June 1997

IDEA


TO:District Superintendents
      Presidents of Boards of Education
      Superintendents of Schools
     Organizations, Parents & Individuals Concerned with Special Education
     Superintendents of State-Operated and State-Supported Schools
     Executive Directors of Approved Private Schools
     Directors of Approved Preschool Programs
     Principals of Public Schools
     Directors of Special Education
     Chairpersons of Committees on Special Education
     Chairpersons of Committees on Preschool Special Education
     Directors of Pupil Personnel Services
     Commissioner's Advisory Panel for Special Education Services
     Impartial Hearing Officers
     Community Dispute Resolution Centers
     SEALTA Project Directors
     SETRC Project Directors and Training Specialists
     State and Local Teacher Associations
     ECDC Project Directors and Coordinators
     Family Court Judges and Designees
     Chief Elected Officials of the Counties
     New York City Board of Education
     Independent Living Centers

FROM:Lawrence C. Gloeckler

SUBJECT:Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

On June 4, 1997, President Clinton signed Congressional bill S171 which reauthorizes the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The amendments are substantial and represented a historic turning point for educational services to children with disabilities and their families. They are also remarkably similar to the Special Education Reform proposal set forth by the New York State Board of Regents.

As a result of these amendments, the law now focuses on improving educational achievement and ensuring the success of students with disabilities in the general education curriculum. It emphasizes participation in statewide and district assessment programs and requires States to report the results to the U.S. Department of Education and the public. Finally, it severs the relationship between federal funding and the number of students identified. In approximately two years, funding will be distributed to states and to local districts based on census data for children ages 3 to 21 (85%) and the states poverty rate (15%).

In Section 601(c) of the Act, Congress finds that education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by:

There are many other changes to the IDEA that will require local education agencies to review and realign their special education services to meet the new challenges set forth in Statute.

The United States Department of Education will issue regulations to conform with the new requirements of the Act. In subsequent action, New York State must amend its law and regulations to be consistent with the Federal requirements. Accordingly, the Department will propose to the Legislature and the Board of Regents amendments to Education Law and Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, respectively.

In the interim, school districts and the State must fully comply with the changes to the IDEA. Effective dates for the various provisions of IDEA are as follows:

oPart A is effective June 4, 1997.

oPart B is effective June 4, 1997, with the following exceptions:-

Effective October 1, 1997 - Section 617 (Administrative Procedures)-
Effective July 1, 1998:-
Section 612(a)(4)(Comprehensive System of Personnel Preparation)-
Section 612(a)(14)(Personnel Standards)-
Section 612(a)(16)(Performance goals and indicators)-
Section 614(d)(Individualized Education Program - except paragraph 6)-
Section 618(Program Information)


oPart C (Infants and Toddlers) is effective July 1, 1998

oPart D is effective October 1, 1997, with the following exceptions:-

Effective January 1, 1998 - standing panel and peer review provisions of the "Research & Technical Assistance" section.


Attachment 1 includes an overview of the major provisions of the Act. Attachment 2 provides a summary of the new changes to the IDEA. The full text of the IDEA is on the Internet at http://www.lrp.com.

Questions regarding this information should be directed to your Regional Associate or the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities at 518-473-2878.

Attachment 1

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT
A CONTEXT AND OVERVIEW OF MAJOR PROVISIONS OF PART B OF THE ACT

FINDINGS

The implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has been impeded by low expectations for students with disabilities and an insufficient focus on replicable research on proven methods of teaching and learning for students with disabilities.

The education of students with disabilities can be made more effective by:

Greater efforts are needed to prevent the intensification of problems connected with mislabeling and high dropout rates among minority students with disabilities.

FOCUS ON IMPROVING STUDENT RESULTS
Effective July 1, 1998

Requires states to establish performance goals for students with disabilities, consistent with goals and standards for all children established by the state, and to develop indicators to judge these students' progress.

Requires students with disabilities to be included in state and districtwide assessments of student progress with individual modifications and accommodations as needed. By the year 2000, for students who cannot participate in such assessments, alternate assessments must be developed and conducted.

Requires states to report to the public on the assessment performance of students including those students participating in alternate assessments.

Effective Immediately

Allows states to grant authority to school districts to use Part B funds to design, implement and evaluate a school-based improvement plan designed to improve educational and transitional results for students with disabilities, and, as appropriate, for other children consistent with the provisions that allow funds to be used for services and aids that also benefit nondisabled children and for integrated and coordinated services systems.

PROMOTES APPROPRIATE REFERRALS TO SPECIAL EDUCATION
Effective Immediately

Requires that those who are involved in evaluation give serious consideration to other factors that might be affecting a student's performance. In making a determination of a student's eligibility, the Act states that a student shall not be determined to be a student with a disability if the determination factor for labeling is lack of instruction in reading or math or limited English proficiency.

Allows Part B funds to be used for special education and related services provided to a student with a disability in accordance with the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) even if one or more nondisabled students benefit from those services.

THE INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM PLANNING PROCESS

Evaluation
Effective Immediately

Emphasizes the evaluation and reevaluation process being used to determine if a student continues to have a disability or continues to need special education and related services and whether modifications to the special education program need to be made for participation in general education.

Requires that a school district obtain informed parental consent prior to conducting any reevaluation of a student with a disability; however, such consent is not necessary if the school district can demonstrate that reasonable measures have been taken to obtain consent and the parent did not respond.

Requires school districts to expend a proportionate amount of Federal funds for students with disabilities unilaterally enrolled by their parents in nonpublic schools. Special education services may be provided on site, including parochial schools, to the extent consistent with Law.

Establishes procedures concerning school districts' responsibility to reimburse cost of special education if parents unilaterally place their child with a disability (who has previously received special education services from the school district) in a private school. Although the Act allows exceptions, reimbursement may be reduced or denied if:-

IEP Team Membership
Effective July 1, 1998

In addition to currently required members, the IEP team must also include a regular education teacher (if the student is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment); at least one special education teacher; a representative of the school district knowledgeable about the general curriculum and availability of resources; and an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results.

IEP Document
Effective July 1, 1998

Emphasizes how a student is progressing in the general curriculum.

Requires several additional statements on a student's Individualized Education Program including:

Transition Services
Effective July 1, 1998

Beginning at age 14, and updated annually, the student's IEP must include a statement of transition service needs, under applicable components of the IEP, that focuses on the student's course of study (e.g., advanced placement courses; vocational education program).

Consideration of Special Factors
Effective July 1, 1998

The IEP team must consider the following special factors in developing a student's IEP: behavioral interventions; language needs; communication needs; instruction in Braille; and assistive technology.

DISCIPLINE

Effective Immediately

Allows school personnel to change a student's placement for up to 10 days to "an appropriate interim alternative setting, another setting or suspension" for disciplinary reasons.

Allows school personnel to change a student's placement to an appropriate alternative educational setting, as determined by the IEP team, for up to 45 days for a student who carries a weapon to school or to a school function, or who knowingly possesses, uses, sells or solicits illegal drugs at school or a school function.

For each student for whom school personnel order a change of placement, requires the IEP Team to meet to conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan.

Allows a hearing officer to order a change in the placement of a student with a disability to an appropriate interim alternative setting for not more than 45 days if the hearing officer determines the current placement of the student is substantially likely to result in injury to the student or to others.

For each student for whom school personnel or a hearing officer orders a change in placement, requires the IEP Team and other qualified personnel to meet to determine the relationship between the child's disability and the behavior subject to the disciplinary action. ("manifestation determination").

Provides that the parents may request an expedited hearing if they disagree with the manifestation determination; and clarifies placement during appeals.

Provides that school personnel may request an expedited hearing if they maintain that it is dangerous for the student to be in the current placement during the pendency of the due process proceedings.

Establishes protections for children not yet eligible for special education services.

PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS
Effective Immediately

Allows school districts to use a shorter notice if a school district proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of the student or the provision of FAPE.

The shorter notice must include a description of the action proposed or refused, an explanation of why the school district proposed or refused to take the action, a description of any other options the school district considered and why those options were rejected, a description of each evaluation procedure, test, record or report the school district used as a basis for the proposed or refused action, a statement that the parents of a student with a disability have protections under the procedural safeguards of IDEA and how to obtain a full copy of those protections, and sources for parents to obtain assistance in understanding IDEA.

Continues to require the full procedural safeguards notice to be sent to the parent(s) upon initial referral for evaluation, each notification of an IEP meeting, reevaluation and registration of a complaint under IDEA.

The full notice must include a complete explanation of the procedural safeguards relating to independent evaluation, prior written notice, parental consent, access to educational records, opportunity to present complaints, pendency, interim alternative educational setting procedures, requirements for unilateral placements by parents in private schools at public expense, mediation, due process hearings, appeals, civil action and attorneys' fees.

RESOLVING DUE PROCESS DISPUTES
Effective Immediately

Requires states to offer voluntary mediation to parties involved in IDEA disputes.

Disallows the awarding of attorneys' fees for IEP meetings and for mediation prior to due process.

Requires parents to give specific notice of their concerns and a proposed solution prior to due process which will facilitate solving problems.

Limits the role of the United States Department of Education in issuing informal "policy letters" without following Federal requirements regarding rulemaking.

Provides due process procedures for students placed in alternative placements for discipline purposes.

Requires states to provide a model form to assist parents in the filing of a complaint.

Specifies that attorneys' fees may be reduced if the parent protracted the final resolution of the controversy, the attorneys' fees to be awarded unreasonably exceeds the hourly rate in the community; the time spent and legal services were excessive for the action; or the attorney did not provide the school district the appropriate information in the due process complaint.

CHANGES TO FUNDING AND STATE SET-ASIDES
Effective Immediately

Changes the Federal funding formula for both the State and local school districts by eliminating funding based on the number of children identified and instead provides funds on the basis of total student enrollment (85%) and levels of poverty (15%). The change is anticipated to begin by Federal fiscal year 1999.

Requires the State to revise its special education funding formula as soon as feasible if it is based on the type of settings in which a child is served and results in placements that violate the requirements of the Least Restrictive Environment.

Provides that a greater portion of the future funds flow through to local school districts and under certain conditions, gives them more flexibility in the use of those funds.

Provides flexibility in the use of Part B funds which could be used incidentally to benefit nondisabled students, for school-wide projects, to create coordinated services systems and to implement school-based improvement plans.

STATE AND LOCAL PLANS
Effective Immediately

Eliminates the requirement that states submit State Plans every three years. States need only to submit one application, and thereafter submit amendments necessitated by official findings of compliance problems or changes in law.

Allows school districts to submit local applications to the states only once, and, thereafter, only to detail amendments based on compliance reviews or changes in law.

PROGRAM INFORMATION

Effective July 1, 1998

Requires states and school districts to additionally collect data on:-

Attachment 2

IDEA REAUTHORIZATION

 
TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS    
Part A: General Provisions
Developmental Delay
[602(3)(B)]
Allows, at discretion of the State, expansion of the age range for the definition of "developmental delay" from ages 3-5 to ages 3-9.
Related Services
[602(22)]
Adds "orientation and mobility services" to the definition of related services.
Supplementary Aids and Services
[602(29)]
Adds a definition of supplementary aids and services: "aids, services, and supports provided in the regular classroom or other educationally related settings to enable disabled children to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate ....."
Transition Services
[602(30)]
Adds "related services" to the definition of transition services.
TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
Policy Letters and Statements [607(c)] Clarifies that the Secretary of Education may not establish rules through policy letters without following Federal rulemaking requirements. Requires that the U.S. Department of Education include a statement regarding the legal status of agency interpretations and that policy letters are not legally binding.
Part B - Section 611 - Authorization; Allotment; Used Funds, Authorization of Appropriation
Funding Formula
[611(a), (d) - (e)]
Retains the child count-based formula in current law until the appropriation for Part B reaches $4,924,672,200. When the $4.9 billion threshold funding level is reached, a change in the funding formula will be triggered. At that point, yearly child counts based on disability will no longer determine a state's allotment.
When $4.9 billion is reached, a state's allotment will be based on two calculations added together:

1) The amount the state received in the year prior to the threshold amount being reached; and
2) The state's proportional share of funds that exceeded that previous year's appropriation base: 85% on the state's census data for children ages 3 through 21 (if the state provides a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to children of these ages) and 15% based on the state's poverty rate.

Maximum - The legislation caps the maximum funding increase for a state gaining from the revised formula. States would receive no more than 1.5 percent more than the total percent of Part B funds received in the prior year plus the percentage increase in the amount appropriated.
Minimum - Includes a minimum allocation for states receiving less under the change in formula. The state would receive no less than either 1.5 percent less than the total percent Part B appropriations increase for that year or 90 percent of the total percentage increase, whichever is greater. No state will receive less than the amount it received in the prior year (unless funding appropriation is reduced). In the year the new formula is triggered, the state minimum will be come 1/3 of one percent of the new formula funds.
If there is a decrease in funds, each state will receive the base year amount plus a percentage of the balance available based on the state's prior year percentage of the total.
TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
State Level Activities
[611(f)]
Includes: state administration; other state level activities; and subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs).
The Act continues to allow states to retain a portion of their state allotments with certain changes effective for fiscal year 1998.
1) Provides that, using fiscal year 1997 funding amount as the base, the Secretary determines the state's amount annually as 25% of the amount received in the base year cumulatively adjusted by the percentage increase in the state's allocation from the prior year or the rate of inflation, whichever is lower.
2) The five percent for administrative purposes is capped at the fiscal year 1997 level, with future annual increases limited to the rate of inflation or the rate of Federal appropriation increases, whichever is less.
3) The remaining 20 percent of the state's share of its Part B allotment is capped in the same manner. The 20 percent allocation for "other state level activities" includes:
  • support and direct services;
  • administrative costs of monitoring and complaint investigation;
  • establishing a mediation process
  • assisting LEA's in meeting personnel shortages
  • developing a statewide improvement plan
  • state and local activities to meet performance goals under Section 612
  • implementing other amounts used to develop and implement a statewide coordinated services system
  • subgrants to local educational agencies (LEAs).
4) Any excess above inflation in any year must be used as grants to school districts for capacity building and improvement.
Preschool Funding Formula
[619]
Beginning in fiscal year 1997, a state's allocation is based on:
1.The amount the state received in the prior year, and
2.Increases in funding will be distributed: 85% based on general population of children ages 3 through 5; and 15% based on the state's poverty rate.


Note: The minimum and maximum allocation provisions of the grants to states program (Chapter 611) also apply to Preschool.

Part B - Section 612 - State Eligibility
State Plans
[612(a), (b)-(c)]
Eliminates the requirement that states submit State Plans every three years. States need only to submit one application, and thereafter submit amendments necessitated by official findings of compliance problems or changes in law.
Free Appropriate Public Education
[612(a)(1)]
The provisions of "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) have been amended to include children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school; and limits the application of FAPE by excluding those children with disabilities, ages 18-21, who were not actually identified as students with disabilities or did not have an IEP immediately prior to their incarceration in adult prisons.
Child Find
[612(a)(3)]
Expands a state's child find efforts to include children in private schools and requires states to develop and implement a process to determine whether such students are receiving necessary special education.
TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
[612(a)(5)]
Requires states whose funding formula is not consistent with the provision for placement in the least restrictive environment to provide assurance that it will revise the funding mechanism as soon as feasible to ensure that the funding mechanism does not result in placements that violate the requirements relating to least restrictive environment.
Children Enrolled in Private Schools [612(a)(10)] Students with disabilities attending private schools are entitled to a proportionate amount of IDEA funds. IDEA funds can be used on the premises of a private school, including a parochial school, to the extent allowed by law.
Payment for children enrolled in private schools without consent of or referral by the public agency
[612(a)(10)(C)]
Establishes procedures concerning school districts' responsibility to reimburse cost of special education if parents unilaterally place their child with a disability (who has previously received special education services from the school district) in a private school. Although the Act allows exceptions, reimbursement may be reduced or denied if:-

the parents did not inform the school district that they are rejecting the placement proposed by the public agency to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) within ten business days; -
the parents did not allow the school district to evaluate their child prior to removing him or her from the public placement; or, -
upon a judicial finding of unreasonableness with respect to actions taken by the parent.
State Responsibility to Ensure Services [612 (a) (12)] Clarifies current law that a state's requirement to provide general supervision does not limit or lessen the obligation of agencies other than educational agencies to provide or pay for some or all the costs of a student's free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Allows states to assign any public agency the responsibility to ensure that FAPE is provided to students with disabilities who are convicted as adults under State law and incarcerated in adult prisons.

Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD) [612 (a)(14)] Directs the State to have in effect a CSPD that is designated to ensure an adequate supply of qualified special education, regular education and related services personnel that meets the requirements of a State improvement plan relating to personnel development. The CSPD must include:-
an analysis of State and local needs for professional development personnel to serve students with disabilities that minimally includes the number of personnel providing special education and related services; and relevant information on current and anticipated vacancies, shortages and the extent of certification or retraining necessary to eliminate such shortages. -
how the State will address the identified needs for in-service and preservice preparation.

Coordinates CSPD requirements with the personnel sections of the State Improvement Plans under Part D, if applicable, so that states only have to meet one set of requirements for both purposes.

TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
Personnel Standards
[612 (a) (15)]
Retains current requirements; allows paraprofessionals who are appropriately trained and supervised in accordance with state law, regulation, or written policy to be used in the provision of special education and related services to children with disabilities; and clarifies that a state may adopt a policy that includes requiring school districts to make ongoing good-faith efforts to recruit and hire appropriately and adequately trained personnel to provide special education and related services. In areas of the state where there is a shortage, allows for use of "most qualified persons available" who are making satisfactory progress toward completing applicable course work necessary to meet the standards within three years.
Performance goals and indicators
[612(a)(16)]
Requires states to establish goals for the performance of children with disabilities and develop indicators to judge progress. Results of assessments must be used in the development of any revised State Improvement Plan.
Participate in assessments
[612(a)(17)]
Requires that students with disabilities, with accommodations where necessary, be included in state and districtwide assessment programs by 1998. Alternate assessments must be developed for students who cannot participate in state and school district assessments by the year 2000. Results must be reported while protecting the identity of individual children.
Supplementation of funds
[612(a)(18)]
Clarifies the requirement that states must use Federal funds to supplement (not supplant) state funds and must maintain fiscal effort.
Maintenance of State Financial Support
[612(a)(19)]
Requires that a state not reduce its share of financial support for special education below that of the preceding fiscal year.
State Advisory Panel
[612(a)(21)]
Revises the membership of the State Advisory Panel to include representation from private and charter schools, at least one representative of a vocational, community, or business organization concerned with the provision of transition services to students with disabilities and a representative from the State juvenile and adult correctional agencies. Provides more detail on members' duties including advising the state on developing corrective action plans to address Federal monitoring report compliance issues and on developing and implementing policies relating to coordination of children's services.
Suspension and Expulsion Rates [612(a)(22)] Directs the states to examine data to determine if significant discrepancies are occurring in the rate of long-term suspensions and expulsions of children with disabilities among school districts in the state or compared to such rates for nondisabled students within school districts; and requires revisions of states and/or school district policies, procedures and practices relating to IEP development, behavioral interventions and procedural requirements, as appropriate.
Section 613 - Local Education Agency Eligibility
Incidental Benefits
[613(a)(4)(A)]
Allows Part B funds to be used for special education and related services provided to a student with a disability in accordance with the student's IEP, even if one or more students without disabilities benefit from these services.
Charter Schools
[613(a)(5); 613(a)(B)]
Directs school districts to provide funds to and serve students with disabilities attending charter schools in the same manner as it provides to other schools.
TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
Use of Funds
[613(a)(2)(A); 613(a)(2)(B)]
Maintains current "supplement not supplant" and maintenance of effort provisions regarding local funding for special education, except that a school district may reduce its level of expenditure if the reduction is attributable to:-
the voluntary departure or departure for just cause of special education personnel;-
a decrease in enrollment of students with disabilities;-
the termination of obligation to provide special education to a student in an exceptionally costly program because the student has left the school's jurisdiction, has aged out of the program, or no longer needs the program; or,-
the termination of costly expenditures for long-term projects, such as acquisition of equipment or construction of facilities.
In any fiscal year where Federal appropriations exceed $4.1 billion, a school district may use up to 20% of its increase in funding to reduce its effort of the previous year by that amount. States may prevent school districts from reducing their effort if the school district has been cited for failing to comply with IDEA.
Local Plans
[613(b)]
Allows school districts to submit local applications to the State only once, and thereafter only to detail amendments based on compliance reviews or changes in law.
Coordinated Services System [613(f)] Allows a school district to use up to five percent of its Part B funds to develop and implement a coordinated services system to improve results for students and families, including students with disabilities and their families.
School-Based Improvement Plan [613(g)] Allows states to grant authority to school districts to use Part B funds to design, implement and evaluate a school improvement plan consistent with the State Improvement Grant Program in Part D. Specifies that the plan must be designed to improve educational and transitional results for all students consistent with the incidental benefit provision.
Schoolwide Programs
[613(a)(2)(D)]
Permits school districts to use Part B funds to carry out a "schoolwide project," except that the amount of the contribution is limited to the number of students with disabilities in the school multiplied by the per student amount.
Disciplinary Information
[613(j)]
States may require school districts to include disciplinary information in a student's record.
Section 614 - Evaluations, Eligibility Determinations, IEPs and Educational Placements
Determination of Eligibility [614(b)(4)] Adds a special rule that a student shall not be determined to be a student with a disability if the determining factor for such determination is lack of instruction in reading or math or limited English proficiency.
Evaluations and Reevaluations
[614(a); 614(c)]
Emphasizes the evaluation and reevaluation process being used to determine if a student continues to have a disability or continues to need special education and related services and whether modifications to the special education program need to be made for participation in general education. Requires that a school district evaluate a student with a disability before determining that the student no longer requires special education services (declassification).
TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
Parental Consent
[614(c)(3)]
Requires a school district to obtain informed parental consent prior to conducting any reevaluation of a student with a disability; however, such consent is not necessary if the school district can demonstrate that reasonable measures have been taken to obtain consent and the parent did not respond.
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
[614(d)]
The Act codifies existing IEP requirements and additionally requires that the IEP include-
  • how the student's disability affects the student's involvement and progress in the general curriculum or, for a preschool child, the child's participation in appropriate activities; -
  • annual goals including benchmarks or short-term objectives related to meeting the student's needs to enable the student to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum, and meeting each of the student's other educational needs; -
  • special education services and supplementary aids and services provided for the student to advance toward attainment of annual goals, to be involved in the general curriculum and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities, and to be educated and participate with other students in activities;-
  • provide an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the student will not participate with students without disabilities; and,-
  • information regarding test modifications and written statements regarding why particular assessments may not be appropriate and how the student will be assessed.
IEP Transition Services [614(d)(1)(A)(vii)] Adds the requirement that, beginning at age 14, and updated annually, the IEP must include a statement of the transition service needs of the students, under applicable components of the IEP, that focuses on the student's courses of study (such as participation in advanced-placement courses or a vocational education program).
IEP Team
[614(d)(1)(B) and (C)]
Adds at least one regular education teacher if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment; at least one special education teacher; a representative of the school district knowledgeable about the general curriculum and availability of resources; and an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results.

The regular education teacher, as a member of the IEP team shall, to the extent appropriate, participate in the development of the IEP of the child, including the determination of appropriate positive behavioral interventions and strategies and the determination of supplementary aids and services, programs modifications and support for school personnel.

Considerations of Special Factors in the IEP
[614(d)(3)(B)]
Requires the IEP team to consider behavioral interventions; language needs; communication needs; instruction in Braille; and assistive technology when developing a child's IEP.
Students with Disabilities in Adult Prisons
[614 (d)(6)]
Allows states to delegate the responsibility for overseeing the education of convicted prisoners in adult facilities from its Department of Education to its Department of Corrections.
Secretary can only withhold funds for noncompliance proportional to the number of prisoners involved. Allows modified services, placement, and paperwork procedures based on security issues and compelling peneological requirements of the prison environment. (There are no prison-specific provisions in current law.)
TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
Section 615 - Procedural Safeguards
Access to Records and Independent Evaluations
[615(b)(1)]
Retains current law, but includes provision to clarify that parents can review all records (not just "relevant" records).
Prior Written Notice
[615(c)]
Allows school districts to use a shorter notice when the district proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of the student or the provision of FAPE. The shorter notice must include a description of the action proposed or refused; an explanation of why the school district proposed or refused to take the action; a description of any other options the school district considered and why those options were rejected; a description of each evaluation procedure, test, record or report the school district used as a basis for the proposed or refused action, a statement that the parents of a student with a disability have protections under the procedural safeguards of IDEA; how to obtain a full copy of those protections; and sources for parents to obtain assistance in understanding IDEA.

Continues to require the full procedural safeguards notice upon initial referral for evaluation, each notification of an IEP meeting, reevaluation and registration of a complaint under IDEA. The full notice must include a complete explanation of the procedural safeguards relating to independent evaluation, prior written notice, parental consent, access to educational records, opportunity to present complaints, pendency, interim alternative educational setting procedures, requirements for unilateral placements by parents in private schools at public expense, mediation, due process hearings, appeals, civil actions, and attorneys' fees.

Contents of Procedural Safeguards Notice
[615(d)]
Adds statements to the due process notice concerning procedures for students who are subject to placement in an interim alternative educational setting and requirements for unilateral placement by parents of children in private schools at public expense.
Mediation
[615(e)]
Requires states to establish mediation systems in which parents and schools can voluntarily participate. Stipulates that the system could not be used to deny or delay a parent's right to due process. Allows a school district or state agency to require parents who refuse mediation to meet with a "disinterested party" who would encourage and explain the benefits of mediation. This impartial individual is to be under contract with a parent training and information center or a community parent resource center in the state. Mediation is to be conducted by qualified and impartial individuals, a list of whom is to be maintained by the State. States bear the cost of mediation and meetings with a disinterested party. Discussions are confidential and cannot be used as evidence in subsequent due process or civil proceedings.
Impartial Due Process Hearing: Disclosure of Evaluations and Recommendations
[615(f)(2)]
Requires that five days prior to an impartial hearing, each party disclose to the other party all evaluation results and recommendations to be offered at an impartial hearing.
TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
Reduction in Attorneys' Fees [615(I) (3)(F)] Continues current law, which defines a prevailing party as the one succeeding on any significant issue in the litigation. Current law also stipulates that attorneys' fees may be reduced under certain circumstances. However, the Act is amended concerning prohibition of awarding attorneys' fees in certain situations. Attorneys' fees may be reduced if the attorney representing the parent did not provide the school district with appropriate information in accordance with notice procedures under the Act. The proposal also stipulates that attorneys' fees cannot be awarded for IEP meetings, unless the meeting is convened as a result of an "administrative proceeding or judicial action." Attorneys' fees are not provided for mediation prior to the filing of a due process complaint.
Discipline: Authority of School Personnel
[615(k)(1)]
School personnel are authorized to order a change in placement to an "appropriate interim alternative educational setting, another setting, or suspension" for not more than 10 school days (to the extent such alternatives would be applied to children without disabilities); and if a child carries a weapon to school (or a school function) or "knowingly" possesses or uses illegal drugs or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school, to an "appropriate alternative educational setting" for the same amounts of time that a child without a disability would be subject to discipline (but not more than 45 days). Either before or not later than 10 days after taking action as above, if the school district did not conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavioral intervention plan before the behavior that resulted in suspension, the school district shall convene an IEP meeting to develop, review or modify an assessment plan to address that behavior. The IEP team determines the "alternative setting" to enable the child to continue to participate in the regular curriculum, receive services and modifications to meet the goals in the IEP, and address the behavior in question.
Discipline: Authority of a Hearing Officer
[615(k)(2)]
A hearing officer may order a change in the placement of a student with a disability to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting for not more than 45 days if the hearing officer determines that there is substantial evidence that maintaining the current placement of the student is substantially likely to result in injury to the student or to others. The alternative setting must enable the child to continue to participate in the regular curriculum and receive services and modifications to meet the goals in the IEP and must address the behavior in question.
TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
Manifestation Determination
[615(k)(4)]
No later than 10 days after taking such disciplinary actions, the IEP team and "other qualified individuals" shall review the relationship between the student's disability and any behavior subject to disciplinary action under the school's discipline code. The IEP team may determine that the behavior was not a manifestation of the student's disability only when they determine that, in relationship to the behavior subject to disciplinary action,
(a) the student's IEP and placement were appropriate, and special education services, supplementary aids and services and behavioral intervention strategies were provided consistent with the student's IEP;
(b) the student's disability did not impair the student's ability to understand the impact and consequences of the behavior subject to disciplinary action; and
c) the student's disability did not impair the ability of the student to control the behavior. If it is found that the behavior was not a manifestation of the student's disability, relevant disciplinary procedures used with nondisabled students may be applied, provided that there shall not be a cessation of services. If a parent disagrees with the determination or placement decision, the parent may request an expedited hearing. If the student is in an alternative setting, and the 45 days expire, the student shall return to the original placement, during the pendency of any proceedings. However, school personnel may request an expedited hearing if they maintain that it is dangerous for the student to be in the original placement.
Protection for Children Not Yet Eligible for Special Education
[615(k)(8)]
Includes a new provision which requires that a student who has not yet been determined eligible for special education, and who has violated any rule of conduct or code, could assert the protections of the Act if the school district had knowledge that the student was a student with a disability before the behavior occurred.
Referral to and Action by Law Enforcement
[615(k)(9)]
Requires that if an agency reports a crime committed by a student with a disability, it shall provide the student's special education records to appropriate authorities.
Rule of Construction
[615 (l)]
Adds the Americans with Disabilities Act to the list of other laws that are not restricted or "limited" in their application to "the rights, procedures, or remedies available" to individuals filing civil actions, after the provisions of IDEA have been exhausted.
Transfer of Rights at Age of Majority
[615(m)]
Describes procedures for the transfer of parental rights to the student when he or she reaches the age of majority, consistent with State policy. (There is no such provision in current law; however, a Department of Education policy memorandum outlines children's rights at majority.)

Specifies that "all rights accorded to parents transfer to students who are incarcerated in an adult or juvenile Federal, State or local correctional institution."

Section 616 - Withholding and Judicial Review
Withholding of Payments
[616(a)]
Allows the Secretary to "reduce or withhold payments" to states "in whole or in part" in situations where a state is found to be in non compliance.
TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
Section 618 - Program Information
Data on Overidentification of Minorities/Discipline
[618(c)]
Requires that data be examined by states to determine if significant disproportionality of race is occurring in relation to identification or placement. Also requires data to be examined by the state to determine if significant disparities in discipline of students with disabilities are occurring in the state.
Part C: Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities
Early Intervention Services
[631(b)(4)]
Encourages states to expand opportunities for children under three years of age who would be at-risk of having a substantial developmental delay if they did not receive early intervention services.
Definition of At-Risk Infant or Toddler
[632(1)]
Includes definition of "at-risk infants or toddlers" as "an individual under three years of age who would be at-risk of experiencing a substantial developmental delay if early intervention services were not provided to the individual."
Policies and Procedures
[635(16)]
Requires the lead agency (New York State Department of Health) to develop policies and procedures to ensure that early intervention services occur in natural environments unless early intervention cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
Content of Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP)
[636(d)(5)]
Requires a statement to be included in IFSP of the natural environments in which early intervention services shall appropriately be provided, including a justification of the extent, if any, to which the services will not be provided in a natural environment.


Part D: National Activities to Improve Education of Children with Disabilities
Subpart 1:
State Program Improvement Grants for Children with Disabilities
[652-656]
Establishes purpose of grants which is to assist states and their partners in reforming and improving systems for providing educational, early intervention and transitional services to improve results for students. Includes eligibility and the collaborative process for applying for grants.
Subpart 2:
Coordinate Research, Personnel Preparation, Technical Assistance, Support and Dissemination of Information
Requires that the Secretary develop and implement a plan for activities under this subpart in consultation with individuals with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, appropriate professionals and representatives of states and schools districts, private schools, institutions of higher education, other Federal agencies, National Council on Disability and other interested organizations.
Priority is to be given to projects that:
(1) address one or more age ranges, disabilities, school grades, types of educational placements or early intervention environments, types of services, content areas or behavioral strategies;
(2) address needs of children based on severity of disability;
(3) address needs of low-achieving students, underserved populations, children from low-income families, children with limited English proficiency, unserved and underserved areas, particular types of geographic areas, or children whose behavior interferes with learning;
(4) to reduce inappropriate identification as disabled, particularly among minority children; and
(5) are carried out in particular areas of the country.
Chapter 1. Improving Early Intervention, Educational, and Transitional Services and Results for Children with Disabilities through Coordinated Research and Personnel Preparation
[672; 673]
Supports research and innovation to improve services and results for students with disabilities.

Supports personnel preparation to improve services and results for students with disabilities.

Supports studies and evaluations which may include analysis of measurable impact, outcomes and results achieved through reform of State and local policies, procedures and practices; analysis of State and local needs for professional development, parent training and other activities that can reduce the need for disciplinary actions; assessment of educational and transitional services and results; and longitudinal studies of educational and transitional services and results.

TOPIC SUMMARY OF REVISED REQUIREMENTS
Chapter 2. Improving Early Intervention, Educational and Transitional Services and Results for Children with Disabilities through Coordinated Technical Assistance, Support and Dissemination of Information
[682-687]
Provides grants for:-
Parent Training and Information Centers; -
Community Parent Resource Centers;-
Technical Assistance for Parent Training and Information Centers;-
Coordinated Technical Assistance and Dissemination; and-
Technology Development, Demonstration and Utilization, and Media Services.