Special Education in Nonpublic Schools

The Individuals with Disabilities Act entitles a student with a disability to a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. When a student has educational needs that cannot be met in a public school setting, that student can be educated in a private school or facility, referred to as a nonpublic school, at public expense. A student’s admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee must determine that the school district or charter school cannot provide the student with the special education instruction and related services necessary to meet the student’s unique needs in order for that student to be educated in a nonpublic school. The ARD committee identifies a nonpublic school that will provide the student an appropriate educational program.

TEA will ensure that students placed in or referred to nonpublic schools are provided with special education and related services that meet federal and state special education program requirements under 34 Code of Federal Regulations §300.146 and 19 Texas Administrative Code §89.61. Placement in a nonpublic school is considered a more segregated educational environment than placement in a public school setting. Federal regulations and State Board of Education/Commissioner’s rules protect the rights of students in such placements.

The nonpublic school’s education program must be approved by the commissioner of education, if a nonpublic day or residential school will provide any of the special education and related services listed in the student’s individualized education program. Nonpublic schools that provide special education are monitored by TEA to ensure compliance with federal and state standards. 

The nonpublic school review process is based on procedures established by the Division of School Improvement, formerly known as the Program Monitoring and Interventions Division. The nonpublic school review process is not required for a private school or facility that provides only related services or whose special education instructional program is provided by an accredited Texas school district or charter school. The school district is responsible for making sure appropriate educational services are provided to the student.

Information about making placements to a nonpublic facility is in the nonpublic school placement manual. The nonpublic school guidance and resource webpage is a resource to help districts conduct the required nonpublic interventions.

Contact Information

Division of Special Education Projects and Strategy

Phone: (512) 463-9414

Email: NPDayandRes@tea.texas.gov