Two Exciting Announcements for Nonpublic Schools!

Announcement 1: Increase in IDEA Funding

ADAC celebrates the release of over $3 billion in supplemental Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding. Allocated to the states in the American Rescue Plan (ARP), these funds are over and above IDEA’s existing formula grant programs.

Like the annual IDEA funding, this additional ARP funding is subject to the equitable sharing provisions in IDEA. This means that private school students with disabilities should have even more access to special education and support services from their local public school districts this coming school year. The ARP funding represents a 20% increase in the funding allocated for elementary and secondary school students with disabilities and a 50% increase in the grants for preschool students with disabilities.  To learn more, please view the United States Department of Education’s Fact Sheet.

If your school is new to accessing support for students with disabilities from your local school district and would like to learn more about the opportunity under IDEA, then please contact us.

ADAC will be happy to partner with your school to access this vital resource for your students!

Announcement 2: Final Requirements for EANS II Program Released

ADAC also welcomes the release of the U.S. Department of Education’s final requirements regarding the implementation of the Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS) program under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Overview: All of the requirements from the EANS I Program under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) will apply to the EANS Program under ARPA except that:

  1. State departments of education (SEAs) may only provide services and assistance to nonpublic schools that, first, enroll a significant percentage of students from low-income families and, second, have been most impacted by the pandemic; and
  2. EANS II does not allow for reimbursements to nonpublic schools.

Because of these new requirements states will need to develop a new application for the EANS II Program. Nonpublic schools will therefore need to complete an additional application for this program.

Timeline: Governors now have until September 9, 2021 to apply for this second round of EANS funding. The Department will make awards within 15 days of receiving an approved application. States will then have 30 days to make an application available to nonpublic schools and another 30 days to approve the applications.

Requirement to provide services and assistance to schools that enroll a “significant percentage” of students from “low-income” families: ADAC submitted a public comment regarding the requirement that the funds be utilized to provide services or assistance to nonpublic schools that enroll a “significant percentage” of students from “low-income” families. In doing so, ADAC urged the Department to provide flexibility to states regarding  their interpretation of the terms “significant percentage” and “low-income.” ADAC’s urging was motivated by the hope that as many nonpublic schools as possible could participate in EANS II.

In the final rules promulgated by the Department, the Department has interpreted the term “low-income” to mean that students must come from families whose income is at or below 185% of the 2020 Federal Poverty Guidelines. The Department has also recommended, but has not mandated, that states define “significant percentage” to mean that 40% of the students in the school must qualify as “low-income.” However, states are permitted to  determine their own alternate “significant percentage” threshold. For example, the Department suggested that each state may look at the average percentage of students from low-income families in both public and private schools across the state or the average percentage of nonpublic school students from low-income families in each school that applied for the EANS I funding. States may also use an alternate method if they can provide to the Department justification.

Schools Most Impacted by the Pandemic: The Department also set out a variety of factors for states to consider in determining which schools have been most impacted by the pandemic. For any given private school, as compared to the other private schools within the same state, these factors include:

  1. the number of COVID infections per capita in the community or communities served by the nonpublic school;
  2. the number of COVID-related deaths per capita in the community or communities served by the nonpublic school;
  3. the data on learning loss and the social and emotional and mental health impact of the pandemic among the school’s respective students; and
  4. the economic impact of the pandemic on the community or communities served by the nonpublic school.

ADAC will continue to monitor the federal guidance for the EANS II Program under the ARPA and will provide updates right here as they become available.