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Special Education

Special Education Policy and Procedure Memo SY2023-SY2024 — 3

IDEA Equitable Services Child Count Reporting Requirements

To:Special Education Administrators
From:Jamie Camacho, Acting State Director of Special Education
Date:April 1, 2024

I. Introduction

Districts have an obligation to locate and evaluate students with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools, including secular, non-secular, and independent schools, or home schooled within the district1, and to calculate and spend a proportionate share of federal special education (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA) grant funds on equitable services for these students. The purpose of this memo is to inform Special Education Administrators regarding the reporting requirements for the IDEA Equitable Services Annual Child Count. Child Count data will be collected via the Child Count Application as described below. The goal of this application is to increase the timeliness and accuracy of the Child Count data.

II. Background

After completion of timely and meaningful consultation, child find activities, and eligibility determinations, districts conduct the child count to be used in calculating proportionate share. Districts must determine the child count of students ages 3–21 for the 240 grant, and the child count of students ages 3–5 for the 262 grant, on October 1 of each year. The child counts are used to determine the amount that the district must spend under each grant to provide special education and related services to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities in the subsequent fiscal year.2 The child count is the number of eligible students who are privately enrolled or home schooled and educated within the district, not the number of such students receiving services.3 Preschool aged children are considered to be parentally-placed private school students if they are enrolled in a private school that meets the definition of an elementary school.4 Because stand-alone private preschools or private childcare centers do not provide "elementary education," eligible preschool aged children attending those programs are not included in the district's proportionate share child count. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (The Department) collects this information via the Child Count application.

Districts will use the Child Count application located in the Security Portal to enter the number of parentally placed private school and home school students with disabilities (34 CFR 300.133(c)) as of October 1st of each year. This data will be used for the subsequent year's calculation of proportionate shares. You will need credentials from your District Administrator to gain access to the Security Portal and the application.

Below we have provided step-by-step instructions on how to use the IDEA Equitable Services Annual Child Count application. Should you have further questions, please reach out to the Office of Special Education and Policy Development at .

III. Step-by-step Instructions on how to use the IDEA Equitable Services Annual Child Count Application:

There are three steps you need to take to report the Child Count Data through Security Portal:

Step 1: Access the Security Portal using your local credentials. Go to the "IDEA Equitable Services Annual Child Count" Application and select your district from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Report the number of parentally- placed students with disabilities, including homeschooled students on October 1, 2023, for:

  • IDEA Section 611 (Fund Code 240) Child Count ages 3–21
  • IDEA Section 619 (Fund Code 262) Child Count ages 3–5

Step 3: Certify the data you entered.

In this step, you will review and certify the data you entered. In addition, you will certify that the district authorizes you to provide and certify the information. Furthermore, you will certify that the child count numbers provided are complete and accurate as of October 1 and have been obtained in compliance with IDEA regulations. By certifying, you further agree to provide documentation supporting the child count(s) and record-keeping data provided if requested by the DESE.

Visual representation: Included is a visual representation of the step-by-step directions for reporting the annual child count via the Child Count Application.

1 In MA, homeschooled students are considered private school

2 34 CFR § 300.133(c)(2).

3 Q and A: Questions and Answers On Serving Children With Disabilities Placed by Their Parents at Private Schools, OSERS, April 2011 (revised), Answer to Question H-2.

4 34 CFR § 300.133(a)(2)(ii).

Last Updated: April 1, 2024

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