ESSA and CARES Act, ESSER Private School Equitable Services

This page describes TEA plans for compliance with equitable private nonprofit school (PNP) services requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Public Law 116-136, 134 Stat. 281 (CARES Act), Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) Section 18003 of the CARES Act.

    COVID-19 and Federal Grant Funds

    Visit the Department of Grant Compliance and Administration for information on the federal grants authorized in response to COVID-19.

    CARES Act, ESSER and Private Nonprofit (PNP) Equitable Services

    Providing Equitable Services to Students and Teachers in Participating Private Nonprofit Schools Under the CARES Act Programs

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Public Law 116-136, 134 Stat. 281 (CARES Act) authorized the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) that creates funding streams for several distinct education programs that address the impact of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on educational services. Provisions and additional information on the CARES Act relevant to the ESF and other Texas Education Agency (TEA) programs are available on the TEA COVID-19 Support and Guidance website.

    Two programs in the ESF require a local education agency (LEA) that receives funds to provide equitable services to students and teachers in private nonprofit (PNP) schools:

    • The Governor's Emergency Education Relied Fund (GEER) if grants are awarded to LEAs                                      (Section 18002 of the CARES Act).
    • The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER)                                                                (Section 18003 of the CARES Act).

    CARES Act Equitable Services FAQ: Provides information about equitable services for students and teachers in private nonprofit (PNP) schools.

    ESSA Equitable Services

    Private Nonprofit Equitable Services Reservations

    The reports below provide the amount of funds that must be reserved by LEAs for equitable services to eligible students at participating private nonprofit schools.  

    For Title I, Part A, the private nonprofit (PNP) equitable services reservation amount does not include any reduction for school district administration of private nonprofit services. School districts are required to consult with PNPs prior to deducting administration costs from the equitable services amount.

    TEA is providing the PNP Equitable Services Calculator as an LEA resource tool. The LEA can determine the equitable share for each program with private school participation. In addition, the tool will determine the impact on the equitable share for LEAs that are electing to utilize the Funding Transferability option under Title V, Part A.  This is a planning tool and not the official published equitable share amount that is calculated in the ESSA Consolidated Application for Federal Funding.  At the discretion of the LEA and/or private school, the worksheets may be printed and maintained locally.

    TEA is providing the Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations (Restart) grant planning amounts for eligible private nonprofit school equitable services.

    ESSA PNP FAQs

    ESSA PNP Equitable Services FAQ (Version 1, 08/23/2017) provides answers to common questions regarding the provision of equitable services.

    ESSA PNP Equitable Services: Transferability Authority FAQ (Version 1, 04/25/2018) answers questions related to the authority ESSA provides grantees to transfer certain grant funds.

    Restart FAQs for Private Nonprofit Schools provides answers to common questions regarding the Immediate Aid to Restart School Operations (Restart) grant.

    ESSA and CARES Act, ESSER Equitable Services Documents

    TEA has developed the following forms for districts to use in complying with the ESSA and CARES Act, ESSER equitable services requirement.

    Affirmation of Consultation with PNP School Officials

    In accordance with the requirements of ESSA and the CARES Act ESSER, districts and eligible PNPs must collaborate to complete the following Affirmation of Consultation forms, as applicable, and submit them to TEA. Instructions for completing and submitting the forms are also linked below, in addition to the sections of ESSA and the CARES Act ESSER that specify the PNP consultation requirements.

    TEA Procedure for Offering PNP Equitable Services Upon Request

    The purpose of this policy and procedure is to meet the ESSA requirements when a participating private nonprofit school files a complaint against the school district and requests the state to provide its equitable services under ESSA programs, and the ombudsman substantiates the validity of the complaint. [ESSA Sections 1117(b)(6)(A-C) and 8501(c)(6)(A-C)].

    PNP Complaint Forms

    The following resources are available in English and Spanish to private school officials and other stakeholders who believe that the ESSA and CARES Act ESSER equitable services requirement has been violated:

    Approval of Participant Support Costs

    Under ESSA and the CARES Act, ESSER, equitable services to PNPs that are required, and therefore allowable, under federal program statute include registration and travel costs for PNP staff participating in allowable professional development activities. The direct cost of providing training, including travel to professional conferences and any registration fees, meets the EDGAR definition of a "participant support cost."

    School districts that expend federal grant funds on the provision of equitable services must complete the Request for Approval of Participant Support Costs: Private School Equitable Services form. The district must print the completed form and maintain the printed copy as documentation of the required approval for expenditure of federal grant funds on participant support costs. This documentation must be provided to auditors and monitors upon request.

    PNP Ombudsman

    Texas has designated an ombudsman to monitor and enforce equitable services requirements under Title I, Part A and Title VIII of ESSA and the CARES Act, ESSER. The ombudsman serves as the state’s primary point of contact for addressing questions and concerns from private school officials and local school districts. Other ombudsman duties include the following:

    • Providing technical expertise in interpreting, understanding, and implementing accountability requirements for equitable services 
    • Providing guidance to local school districts and private schools, as needed
    • Addressing complaints regarding consultation and/or equitable services provisions: Refer to the PNP Complaint Forms section above for links to the complaint procedures and forms in both English and Spanish. 
    • Ensuring all equitable services reporting requirements are met  
    • Overseeing the TEA Private School Equitable Services Workgroup 
    • Developing monitoring protocols  
    • Participating in TEA’s Title I Committee of Practitioners meetings
    • Participating in the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC) and International Association for Learner Driven Schools (IALDS), and Texas Private Schools Association (TPSA) meetings

    PNP Complaints and Procedures

    TEA's PNP ombudsman addresses alleged violations of the ESSA equitable services requirement. Refer to the PNP Complaint Forms section above for links to the complaint procedures and forms in both English and Spanish.

    Refer to ESSA Section 8503 for the statutory description of the complaint process.

    Private School Equitable Services Workgroup

    TEA has established the Private School Equitable Services Workgroup to fulfill part of the PNP ombudsman responsibilities. This group is made up of eleven school district representatives, two education service center (ESC) representatives, and nine PNP school representatives.

    Workgroup Roles and Duties

    As described in this overview of its role and duties, the Private School Equitable Services Workgroup reviews equitable services requirements such as monitoring protocols, complaint procedures, and the process for requesting the state provide equitable services. The group also provides input on the types of support needed for equitable services.

    Workgroup Meeting Schedule

    The Private School Equitable Services Workgroup meets regularly (new dates will be added once confirmed).

    ESSA and CARES Act, ESSER Equitable Services Information 

    Information on the ESSA equitable services requirements are available from the following sources.

    TEA Resources

    In addition to the FAQ linked above, TEA has prepared the following ESSA equitable services resources:

    Federal Statute, Guidance, and Resources

    The following links lead to federal statute and guidance describing the ESSA and CARES Act requirements for the provision of equitable services to private nonprofit schools (PNPs).

    For more information on ESSA and the CARES Act refer to the ESSA page of the Office of Nonpublic Education website and the CARES Act, ESSER pager of the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education website.

    PNP Training Schedule

    TEA staff provided the following training sessions on ESSA and the CARES Act, ESSER equitable services requirements.

    Capacity Building Initiative

    TEA collaborates with ESC 20 for the Capacity Building Initiative (CBI) grant. Part of the work for the CBI is to assist with the PNP implementation requirements.  In this capacity, CBI provides information and resources on our behalf. CBI is also a participant in Private School Equitable Services Workgroup meetings.