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TO:                   Superintendents of Schools, Child Development Services Site Directors

FROM:             Susan Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:              May 31, 2005

RE:                   Compliance with IDEIA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act) 2004

** Please forward to Assistant Superintendents, School Principals and Special Education Directors **

            The Federal Special Education law, IDEIA 2004 ( Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004), goes into effect Friday, July 1, 2005.   It contains a number of changes from its predecessor, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997.   The SAUs (LEAs) and the regional CDS sites are required to follow the new statute upon the effective date.   If the new federal statute and current state law or regulations conflict, the LEAs and the regional CDS sites are required to follow the new federal statute. If current State law and regulations impose additional requirements that do not conflict with the federal statute, then the LEAs and the CDS sites should follow the State law and regulations. The IDEIA sets forth new fiscal responsibilities and Maintenance of Effort requirements, which have been addressed in the local entitlement applications for the public schools.   Guidance on the fiscal responsibilities and Maintenance of Effort will be provided to the regional CDS sites within the next few weeks.

            The Maine Department of Education will issue further informational memos this spring to provide guidance and to assist school administrative units and others to be in compliance with these changes. These memos will contain “IDEIA 2004”in the subject line.

            A series of guidance documents, “one-pagers”, were developed and disseminated by the United States Department of Education, Office of Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and are the best guidance available at this time regarding changes in the law and actions necessary to come into compliance with those changes.   These guidance documents have been attached as links to this memo and will be available on the Maine Department of Education website at:

The proposed federal regulations for IDEIA 2004 are due out this spring, followed by a public comment period.   The final federal regulations are required to be issued no later than December 3, 2005.   Despite this delay between the effective date of the law (July 1, 2005) and the expected availability of the final federal regulations (sometime after July 1 but prior to December 3), the educational community must be in compliance with the provisions of the new law by July 1, 2005.

            The Department of Education will be sending more information, as it becomes available to us, regarding   topics which deal with these changes.  

            If you have any questions, please contact David Stockford, Director of Special Services at 207-624-6650 or e-mail: