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Anna:  What happens when a school can not provide all service minutes to student’s with IEPs. Can the school be sued? What law or laws would that fall under?

  1. School proposed lowering my sons iep minutes from 450 a week to 150 minutes when he transitions into 6th grade next school year? What are my rights as a parent in this situation? I’m not comfortable lowering minutes with a big transition year plus not having a current reevaluation done to be sure this is the right thing to do.

    • You need to learn what your state dispute resolution processes are and how to use them. The final decision has to be made in an IEP meeting. Before and at the meeting push for the reasons they are proposing this. Did he meet all of his goals this year, were they challenging, and get him closer to his grade level? Your state parent training and information project can assist you in preparing. 

      • Thank you for your response. He’s meeting goals but still developing. The goals aren’t challenging. I’m not sure what are appropriate goals for the situation. I’ve asked for the Pwn to explain more.

    • Michelle,
      Did the school say why in writing they want to do this? You need to find out why and ask to see the data that would support their justification. You can also request for an IEP meeting to discuss the situation. I would also ask for a re-evaluation to make sure because it may be that he needs increased time or less time. Also remember you are part of the team and the school cannot just make changes without your imput.

      • I’ve requested a Pwn and mentioned that before we lower minutes for a reevaluation to be done. They still want to proceed with lowering minutes then do a reevaluation. That response doesn’t make sense especially with it being a transition year. Can I stand my ground and ask them to keep minutes in place until the reevaluation is done?

        • Absolutely stand your ground! They can’t make any changes unless the whole team agrees to it. I agree with you that reducing his minutes and then doing the reevaluation does not make any sense. They need to do the reevaluation then determine their next course of action.

        • Don’t agree to the changes and notify them you are requesting mediation- stay put will come in play and they can’t change the minutes.

        • Service minutes are part of the IEP, not the ETR. The ETR process determines if an educational disability exists. The IEP determines the goals and specially designed instruction (which includes minutes). Doing a reevaluation would not address the issue you’re challenging, which is the minutes.

          • Minutes are decided at addressed at the IEP meeting, and must be agreed upon by the Team including the Parents. I believe the IEP is the correct place to make this decision.

  2. Can students be provided more Special Education minutes than are in the IEP or are we considered out of compliance?

    • Less time is out of compliance not more, unless some other special ed or related service is getting less time. If the student is benefiting “a lot” more than expected, an administrator could worry that a parent would say that amount of time should have been put in the IEP, & should be in there now, and in the future.

  3. From personal experience, the assessment specialist/IEP/ARD facilitators call a Special Review ARD to say that compensatory time is owed (after reviewing the required service logs) and create a plan to “owe” back those time, which may include after-school tutorials and summer school (which is outside of the instructional day) and being made up before the end of the current academic year. The parent/legal guardian can either say that time does not have to make up or time does need to be make up. As for specific laws, consult with your local state education agency. Hope this helps.

  4. Anna –

    You have a few options for holding the school accountable. I encourage you to first use “local resolution” – this is simply meeting with your child’s Team to try to resolve it. If the Team can’t seem to resolve the issue, move up the latter – to the school principal, special education director, then the superintendent. If you pursue other options, you will likely be asked what you did to try to resolve it.

    Other option you have include:
    – your IDEA state complaint process: helps solve procedural issues, like whether
    the school is following the IEP (if the state determines the school violated the law,
    they can order the school to provide compensatory services)
    – OCR’s civil rights complaint system: similar to the state complaint system, but often
    takes longer to resolve
    – mediation: a neutral third party helps resolve disagreements, using compromise
    – due process hearing: an administrative hearing where a neutral hearing officer
    makes a determination on your case (if the HO determines the school violated the
    law and that the violation denied your child a free appropriate public education, they
    can order the school to provide compensatory services)
    – other options available where you live

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