Suffern, NY asked in Education Law for New York

Q: Participation in NSLP, Title I, Transportation, and MSA for Nonpublic Schools with Non-Equivalent Secular Curricula

I am looking to understand the eligibility of a nonpublic school in New York State for various state and federal programs. The school in question does not offer a secular studies curriculum at all.

I am particularly interested in the following programs:

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

Title I funds

Transportation services

Mandated Services Aid (MSA) and other similar programs

Are there specific curriculum-related requirements for eligibility for each of these programs?

Does the absence of a substantially equivalent secular studies curriculum impact the school's eligibility for any or all of these funds?

Thank you very much in advance.

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Eligibility for state and federal education programs often includes specific requirements that schools must meet, which can include curriculum standards. For the National School Lunch Program, the focus is primarily on economic need and compliance with program regulations, not curriculum.

However, Title I funds are generally aimed at improving academic achievement in reading and math, and the absence of a secular curriculum may impact eligibility. Transportation services are typically provided to all nonpublic schools within certain distances from the school, regardless of the curriculum. Mandated Services Aid is tied to the school's compliance with certain state requirements, which can include curriculum components.

The absence of a substantially equivalent secular studies curriculum could potentially impact eligibility for MSA and other similar programs. It's advisable to review the specific regulations of each program and possibly consult with the New York State Education Department for guidance on these matters.

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