(a) A nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency that seeks certification shall file an application with the Superintendent on forms provided by the department, and shall include all of the following information on the application:

(1) A description of the special education and designated instruction and services provided to individuals with exceptional needs if the application is for nonpublic, nonsectarian school certification.

Terms Used In California Education Code 56366.1

  • Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
  • Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • designated instruction and services: means "related services" as that term is defined in Section 1401(26) of Title 20 of the United States Code and Section 300. See California Education Code 56363
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • related services: means transportation, and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech-language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, social work services, school nurse services designed to enable an individual with exceptional needs to receive a free appropriate public education as described in the individualized education program of the child, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation, and mobility services, and medical services, except that such medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to assist an individual with exceptional needs to benefit from special education, and includes the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in children. See California Education Code 56363

(2) A description of the designated instruction and services provided to individuals with exceptional needs if the application is for nonpublic, nonsectarian agency certification.

(3) A list of appropriately qualified staff, a description of the credential, license, or registration that qualifies each staff member rendering special education or designated instruction and services to do so, and copies of their credentials, licenses, or certificates of registration with the appropriate state or national organization that has established standards for the service rendered.

(4) An annual operating budget.

(5) Affidavits and assurances necessary to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations that include criminal record summaries required of all nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency personnel having contact with minor children under Section 44237.

(b) (1) The applicant shall provide the special education local plan area in which the applicant is located with the written notification of its intent to seek certification or renewal of its certification. The local educational agency representatives shall acknowledge that they have been notified of the intent to certify or renew certification. The acknowledgment shall include a statement that representatives of the local educational agency for the area in which the applicant is located have had the opportunity to review the application at least 60 calendar days before submission of an initial application to the Superintendent, or at least 30 calendar days before submission of a renewal application to the Superintendent. The acknowledgment shall provide assurances that local educational agency representatives have had the opportunity to provide input on all required components of the application.

(2) If the local educational agency has not acknowledged an applicant’s intent to be certified 60 calendar days from the date of submission for initial applications or 30 calendar days from the date of the return receipt for renewal applications, the applicant may file the application with the Superintendent.

(3) The department shall provide electronic notification of the availability of renewal application materials to certified nonpublic, nonsectarian schools and agencies at least 120 days before the date their current certification expires.

(c) If the applicant operates a facility or program on more than one site, each site shall be certified.

(d) If the applicant is part of a larger program or facility on the same site, the Superintendent shall consider the effect of the total program on the applicant. A copy of the policies and standards for the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency and the larger program shall be available to the Superintendent.

(e) (1) Before certification, the Superintendent shall conduct an onsite review of the facility and program for which the applicant seeks certification. The Superintendent may be assisted by representatives of the special education local plan area in which the applicant is located and a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency representative who does not have a conflict of interest with the applicant. The Superintendent shall conduct an additional onsite review of the facility and program within three years of the effective date of the certification, unless the Superintendent conditionally certifies the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, or unless the Superintendent receives a formal complaint against the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency. In the latter two cases, the Superintendent shall conduct an onsite review at least annually.

(2) In carrying out this subdivision, the Superintendent may verify that the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency has received a successful criminal background check clearance and has enrolled in subsequent arrest notice service, pursuant to Section 44237, for each owner, operator, and employee of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.

(f) The Superintendent shall make a determination on an application within 120 days of receipt of the application and shall certify, conditionally certify, or deny certification to the applicant. If the Superintendent fails to take one of these actions within 120 days, the applicant is automatically granted conditional certification for a period terminating on August 31 of the current school year. If certification is denied, the Superintendent shall provide reasons for the denial. The Superintendent shall not certify the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency for a period longer than one year.

(g) Certification becomes effective on the date the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency meets all the application requirements and is approved by the Superintendent. Certification may be retroactive if the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency met all the requirements of this section on the date the retroactive certification is effective. Certification expires on December 31 of the terminating year.

(h) The Superintendent annually shall review the certification of each nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency. For this purpose, a certified nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency annually shall update its application between August 1 and October 31, unless the state board grants a waiver pursuant to Section 56101. The Superintendent may conduct an onsite review as part of the annual review.

(i) (1) The Superintendent shall conduct an investigation of a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency onsite at any time without prior notice if there is substantial reason to believe that there is an immediate danger to the health, safety, or welfare of a child. The Superintendent shall document the concern and submit it to the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency at the time of the onsite investigation. The Superintendent shall require a written response to any noncompliance or deficiency found.

(2) With respect to a nonpublic, nonsectarian school, the Superintendent shall conduct an investigation, which may include an unannounced onsite visit, if the Superintendent receives evidence of a significant deficiency in the quality of educational services provided, a violation of Section 56366.9, or noncompliance with the policies expressed by subdivision (b) of Section 1501 of the Health and Safety Code by the nonpublic, nonsectarian school. The Superintendent shall document the complaint and the results of the investigation and shall provide copies of the documentation to the complainant, the nonpublic, nonsectarian school, and the contracting local educational agency.

(3) Violations or noncompliance documented pursuant to paragraph (1) or (2) shall be reflected in the status of the certification of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, at the discretion of the Superintendent, pending an approved plan of correction by the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency. The department shall retain for a period of 10 years all violations pertaining to certification of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.

(4) In carrying out this subdivision, the Superintendent may verify that the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency received a successful criminal background check clearance and has enrolled in subsequent arrest notice service, pursuant to Section 44237, for each owner, operator, and employee of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.

(j) The Superintendent shall monitor the facilities, the educational environment, and the quality of the educational program, including the teaching staff, the credentials authorizing service, the standards-based core curriculum being employed, and the standards-focused instructional materials used, of an existing certified nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency on a three-year cycle, as follows:

(1) The nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall complete a self-review in year one.

(2) The Superintendent shall conduct an onsite review of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency in year two.

(3) The Superintendent shall conduct a followup visit to the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency in year three.

(k) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, the Superintendent shall not certify a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency that proposes to initiate or expand services to pupils currently educated in the immediate prior fiscal year in a juvenile court program, community school pursuant to Section 56150, or other nonspecial education program, including independent study or adult school, or both, unless the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency notifies the county superintendent of schools and the special education local plan area in which the proposed new or expanded nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency is located of its intent to seek certification.

(2) The notification shall occur no later than the December 1 before the new fiscal year in which the proposed or expanding school or agency intends to initiate services. The notice shall include the following:

(A) The specific date upon which the proposed nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency is to be established.

(B) The location of the proposed program or facility.

(C) The number of pupils proposed for services, the number of pupils currently served in the juvenile court, community school, or other nonspecial education program, the current school services including special education and related services provided for these pupils, and the specific program of special education and related services to be provided under the proposed program.

(D) The reason for the proposed change in services.

(E) The number of staff who will provide special education and designated instruction and services and hold a current valid California credential or license in the service rendered.

(3) In addition to the requirements in subdivisions (a) to (f), inclusive, the Superintendent shall require and consider the following in determining whether to certify a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency as described in this subdivision:

(A) A complete statement of the information required as part of the notice under paragraph (1).

(B) Documentation of the steps taken in preparation for the conversion to a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency, including information related to changes in the population to be served and the services to be provided pursuant to each pupil’s individualized education program.

(4) Notwithstanding any other law, the certification becomes effective no earlier than July 1 if the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency provided the notification required pursuant to paragraph (1).

(l) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, the Superintendent shall not certify or renew the certification of a nonpublic, nonsectarian school that also operates a licensed children’s institution, unless all of the following conditions are met:

(A) The entity operating the nonpublic, nonsectarian school maintains separate financial records for each entity that it operates, with each nonpublic, nonsectarian school identified separately from any licensed children’s institution that it operates.

(B) The entity submits an annual budget that identifies the projected costs and revenues for each entity and demonstrates that the rates to be charged are reasonable to support the operation of the entity.

(C) The entity submits an entitywide annual audit that identifies its costs and revenues, by entity, in accordance with generally accepted accounting and auditing principles. The audit shall clearly document the amount of moneys received and expended on the educational program provided by the nonpublic, nonsectarian school.

(D) The relationship between various entities operated by the same entity are documented, defining the responsibilities of the entities. The documentation shall clearly identify the services to be provided as part of each program, for example, the residential or medical program, the mental health program, or the educational program. The entity shall not seek funding from a public agency for a service, either separately or as part of a package of services, if the service is funded by another public agency, either separately or as part of a package of services.

(2) For purposes of this section, “licensed children’s institution” has the same meaning as it is defined by Section 56155.5.

(m) (1) The nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall be charged a reasonable fee for certification. The Superintendent may adjust the fee annually commensurate with the statewide average percentage inflation adjustment computed for local control funding formula allocations pursuant to Section 42238.02, as implemented by Section 42238.03, of unified school districts with greater than 1,500 units of average daily attendance if the percentage increase is reflected in the school district local control funding formula allocation pursuant to Section 42238.02, as implemented by Section 42238.03, for inflation purposes. For purposes of this section, the base fee shall be the following:

(1) 1-5 pupils  ……………………

$?300

(2) 6-10 pupils  ……………………

500

(3) 11-24 pupils  ……………………

1,000

(4) 25-75 pupils  ……………………

1,500

(5) 76 pupils and over  ……………………

2,000

(2) The nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall pay this fee when it applies for certification and when it updates its application for annual renewal by the Superintendent. The Superintendent shall use these fees to conduct onsite reviews, which may include field experts. A fee shall not be refunded if the application is withdrawn or is denied by the Superintendent.

(n) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, only those nonpublic, nonsectarian schools or agencies that provide special education and designated instruction and services using staff who hold a certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to that which staff in a public school are required to hold in the service rendered are eligible to receive certification. Only those nonpublic, nonsectarian schools or agencies located outside of California that employ staff who hold a current valid credential or license to render special education and related services as required by that state shall be eligible to be certified.

(2) The state board shall develop regulations to implement this subdivision.

(o) In addition to meeting the standards adopted by the state board, a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall provide written assurances that it meets all applicable standards relating to fire, health, sanitation, and building safety.

(p) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (n) of Section 44237, and for purposes of enabling the Superintendent to carry out his or her duties pursuant to this section, a nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall, upon demand, make available to the Superintendent evidence of a successful criminal background check clearance and enrollment in subsequent arrest notice service, conducted pursuant to Section 44237, for each owner, operator, and employee of the nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency.

(2) The nonpublic, nonsectarian school or agency shall retain the evidence and store it in a locked file separate from other files.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 32, Sec. 95. (AB 1808) Effective June 27, 2018.)