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IDEA Final Regulations

By Mary S. Gerbig

After the enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004), the Department of Education engaged in a comprehensive public comment process related to the proposed regulations implementing IDEA 2004. The new IDEA regulations released on August 3, 2006 represent the completion of that process, with the exception of the assessment related regulations which will be released at a future date. The new regulations will be effective on October 13, 2006. As the new school year begins, the following changes are presented for immediate consideration.

Significant Highlights:

Clarification of what constitutes a change in placement in disciplinary settings. Under the new regulations, a change of placement occurs if removal of a student is for more than 10 consecutive school days. A change of placement may also occur if the student is subject to a series of removals that constitute a pattern because (1) the series of removals totals more than 10 days in a school year; (2) the student’s behavior is substantially similar to behavior in previous incidents that resulted in a removal; and as viewed in light of the following considerations (3) the length of each removal, the total time the student is removed and the proximity of the removals to one another. The new regulations no longer require analysis of the prior conduct as a manifestation of the student’s disability when determining if removals constitute a pattern. The regulations also confirm that this determination is subject to due process procedures.

Provision requiring schools ensure that staff are aware of their responsibilities under each IEP. The regulations clarify that each school (public agency) must ensure that each teacher or service provider responsible for implementing all or a part of an IEP is informed of their duties and responsibilities under that IEP and is informed of specific accommodations, modifications and supports that must be provided under the IEP.

In addition to these highlights, the regulations contain approximately two dozen additional key changes. Please join us at the following presentations to review in-depth the new regulations and the interface with the newly revised state law provisions:

Topic Date Presenters Location
WCASS Region I / CESA 1 September 14, 2006 Mary L. Hubacher & Daniel J. Chanen Brookfield
CESA 6 September 22, 2006 Mary S. Gerbig Oshkosh
WCASS Region II / CESA 8 September 28, 2006 Mary S. Gerbig Gillett

This time of change presents a unique opportunity for staff training and review of special education procedures. If you have any questions regarding the implementation of the final regulations, new state law provisions, or related staff in-service, please contact your special education attorney.

As always, it is a privilege to assist you and your district in meeting the challenges presented by the changing special education law.