Authority for Special Education

An overview of the Department's responsibilities relating to Special Education.


Private school participation

The development of the Private School Participation Project, hereafter referred to as Project, is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the applicable Hawaii Administrative Rules, entitled Provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education for a Student with a Disability.

There are students, voluntarily enrolled by their parents in private schools, who have been identified by the Department as having a disability and in need of special education and related services under the provisions of IDEA and applicable Hawaii Administrative Rules. Although the Department has an obligation to ensure equitable participation of parentally placed private school students in programs assisted or carried out under IDEA, the regulations specify that these students do not have individual entitlement to special education or related services. As such, these students may be eligible for the Project which is an obligation of the Department and funded by IDEA. On an annual basis the Department evaluates the Project from the previous year, reviews statewide student data, and obtains input from private school representatives. Based on the information, the Department develops the Project to meet the areas of need for students in this population. The Project is intended to address the following:

  • greatest needs of these students;
  • students that would benefit most from receiving services;
  • kinds of services to effectively address students’ needs; and
  • extent to which services would enable students to benefit from their education.

A Services Plan is developed for each student included in the Project. Participation is dependent upon the area of disability/need identified as a priority, the ages/grades of targeted students, and the availability of Project funds. Federal and state law requires that the Department annually update the Project to meet the most current needs of the students with disabilities who have been voluntarily placed by their parents in private schools. Therefore, it must not be assumed that a student who received services during one school year can automatically receive services the following year.

Contact Information

Annie Kalama

Phone: (808) 305-9806


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