Home School and Special Education Requirements
I have received several questions recently on homeschooling and special education. Here is a nice summary letter detailing expectations (as outlined in a letter from DPI Director of Special Education to Madison Schools)
Dear Mr. Jorgensen (Executive Director of Madison Schools):
I am writing in response to your October 14, 2002, letter regarding requirements for students with disabilities in home-based private education programs and private schools. Specifically, you ask whether a local educational agency (LEA) is required to develop and annually review individualized education programs (IEPs) for such children and to conduct triennial reevaluations of them.
An LEA must locate and identify all children with disabilities within its jurisdiction. This requirement, known as “child find,” includes children in home-based private education programs and in private schools. As you point out in your letter, when such a child is referred for evaluation, the LEA must appoint an IEP team to evaluate the child to determine eligibility for special education services. If the IEP team finds the child eligible for special education and the parents make clear their intention to enroll the child in a home-based private education program or a private school and to reject a public program or placement, the LEA is not required to develop an IEP for the child. The LEA should explain to the parents the range of services available and the potential consequences for the child’s education of their decision to reject the public program. It would be a good practice for the LEA annually to inform the parents that the LEA stands ready to provide free appropriate public education to the child if the parents decide to enroll the child in the public program.
A reevaluation, as part of child find, must be conducted at least once every three years. This requirement includes children in home-based private education programs and private schools. When reevaluation is required, the LEA must contact the parents of such a child in writing and offer reevaluation. If the parents are willing to make the child available, the LEA should initiate the reevaluation by sending the parents a notice of its intent to reevaluate (DPI model form A-6). If the parents are unwilling to make the child available for reevaluation, the LEA should document this response and inform the parents that the LEA stands ready to reevaluate the child at any time and to provide free appropriate public education when the child enrolls in the public program.
I hope that this response provides the guidance that you are seeking.
Stephanie J. Petska, Ph.D., Director