schools and public school officials that verifies that the required consultation has occurred. If the private school officials and the LEA have not completed or finalized their consultation process by the above date, the district must upload documentation to show at least three (3) good faith attempts to contact.
The following program staff should be contacted regarding guidance on specific programs:
Title II, Part A, Rick Green, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Title III, Part A, Miguel Hernandez, email@example.com;
Title IV, Otistene Smith firstname.lastname@example.org;
Title IV-21st CCLC, Tracy Webb, email@example.com;
State Ombudsman, Wes Whitley firstname.lastname@example.org; and
Title I, Part A, Jayne Green, email@example.com.
Please upload the Affirmation of Consultation form (attachment) into Indistar on the DISTRICT page under the “Private Schools” tab.