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ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER NO:  9
POLICY CODE:  IHBA/CH


 
TO:                Superintendents of Schools, Child Development Services Site Directors

FROM:            Susan Gendron, Commissioner

DATE:             October 11, 2006

RE:                 Compliance with Code of Federal Regulations Part 300 – Special Education Regulations

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


The Federal Special Education Regulations , Code of Federal Regulations, Part 300  was posted in the Federal Register on August 14, 2006.   The SAUs (LEAs) and the regional CDS sites are required to follow the new regulations upon the posting date in those cases where the regulatory language is the same as that of the federal statute (IDEA 2004).  The regulations that are new and go beyond the federal statutory language will go into effect 60 days following the date of the posting in the Federal Register, which will be October 13, 2006.

If the recently posted (August 14, 2006) regulations and current State law or regulations conflict, the SAUs and the regional CDS sites are required to follow the new federal regulations.  If current State law and regulations impose additional requirements that do not conflict with the federal regulations, then the SAUs and the CDS sites must also follow the State law and regulations.

For example, current Maine Department of Education Regulation, Chapter 180, VII.1(C) and Chapter 101, 8.3(D) reflect the need for a team meeting to revise an IEP, whereas the federal regulations, 34 CFR 300.324(a)(4) permit the revision of a plan by the parent and the public agency, without a meeting.  The federal comments are explicit, on page 46686 of the Federal Register, that a State must allow changes to an IEP without an IEP Team meeting when a parent and public agency agree not to convene an IEP Team meeting. In like manner,  the federal regulations at 34 CFR 300.321(e) permit excusals from attendance at team meetings with written agreement between the parent and the public agency. This change will be reflected in amendments to Maine’s special education regulations.

Another  change that will be included in the amendments to the special education regulations  regards the State complaint procedures; the amendment will eliminate the local level option of the Superintendent Complaint and the CDS Board complaint, which is a choice left to State discretion [34 CFR 300.151(a)(1)(ii)]. Until the regulations are amended the local level option will remain in effect.  The federal regulations have also included a 90-day period for appealing hearing decisions to court [34 CFR 300.516(b)] and a two year statute of limitations on filing requests for hearings [34 CFR 300.507(a)(2)]. These will also be reflected in the amendments to the State’s regulations.

Both the federal statute and the federal regulations reflect a change in the district responsible for parentally placed children with disabilities in private schools. Now, the district in which the private school is located is responsible for child find and the provision of equitable services, rather than the district in which the parent of the student resides [20 USC 1412(a)(10), and 34 CFR 300.132-144].

The US Department of Education has issued model Procedural Safeguards which should be utilized by districts as the required safeguards from this point onward.  The required form can be accessed at

http://www.maine.gov/education/speced/documents/proceduralsafeguardsamendedoct06.doc

Again, all these changes will be reflected in amendments to Maine’s special education regulations; but in the meantime, please share this letter with all relevant staff to ensure compliance with federal requirements.

If you have questions please contact Jaci Holmes, Federal Liaison at 624-6620.