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IEP FAQs: What should be the “Effective Date” on IEPs?

by Wrightslaw

“Effective date” means just what it says. If you write an IEP and put the “effective date” as the date of the meeting, then the IEP goes into effect on that date. If you are writing an IEP for the next academic year, the dates on the IEP should indicate that.

A special ed teacher asked this when confused about the school’s sudden change in policy. For ten years they had used the beginning and end of the school year as effective dates.

When doing a periodic review for an IEP, I always put the effective dates for the beginning and end of the school year. We are now being told that we should put the dates from when we have the meetings in March.

In some cases, especially for very young children whose needs change often, and for children with complex needs, the IEP should not be written for a full academic year. There is no way to know what the child’s needs will be 4, 5 or 6 months later.

It can be a mistake to write IEPs in March or April of 2008 that are supposed to meet all the child’s needs related to the disability so far in the future – i.e., between Sept 08 and May or June 09 (18 months later).

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34 Comments on "IEP FAQs: What should be the “Effective Date” on IEPs?"


I asked to convene the team to discuss my son’s para. Without my consent or knowledge, this became the “Annual Review”. to which I was not even aware until 1/2 way through the meeting. Is this even legal? I made 3 calls to the chair prior to the meeting, all of which went unanswered.


I believe that you can have an IEP meeting and make the effective day a day in the future (i.e. the beginning date of the next school year. If you do that, are you voiding the IEP that is in place?

Melissa S

When I recently moved my son from an APS to a new district I was told that his IEP was outdated/expired. I was then asked to sign a Consent for Evaluaton. this document wasn’t sent to me, it was given to me in the Special Education Office when I was dropping off a copy of his most recent audiogram. I wasn’t provided a copy of this paperwork until 6 weeks later and it stated in the comments that it was a re-evaluation to CHANGE his current placement. I am furious. The district didn’t even offer him the services from his prior IEP for 30 days and the services they are offering him aren’t even close to comparable to his previous placement and setting. All of his testing, reports and assessments were all current, however never considered in his current placement, Can anyone help?



I am not a lawyer, but it is my understanding that it is the school’s job to keep the IEP updated by having required meetings, whether they are annual reviews or re-evaluations. Dismissal from the program requires extensive testing, not IEP’s running out. I can’t believe they told you that.


My son’s school has said that his IEP has expired and that it is iilegal for him to be in resource. Is this true and what can I do?