Equity for Non-public Schools
Providing Equitable Services to Students and Teachers in Non-public Schools
Under the CARES Act Education Stabilization Fund, LEAs that receive funds from ESSER or GEER must provide equitable services to students and teachers in non-public schools “in the same manner as” they do with Title funds. Under ESSER, Districts provide “equitable services” to non-public school students and teachers by allocating a proportionate share of ESSER funds to non-public schools. The USDE has determined that, under the CARES Act programs, the LEA in which a non-public school is located is responsible for providing equitable services to students and teachers in the school.
The CARES Act, is consistent with other federally funded programs, gives school districts public control of the funds that must be set-aside for students and teachers in non-public schools, including title to equipment and property, administration of funds, and the provision of services (which may be through contract with a public or private entity). The LEA has the responsibility to initiate the equitable share consultation with non‐ public schools within its boundaries to agree on the services to be provided.
Per USDE guidance, an LEA must maintain and provide a copy of the “CARES Act Funding Nonpublic Consultation Form” to the Nebraska Department of Education for every non-public school within boundaries eligible to receive an equitable share of CARES Act funding. The signed form by non-public school official indicates acceptance or declines participation in equitable services provided through the CARES Act funding. With acceptance, acknowledgement that timely and meaningful consultation occurred.
- CARES Act Funding Nonpublic Consultation Form (PDF)
- ESSER Fund Equitable Services Calculator (Excel)
Note: A signed copy of the CARES Act Funding Nonpublic Consultation Form for every non-public school eligible to receive equitable services within an LEA’s boundaries (indicating participation preference) will be required to be uploaded as an attachment to the LEA’s CARES Act ESSER Fund sub-grant application in the Grants Management System (GMS).
The calculation of the value of equitable services that the LEA must provide to non‐public schools is different for ESSER as compared to Title I. For ESSER funds, the non‐public school share of the allocation to an LEA is determined by dividing the total enrollment of the non‐public schools by the total combined enrollment of public and non‐public schools within the LEA’s boundaries.
IMPORTANT: How does a recipient account for equitable eservices under the original interim final rule and after vacating the interim final rule?
On September 28, 2020, the Commissioner of the Nebraska Department of Education, provided the following CARES ACT Equitable Services Update:
On September 4, 2020, in NAACP v. DeVos, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion and an order vacating the Interim Final Rule (IFR) under the CARES Act in its entirety nationwide. This order “vacates” the rule, leaving no IFR in place for the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to enforce in any jurisdiction.
The USED respects the rule, will enforce the law as the courts have opined, and will not appeal these rulings. The USED will not take any action against States or local districts that followed the guidance and/or the IFR prior to notice of the court’s decision.
With this guidance, going forward the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) is honoring and reimbursing school districts for expenditures already made through September 11, 2020 under contracts and agreements for the provisions of services or goods provided to private schools, the NDE notified Nebraska schools of the court order.
For ESSER funds not under contract or agreement for the provision of equitable services to private schools after September 11, 2020, school districts must provide consultation and calculate the minimal proportional share according to the formula required under Section 1117 of the ESEA of 1965, which the USED will enforce to ensure school districts comply with this and other relevant equitable services requirements. This methodology as well as providing equitable services under the CARES Act is contained in U.S. Department of Education guidance on equitable services revised on October 9, 2020.
NOTE: Items purchased before September 11, came in after September 11, for which purchase orders, sales order, subscriptions, were sent to vendors on or before September 11, 2020, can be completed since all parties detrimentally relied upon the guidance/interim final rule from the U.S. Department of Education and September 11, 2020 was when the Nebraska Department of Education notified all recipients of the Nebraska CARES Act ESSER subgrant award that the U.S. Department of Education interim final rule guiding equitable services was vacated.
NOTE: Contracts or agreements signed with individuals, or entities to provide services, on or before September 11, 2020, for services to occur in nonpublic schools for the 2020-21 school year as part of equitable services can be honored for the term of the contract or agreement since all parties detrimentally relied upon the guidance/interim final rule from the U.S. Department of Education and September 11, 2020 was when the Nebraska Department of Education notified all recipients of the Nebraska CARES Act ESSER subgrant award that the U.S. Department of Education interim final rule guiding equitable services was vacated.