Questions and Answers regarding Act 89 and Equitable Participation (IDEA)


    Child Find/Services/FAPE

    1. When a parent seeks an IDEA evaluation from a district, districts are not permitted to ask a parent if the parent intends to enroll the student in the district. Under what instances would a district decide that it will
      not proceed with development of an IEP?
      Discussions between the district and parent regarding IEP development and offer of FAPE may occur after the evaluation is complete and the student is identified as eligible for IDEA services. There is a distinction between asking parents about the intent to enroll in order to avoid child find or IDEA responsibilities as compared to development of IEP and offer of FAPE following determination of eligibility.

    2. What if the parent contacts the District of Residence for a special education evaluation and the district asks, ‘Are you going to bring them back?’ Parent responds ‘no’ and the District refers the parent to the IU for an evaluation?
      At the evaluation stage, the district may not ask about a parent’s intent to enroll in the district. The district has a child find responsibility and a refusal to conduct the IDEA evaluation requires the district to issue a NOREP/PWN. For district referred students, the IU could recommend that parent request a NOREP/PWN from district and pursue mediation or due process. The IU or parent may also file a complaint with BSE regarding any non-compliance.

    3. If a child is eligible for special education, can any EP funds be used for interpreters?
      EP funds may be used for interpreters. The use of EP funds is determined annually at the IU/private/nonpublic school consultation meeting and must be part of that agreement.

    4. How can the IU address concerns about districts that are attempting to avoid the child find responsibility and still maintain a positive relationship with districts?
      BSE reviews the child find process and procedures during the cyclical monitoring for areas of non-compliance. In addition, the IU may bring concerns to the BSE special education adviser assigned to the IU’s region.

    5. Can Act 89 services be provided in a church or synagogue?
      No, Act 89 services cannot be provided in the place of worship. Act 89 services may, however, be provided in the school associated with the place of worship in separate physical space for education.

    6. May a student with a visual disability be dually enrolled in a public and a private/nonpublic school?
      Yes, the parent may request dual enrollment from the district. The district makes a decision and informs the parent. Dual Enrollment does not entitle the parent to request or receive FAPE/related services.

    7. Can Act 89 funds be used to pay for vision services?
      Yes, if that was determined through consultation between IU and the non-public schools, then Act 89 personnel could provide it.

    8. Can a district pay for services provided to students enrolled in private/nonpublic schools?
      Yes. However, if a district pays for services for a student, the IU may not use Act 89 funds to provide services for those students.


    Relevant law - 24 P.S. § 9-922.1-A (Act 89 of 1975, as amended) - 22 Pa. Chapter 112 - 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(10)