IEP Requirements Effective July 1, 1998
Individualized Education Programs (IEP)s developed on or after
July 1, 1998 must meet the new requirements of the Disabilities
Education Act Amendments of 1997 (IDEA '97). Prior to July 1 any
"reasonable request" from parents for an IEP meeting
to address the new statutory provisions should be granted.
The delay in implementation applies only to those IEP provisions
that were not mandated prior to IDEA '97, such as the requirement
that the regular classroom teacher be a member of the IEP team,
and the requirement that the IEP contain an explanation of the
extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled
All the other provisions of IDEA '97 were not postponed until
July 1, and should now be in effect, such as the participation
of children with disabilities in State and district-wide assessment
tests. Regular progress reports must now be given to parents of
children with disabilities.
The following is a brief summary of the new IEP requirements
which emphasize a child's participation in regular education.
- Required IEP Team Members: The legislation expands
the IEP team by requiring both the regular education teacher,
if the K-12 pupil or preschooler is or will be in a regular program,
and the special education teacher. A representative of the school
district must also be present who is knowledgeable about district
resources available to the pupil.
- Development of the IEP: A new section of the law details
what the IEP team should consider in developing each child's
IEP. The IEP must note how a child's disability affects performance
in the regular education curriculum.
- Behavioral Intervention Strategies: The IEP team must
consider behavioral intervention strategies and supports needed
to address behavior that impedes learning. The language needs
of limited English proficient (LEP) students must also be considered
as they relate to the IEP, including the possible delivery of
services in a language other than English.
- Assistive Technology: The IEP Team must consider whether
the child requires assistive technology and services in order
to succeed. Assistive technology devices are defined as any item,
piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase,
maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals
- Regular Progress Reports To Parents: Any IEP that
is in effect after July 1 must be able to identify how the student's
goals and objectives will occur in a meaningful way. It must
include a statement of modifications and accommodations needed
for the child to participate in state and district wide achievement
tests, and if not, a statement of why not and of how the student
will be tested.
- Least Restrictive Environment: The IEP must include
an explanation of the child's ability to be involved and progress
in the general curriculum. A statement of special education and
related services, program modifications and personnel supports
for the child to be involved in the general curriculum, extracurricular
and nonacademic activities.
- Transition Statement: Students age 14 must have a
transition statement focusing on the student's course of study.
Students age 16 are required to have an annual statement of needed
transition services and any required interagency responsibilities.
If an agency fails to provide IEP required transition services
for a student age 16 and older, an IEP meeting must be reconvened
to identify objectives.
- Annual Review: The IEP must be reviewed at least annually.
It must be revised as appropriate to address lack of progress
toward annual goals and lack of progress in the general curriculum.
- Attorneys' Fees: IDEA '97 prohibits attorneys' fees
relating to any meeting of the IEP team unless the meeting is
convened as a result of an administrative proceeding or judicial
action, or, at the discretion of the State, for a mediation that
is conducted prior to the filing a complaint. Attorneys' fees
may be reduced if the attorney representing the parent did not
provide required information to the school district.
The United States Department of Education published a Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking implementing the statutory changes made
by IDEA '97 in the October 22, 1997, Federal Register. The proposed
regulations were open for public comment through January 20, 1998.
The final regulations implementing IDEA '97 are expected to be
released in the near future.
Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of
1997, Section 1414 (d)
Mediation Agreement Not Enforced By Hearing Office
The California Special Education Hearing Office dismissed a
request for a due process hearing filed on behalf of a parent.
Petitioner maintained that the Fort Bragg Unified School District
failed to provide a student with an appropriate education during
the 1997-98 school year by failing to implement the student's
IEP and a previously agreed upon settlement that included an agreement
the District would purchase a computer for the student's home
use that was compatible with the word processor he used at school.
(Case No. SN 506-96.) Furthermore, the District failed to adequately
implement the student's behavior intervention program and as a
result the student is making inadequate academic progress.
Compliance Not A Matter for Due Process
The District moved to dismiss the matter based upon the Hearing
Office's lack of jurisdiction. The District argued that the dispute
involves compliance with a settlement agreement that resolved
a previous due process hearing request. The District maintained
that compliance with the agreement is not a matter for a due process
hearing but is a subject for a compliance complaint.
"The Petitioner has already requested, and had a hearing
resolved, on issues of FAPE for the 1997-98 school year when he
settled the case; therefore, he has utilized the due process system,"
said the hearing officer. The Hearing Office does not have the
power to coerce a school district to comply with an agreement
and this matter should either go to a court or to the compliance
unit for enforcement of the agreement.
The matter was dismissed.
Fort Bragg Unified School District, SN 133-98
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