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INFORMATIONAL LETTER NO.  132

POLICY CODE:  IHBA

 

 

 

TO:                  Superintendents of Schools, Special Education Directors and Child Development Services Site Directors

 

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner

 

DATE:             June 4, 2004

 

RE:                   LD 1960, An Act Regarding the Continued Provision of Free Appropriate Public Education for Eligible Children of Kindergarten Age

 

 

LD 1960, An Act Regarding the Continued Provision of Free Appropriate Public Education for Eligible Children of Kindergarten Age, was signed by the Governor on May 5th and became Public Law Chapter 676, which amends the current statute governing the Child Development Services System (CDS).  The new statutory language allows parents of children who turn five between September 1 and October 15 who have been receiving free appropriate public education (FAPE) services from Child Development Services (CDS) to elect not to send their child to kindergarten and to continue to receive FAPE services from CDS.  The Department of Education is required to adopt rules necessary to implement this new chapter in accordance with the Maine Administrative Procedure Act.

 

The Department anticipates that the rulemaking will proceed as follows:  the proposed amendment to Chapter 180 will be filed as an emergency rule with the Secretary of State in mid-June with a public hearing by mid-July.  The intent will be to have the Commissioner sign an Emergency rule to be in effect for the 2004-2005 school year by August 6th, 2004, and simultaneously submit a provisionally adopted major substantive rule; Chapter 180 for legislative approval to the 122nd Maine Legislature in 2004-2005.  As part of the major and substantive regulatory change there will be a legislative hearing in the next session.  As soon as the proposed rule is filed with the Secretary of State, a copy will be available for your review and comment. I encourage you to use the contents of the proposed rule to work with eligible families to plan for the 2004-2005 school year.

 

            A combined Early Childhood Team /Pupil Evaluation Team will need to be convened to fully explain to all the families who are eligible and to document the services and placements available through both the CDS System and the public school, so that the family is fully informed as they determine whether or not to elect to stay in the CDS System.

 

Services for children continuing to receive CDS/FAPE services will be funded by a de-appropriation of state funds will be made from the statewide General Purpose Aid for Local Schools allocation not from the children’s resident school administrative units nor the individual school administrative units that children would attend.  A specific account will be established at the Department to fund the services rendered to children whose families continue their children in the CDS System.  An application and authorization process will be utilized on a per child basis, to allow accurate tracking of the children accessing and the costs incurred in the implementation of this new statutory provision.  Each regional CDS site will count any child to whom the regional site continues to provide services in the December 1st ChildCount.

 

For more information contact David.Stockford@maine.gov or call 624-6650 or Laurie.Bertulli@maine.gov or call 624-6660.