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Parent/Guardian Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Welcome to the CAPSES Frequently Asked Questions page for parents and guardians. Here you can find answers to questions that we commonly encounter. This page will be updated periodically.

What is a Nonpublic School?

Nonpublic Schools are private schools certified by the California Department of Education to provide educational placement and services to students with special education needs.

What is a Nonpublic Agency?

Nonpublic Agencies are private programs certified by the California Department of Education to provide services to students with special education needs.

Who pays for Nonpublic School/Agency services (NPS/A)?

Local Educational Agencies (LEA) refer students to Nonpublic schools and agencies, so the LEA pays for those needed services. Those services are determined in an IEP meeting that also determines placement. LEAs therefore also maintain a master contract that discusses costs among other contractual agreements.

Can you explain LEAs in more detail?

Local Educational Agencies (LEA) can include school districts, Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA) or County Office of Education (COE).

Are all private schools/agencies certified by the California Department of Education (CDE)?

No, but nonpublic schools/agencies do complete an annual certification process and also participate in a review process by the CDE. This allows for referral and payment, of students by an LEA to the nonpublic school/agencies. Also, some programs obtain additional accreditations by other governmental and educational agencies.

Overview of Special Education in California 

The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) has released a series of four animated videos covering key aspects of special education in California. The first video describes how schools identify students for special education services. The second describes the most common types of disabilities among California students. The last two videos explain how California administers and funds special education services. These videos provide context for ongoing conversations about special education governance and finance.  

This series is available using the following link:

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