Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Special Education News

Two stories come from Disability Scoop.

The first story details how, after several years of what DS terms "flip-flopping," Secretary Duncan has issued some new rules telling schools not to "skimp" on funding for special education.   

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, schools are required to spend at least as much on special education as they did the prior year. Those that fail to maintain or increase their funding for special education from one year to the next without receiving an exemption from the U.S. Department of Education can miss out on federal funding.

Now the Education Department is clarifying that in cases where school districts run afoul of the spending requirement known as “maintenance of effort” for any given year, they are still expected to achieve the original, higher funding level for future years.

Though the rule officially takes effect July 1, the Education Department said that based on previous guidance to state officials, the requirements already apply to the current funding year.

The second article is also about federal officials warning school districts about pushing Sped parents into due process. 

Federal education officials are warning school districts to think twice before forcing parents into potentially long and costly due process proceedings.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, families may pursue due process or file a state complaint if they don’t believe their child has been provided appropriate school services.

However, in a “Dear Colleague” letter to education leaders across the country, officials at the U.S. Department of Education said this month that they are concerned that some school districts are moving to file for due process over issues that parents have already chosen to address via state complaints.

Basically, parents can find their complaint to the state held up until the district complaint has gone thru due process.  It appears that some districts are dragging their feet in order to stop a state complaint from going forward (in essence, delaying it).
“This type of action … may unreasonably limit parents’ dispute resolution options, and force parents either to participate in a potentially more adversarial, lengthy and costly due process complaint and hearing, or to fail to participate in the due process complaint and hearing and thereby risk the hearing official’s ruling in favor of the public agency,” the guidance states.
The Education Department told stakeholders that it “strongly believes” that it’s best for school districts to honor the choices of parents in selecting a forum for resolving special education disputes.


Anonymous said...

Federal education officials are warning school districts to think twice before forcing parents into potentially long and costly due process proceedings.

So what, there are no penalties for doing so and per the law districts have a right to due process the same as the parents.

If you ask for an IEE to prove your child qualifies for services the district has 10 days to file or fund. Most of the time they file.

When it comes to other IDEA requirements, SPS doesn't file due process, they do nothing and leave parents to except nothing or file due process where then the burden of proof falls on the parents. The end result is the same with the parents having to waste time and money going thru due process while the student suffers. The districts wins 97% of due process hearings.

I haven't seen the district move a parent's successful citizen complaint to due process.


Anonymous said...

And, the maintenance of effort is also not new. They've been required to have a maintenance of effort for many years. You can look at any district financial paper and see them trying to claim that they are keeping up with "maintenance of effort". The reason for this is pretty simple. Without a "maintenance of effort clause" - the district would dip into sped money for every new responsibility.

SPed parent