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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 children.

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.

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)


May 98

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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