Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–2561.03. Placement and funding of a student with a disability in a nonpublic special education school or program.

(a) If an LEA anticipates that it may be unable to implement a student’s IEP or provide a student with an appropriate special education placement in accordance with the IDEA and other applicable laws or regulations, the LEA shall notify the SEA. The SEA shall cooperate with the LEA to provide a placement in a more restrictive setting in conformity with the IDEA, and any other applicable laws or regulations.

(b)(1) Unless the placement of a student has been ordered by a District of Columbia court, federal court, or a hearing officer pursuant to IDEA, no student whose education, including special education or related services, is funded by the District of Columbia government shall be placed in a nonpublic special education school or program that:

(A) Allows the use of aversive intervention in its policy or practice; or

(B) Has not received and maintained a valid Certificate of Approval from the SEA in accordance with § 38-2561.07.

(2) A hearing officer may make a placement in a nonpublic special education school or program that lacks a valid Certificate of Approval from the SEA only if the hearing officer has determined that:

(A) There is no public school or program able to provide the student with a free appropriate public education; and

(B) There is no nonpublic special education school or program with a valid Certificate of Approval that meets the requirements of subsection (a)(2) of this section.

(c) The SEA shall be responsible for paying the costs of education, including special education and related services, of a student with a disability when the student is placed at a nonpublic special education school or program pursuant to this section; provided, that, in conformity with IDEA, the SEA shall not be responsible for paying the cost of education, including special education and related services, of a student with a disability who attends a nonpublic special education school or program if:

(1) An LEA made a free and appropriate public education available to the student; and

(2) The student’s parent or guardian elected to place the student in a nonpublic special education school or program.

(d) If the SEA has reason to believe that a child is a neglected child or is being abused, as those terms are defined in § 16-2301(9) and (23), respectively, in an out-of-state nonpublic special education school or program, the SEA shall immediately notify the relevant state’s child welfare agency and the parent or guardian of the child. Upon notification, the SEA shall work with the parent or guardian to take immediate steps to ensure the safety and health of the child.

(e) The Office of the State Superintendent of Education shall issue updated rules to implement the provisions of this section by October 1, 2015.


(Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-269, § 103, 54 DCR 841; Mar. 20, 2009, D.C. Law 17-304, § 2(b), 55 DCR 12806; Mar. 10, 2015, D.C. Law 20-195, § 202(c), 61 DCR 12419.)

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-304 rewrote subsec. (b)(1) and added subsec. (d). Prior to amendment, subsec. (b)(1) read as follows: “(b)(1) No student with a disability whose education, including special education and related services, is funded by the District government shall be placed in a nonpublic special education school or program that has not received and maintained a valid Certificate of Approval from the SEA in accordance with § 38-2561.07, unless the placement has been ordered by a District of Columbia court, a federal court, or a hearing officer pursuant to the IDEA.”

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-195 rewrote the introductory language of (a); rewrote (c); and added (e).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 103 of Placement of Students with Disabilities in Nonpublic Schools Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-667, December 28, 2006, 54 DCR 1134).