NOTE: the following discussion of ESY is specific to California. The law in other states may or may not be different.
What is ESY?
Extended School Year (ESY) services are special education and related services provided by school districts, special education local plan areas (SELPAs), and county offices of education during the summer months between academic years. ESY is not the same as summer school programs offered by the district to non-disabled children. ESY services must be tailored for each child’s unique needs and are a continuation of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) provided during the regular academic year. Special education and related services offered during the extended year period must be comparable in standards, scope and quality to the special education program offered during the regular academic year.
How is eligibility for ESY determined?
The IEP team determines whether a child is eligible for ESY. A child with exceptional needs must be provided ESY if s/he requires special education and related services in excess of the regular academic year. For example, ESY is required if an interruption of the child’s educational program may cause regression. The need for ESY must be specified in the child’s IEP.
How long does ESY last?
In California, an extended year program lasts a minimum of 20 instructional days, including holidays. An ESY program lasts a maximum of 55 instructional days, excluding holidays, for individuals in special classes or centers for the severely disabled; and a maximum of 30 instructional days, excluding holidays, for all other eligible children who require ESY.
Must transportation be provided as part of the ESY program?
Yes. Extended school year services should be another consideration of a pupil’s need for transportation if considered necessary to provide a free appropriate public education as specified in a pupil’s IEP.
Are certain disabilities excluded from ESY eligibility?
No. A school district may not limit ESY services to particular categories of disability. ESY eligibility is solely determined by a child’s needs.
Code of Federal Regulations – 34 CFR § 300.106 Extended School Year Services
(a) General. (1) Each public agency must ensure that extended school year services are available as necessary to provide FAPE, consistent with paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
(2) Extended school year services must be provided only if a child’s IEP Team determines, on an individual basis, in accordance with §§300.320 through 300.324, that the services are necessary for the provision of FAPE to the child.
(3) In implementing the requirements of this section, a public agency may not—
(i) Limit extended school year services to particular categories of disability; or
(ii) Unilaterally limit the type, amount, or duration of those services.
(b) Definition. As used in this section, the term extended school year services means special education and related services that—
(1) Are provided to a child with a disability—
(i) Beyond the normal school year of the public agency;
(ii) In accordance with the child’s IEP; and
(iii) At no cost to the parents of the child; and
(2) Meet the standards of the SEA.
California Code of Regulations – 5 CCR § 3043
Extended school year services shall be provided for each individual with exceptional needs who has unique needs and requires special education and related services in excess of the regular academic year. Such individuals shall have handicaps which are likely to continue indefinitely or for a prolonged period, and interruption of the pupil’s educational programming may cause regression, when coupled with limited recoupment capacity, rendering it impossible or unlikely that the pupil will attain the level of self-sufficiency and independence that would otherwise be expected in view of his or her handicapping condition. The lack of clear evidence of such factors may not be used to deny an individual an extended school year program if the individualized education program team determines the need for such a program and includes extended school year in the individualized education program pursuant to subsection (f).
(a) Extended year special education and related services shall be provided by a school district, special education local plan area, or county office offering programs during the regular academic year.
(b) Individuals with exceptional needs who may require an extended school year are those who:
(1) Are placed in special classes or centers; or
(2) Are individuals with exceptional needs whose individualized education programs specify an extended year program as determined by the Individualized Education Program Team.
(c) The term “extended year” as used in this section means the period of time between the close of one academic year and the beginning of the succeeding academic year. The term “academic year” as used in this section means that portion of the school year during which the regular day school is maintained, which period must include not less than the number of days required to entitle the district, special education services region, or county office to apportionments of state funds.
(d) An extended year program shall be provided for a minimum of 20 instructional days, including holidays. For reimbursement purposes:
(1) A maximum of 55 instructional days excluding holidays shall be allowed for individuals in special classes or centers for the severely handicapped; and
(2) A maximum of 30 instructional days excluding holidays shall be allowed for all other eligible pupils needing extended year.
(e) A local governing board may increase the number of instructional days during the extended year period, but shall not claim revenue for average daily attendance generated beyond the maximum instructional days allowed in subsection (d)(1) and (2).
(f) An extended year program, when needed, as determined by the Individualized Education Program team, shall be included in the pupil’s individualized education program.
(g) In order to qualify for average daily attendance revenue for extended year pupils, all of the following conditions must be met:
(1) Extended year special education shall be the same length of time as the school day for pupils of the same age level attending summer school in the district in which the extended year program is provided, but not less than the minimum school day for that age unless otherwise specified in the individualized education program to meet a pupil’s unique needs.
(2) The special education and related services offered during the extended year period are comparable in standards, scope and quality to the special education program offered during the regular academic year.
(h) If during the regular academic year an individual’s individualized education program specifies integration in the regular classroom, a public education agency is not required to meet that component of the individualized education program if no regular summer school programs are being offered by that agency.
(i) This section shall not apply to schools which are operating a continuous school program pursuant to Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 37600) of Part 22, Division 3, Title 2, of the Education Code.
California Education Code Section 56345(b)(3)
Pursuant to Section 300.106 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, extended school year services shall be included in the individualized education program and provided to the pupil if the individualized education program team of the pupil determines, on an individual basis, that the services are necessary for the provision of a free appropriate public education to the pupil.