Special Education/parochial school aide

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Question
Hi. I have a son in special ed K and I want to pull him out of regular school and put him in parochial school. A religious education is very important to me (money is an issue) and quite frankly, I dont begrudge the public school their beliefs or practices but they do certain things that make me uncomfortable. I went to parochial school and we didnt do certain things they seem to do typically in public schools. My question is- am I entitled to an aide same as I have in public school. I do not expect the school to pay for my parochial school. Luckily they have some scholarship help and I believe I will be able to afford it. But they think an aide is necessary to guide my son through the day and they do not provide that. I know there were rulings about public schools not having to pay parochial school tuition but that is not what I am asking for. I am asking for the same services they provide in public school but elsewhere because I am very uncomfortable religiously, dont know how else to put it. I am not asking them to implement a special program at a different school but I do want to have an aide and the therapy services I currently receive. I would try to do without the aide but the parochial school requested it and they are ok letting my son in on those terms. They said some schools send aides, some dont and I dont understand the law on this point. Thanks!

Answer
When you choose to enroll your son in a private school, such as a parochial school, the district does not have to provide service to him.  The school district in which the parochial school has to pay what is called "proportionate share" to the private school, but it is a very small amount of money.  I doubt it would be enough to pay an aide's wage for a school year.

That said, you may be able to find a favorable alternative by talking directly to your school district Special Education Director.  In a couple of unique circumstances, we had a parochial school student come to class the first block of the day, get his special education and then go to the private school.  In another case I was able to use 2.5 hours of aide time to give another aide a full day, in both cases it cost our district very little and provided a service to the community.  However, the law does not require special education to be provided at private schools using the public's funding.  

I also know of some parochial schools who provide some special education.  I have no idea how they fund it, but in some cases I have seen what looks very much like the public school services in a few.  

An aide costs with salary and benefits costs about $15,000 to $20,000, depending on the going wage in various areas.  While it isn't a lot of money, if you take that times all the private schools in a community it becomes a lot of money.  The federal laws, IDEA and 504 are in force for all schools, public and private, who accept federal assistance of any sort.  So the only circumstance where private schools are required to pay for special education services is when they accept federal financial support.  If the school district in which you live has an appropriate program for a child with a disability within the district, they do not have to transplant that to a private school simply because you choose it.  

I would suggest that you make an appointment with the Special Education Director and see what can be done.  

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Dr. Norm Bishop

Expertise

I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.

Experience

I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Organizations
Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Publications
Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website, Preachitteachit.com.

Education/Credentials
I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

Past/Present Clients
-Confidential-

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