According to A.R.S. § 15-765, a school district or county school superintendent may contract with, and make payments to, other public or private schools, institutions and agencies approved by the division of special education, within or without the school district or county, for the education of and provision of services to children with disabilities (per A.R.S. § 15-766) and the conditions and standards prescribed by the division of special education have been met and if unable to provide satisfactory education and services through its own facilities and personnel in accordance with the rules prescribed by the state board of education as provided in section A.R.S. § 15-213.
The Arizona Department of Education grants approvals for private school special education programs that seek to provide specially designed instruction to students placed by a public education agency and meets the criteria as outlined in A.R.S. § R7-2-402. The approval activities and oversight of the Arizona Department of Education for approved private day schools do not relieve school districts of their responsibility to monitor individual students enrolled in these programs. Approval by the Arizona Department of Education does not make the Department a guarantor or insurer for services or programs provided to individual students.
The Department of Education does not have jurisdiction over private non-special education services or services provided to parentally-placed students.
District-Placed vs. Parent-Placed Students in Private Special Education Schools
District-Placed: A public and/or charter school decides to refer one of its students to outside private placements after considering other least restrictive options. Students placed in such programs generally present with significant emotional, behavioral, and/or educational needs. For districts to generate funding for district-placed students, the receiving school must be approved by the Department of Education. Approved special education schools are regulated and monitored by the Department of Education as it relates to services provided to publicly funded students.
Parent-Placed: A parent places their child in a private day school and independently covers tuition. This also includes parents who utilize Empowerment Scholarship Accounts to pay for their child’s private school tuition. The Department of Education does not have jurisdiction over these programs.
Approved Private Special Education Schools
Information for Prospective & Renewal Applicants
Concerns/issues with a private special education school placement
ED-P and Approved Private Day Specialist Victoria Naser 602-364-4016
Page revised 7/22/21