Participating School Responsibilities
Private schools participating in the IEA Program must, as part of their application to participate in the IEA Program, agree to comply with all the requirements of the IEA Program, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Provide to the department all documentation required for a student's participation, including the school's and student's fee schedules and a school calendar.
- Be academically accountable to the parent for meeting the educational needs of the student.
- At a minimum, annually provide to the parent a written explanation of the student's progress.
- If the student is in grades 3–8, and if requested by the parent, the school shall annually administer either a nationally norm-referenced test(s) identified by the TDOE or the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) test(s), or any future replacements of the TCAP test(s).
- Comply with all health and safety laws or codes that apply to nonpublic schools.
- Do not discriminate against students or applicants on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
- Conduct criminal background checks on employees as defined by the IEA Program rules (rules of the SBE Chapter 0520-01-11).
- Exclude from employment any person not permitted by state law to work in a nonpublic school.
- Exclude from employment any person who might reasonably pose a threat to the safety of students.
- Provide parents with a receipt for all qualifying expenses.
- Do not hold IEA cards and run them onsite without the parent/guardian present or copy credit card information for use at a later date.
- Do not accept private day placement funds for students enrolled in the IEA Program. Since parents of students enrolled in the IEA Program waive all their child's IDEA rights and FAPE, parents/guardians cannot accept public private day placement funds while receiving an IEA.
- Annually submit to the TDOE the graduation and completion rates of students in the IEA Program following the instructions provided by the TDOE by the deadline posted on the IEA webpage.
- Submit to the TDOE a financial audit of the school conducted by a certified public accountant, if requested by the TDOE and following the guidelines set by the TDOE.
- If a student withdraws from the school and transfers to another school or returns to the school district, refund the tuition and fees on a prorated basis based on the number of days the student was enrolled in the school following the procedures set by the TDOE. Parents may not accept any payment, refund, or rebate of IEA funds from a provider of any services for the IEA Program. All refunds must be returned by the private school directly to the TDOE for credit to the student’s IEA account. Refunds must be received by the TDOE within 15 calendar days of the student’s withdrawal from the school.
- Upon a student's withdrawal from the school, send all educational records of the participating student to the school district or other school identified by the parent.
- Do not send parent-held IEA accounts to collections in order to settle unpaid debts. All contracts entered into are the responsibility of the private parties involved.
- Comply with all state laws, rules, and procedures for nonpublic schools.
- Comply with the minimum kindergarten age requirement pursuant to T.C.A § 49-6-201(b)(3) Minimum Kindergarten Program Law and the State Board of Education rules for non-public school approval - Chapter 0520-07-02 Non-public School Approval Process.
- Comply with all of the IEA state laws, rules, and procedures for participating schools and the requirements set in the IEA Private School Handbook.
For a complete list of responsibilities, see the IEA Private School Handbook. Instructions on how apply to participate in the IEA Program are available here.
Private School Proportionate Share
The federal regulations that implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) require public education agencies (school districts) to spend a proportionate share of their federal special education funding to provide special education and related services to children with disabilities who are enrolled by their parents in private schools (including religious schools) located within their jurisdiction (34 C.F.R. §§ 300.132 and 133). Each school district must consult with private school representatives and representatives of parentally placed private school children with disabilities in order to design and develop a plan for the provision of equitable services to parentally placed private school children with disabilities (see 34 C.F.R. § 300.134). However, participation in the IEA Program shall have the same effect as a parental refusal to receipt of IDEA services (20 U.S.C. § 1414). Therefore, if a student is enrolled in the IEA Program, the student is not entitled to equitable services that the school district has determined through the consultation described above that it will make available to that population of children.
Updating School Information
If at any time, the information submitted in the school application changes, including, but not limited to, the email address, physical address, and phone number, the school shall report the changes by emailing IEA.Questions@tn.gov. Schools must notify the TDOE within 15 calendar days of the change taking effect.