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Changing Schools and IEPs – Tips for Civilian & Military Families

05/24/10
by Wrightslaw

“I’m a special ed teacher who is looking for information on timelines for IEPs. My administrator said we have a “90-day” reprieve on an IEP when a new child moves into the district. I have always tried to hold an IEP meeting within the first week of school with students from out of district.

Can you help me understand where this idea of a “90-day” reprieve comes from?”

What the Law Says

There is no provision in the law or regulations that supports your administrator’s position, nor was there any such provision in IDEA 97.

I’m not sure I understand what your administrator means in saying: “we have 90 days before we need to look at a student’s old IEP.” In other words, do not flag this student as special education to District officials upon enrollment.

Your administrator is wrong.

This statement is completely contrary to what the law says.

When children with disabilities move to a new different school district – in the same state or a different state – the new school district must provide services that are comparable to the services in the previous IEP.

There is no provision in the law to wait one day, one week, one month or 90 days to do this.

Congress added this provision to IDEA 04, apparently because they were fed up with administrators who dragged their feet when kids moved – causing harm to the child who is already dealing with issues related to the move and a new school.

Here is what IDEA 2004 says, quoted directly from Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, pages 102-103:

Transfer Within the Same State

“In the case of a child with a disability who transfers school districts within the same academic year, enrolls in a new school, and who had an IEP that was in effect in the same state, the LEA (school district) shall provide such child with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those described in the previously held IEP, in consultation with the parents, until such time as the school district adopts the previous IEP or develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP that is consistent with Federal and State law.”

Transfer Outside State

“In the case of a child with a disability who transfers school districts within the same academic year, who enrolls in a new school, and who had an IEP that was in effect in another state, the school district shall provide such child with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those described in the previous IEP, in consultation with the child’s parents until such time as the district conducts an evaluation, if determined to be necessary, and develops a new IEP, if appropriate, that is consistent with Federal and State law.”

The Commentary to Regulation 300.323(f) states that “the Department interprets ‘comparable’ to have the plain meaning of the word, which is ‘similar’ or ‘equivalent.’”

Moving This Summer? Tips for Selecting the Right School at http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=625

We’re Moving! – When Should I Tell the School? at http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=1175

Military Families in Transition

DoD Special Needs Parent Toolkit – Module 4

Comprehensive information for military families about relocating, moving, changing schools, and more…

http://cs.mhf.dod.mil/content/dav/mhf/QOL-Library/Project%20Documents/MilitaryHOMEFRONT/Troops%20and%20Families/Special%20Needs%20EFMP/Module%20Four%20Final.pdf

Tips for Selecting the Right School – find out about SOAR and School Quest

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Katie 06/15/10 at 8:15 am

    Where can I turn for help as an overseas Federal Employee spouse who has been told my child does not qualify for EFMP services because we are civilian. My daughter attends a DoDDs school and has an IEP. Also, we did not have Overseas Suitability Screenings done on us since I have been told that civilian employee law is different than military law. Additionally, our child was not identified as special needs before we arrived overseas. It has been a process through Early Intervention and then into the DoDDS system once she turned three. Any suggestions?

  • 2 Sharon L. 05/25/10 at 8:50 am

    Cheryl – First of all you can file assault charges against the teacher who hurt your child. That is a different issue than IEP or ADHD. I have a friend that had a teacher who threw a chair at a student and she filed assault charges. Her son was also ADHD. My son is ADHD and we took him to a pediatric neurologist who prescribed concerta for his ADHD. I am against medication but our doctor explained the benefit to him and us. Our doctor also believed in the smallest dosage that would work. It never hurt my son who is now 24 but it helped him to be the child he always was and not the out of control, impulsive person other people saw him to be. 3. We requested a behavioral assessment be done by the district. After the results we got together and came up with a behavior plan to put on the IEP.

  • 3 Cheryl 05/25/10 at 1:06 am

    I need help !! My daughter is almost 10, she has ADHD, she goes to a public school, the first school she went to she was labled as the bad child I grew tired of the way they treated her and I changed her to another school in the same districit, she was doing well at the new school until this school year started. she has been suspended and had more detentions and office refereals than I can count, we are waiting on an IEP , but I feel she is being treated unfairly, she has been moved to a 4th grade class when she is in 3rd grade, she got mad today and threw her milk on the floor and the new teacher grabed her by the arm, shoved her to the floor and ordered her to pick it up, she has a bruise from the teachers finger, now she cant attend her field trip,if she makes too much noise the group will be asked to leave, what am I supposed to do?