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U.S. Department of Educaton: Draft Guidance on Use of Religiously Affiliated "Equitable Services" Providers

March 11, 2019
By Betsy DeVos

Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as Amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act: Providing Equitable Services to Eligible Private School Children, Teachers and Families – Updated Non-Regulatory Guidance (2019)

This U.S. Department of Education (Department) draft document...consolidates and updates information previously included in multiple documents and is intended to support State educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and private school officials in the implementation of the equitable services requirements under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA).

DOE finds an LEA may enter into a contract with a religious organization to provide equitable services on the same basis as any other private entity. Although ESEA section 1117(d)(2)(B) currently indicates that a third-party contractor must be “independent…of any religious organization,” the Department
has determined that the specific requirement is unconstitutional in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer, 137 S.Ct. 2012 (2017).