Original article by Doug Goldberg
Let's say you and your family moved to a new town, and you are now thinking whether or not your child is still eligible to get regiested for IEP in the his or her new school. Is this still possible? The good news is that it is. The new School District is obliged to continue to provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to your child that includes services comparable to those described in the current IEP until a new IEP can be adopted. Note that “comparable” doesn’t mean that the services should exactly the same but that they should only be similar to the ones your child was getting in the previous school.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has slightly different procedures for Children who transfer School Districts and depend on whether or not they are moving within or out of State. The exact language is listed below:
(C) Program for Children Who Transfer School Districts.
(i) In General.
(I) Transfer within the Same State. In the case of a child with a disability who transfers school districts within the same academic year, who enrolls in a new school, and who had an IEP that was in effect in the same State, the local educational agency shall provide such child with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those described in the previously held IEP, in consultation with the parents until such time as the local educational agency adopts the previously held IEP or develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP that is consistent with Federal and State law.
(II) Transfer Outside State. In the case of a child with a disability who transfers school districts within the same academic year, who enrolls in a new school, and who had an IEP that was in effect in another State, the local educational agency shall provide such child with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those described in the previously held IEP, in consultation with the parents until such time as the local educational agency conducts an evaluation pursuant to subsection (a)(1), if determined to be necessary by such agency, and develops a new IEP, if appropriate, that is consistent with Federal and State law.
IDEA further establishes a procedure for Schools to properly use to transfer records. Although the Schools are responsible for quickly obtaining a child’s record, it is good for the Parents to also send a written request to the previous School District to help facilitate the process. The exact language for the transmittal of records is listed below:
(ii) Transmittal of Records. To facilitate the transition for a child described in clause (i)
(I) the new school in which the child enrolls shall take reasonable steps to promptly obtain the child’s records, including the IEP and supporting documents and any other records relating to the provision of special education or related services to the child, from the previous school in which the child was enrolled, pursuant to section 99.31(a)(2) of title 34, Code of Federal Regulations; and
(II) the previous school in which the child was enrolled shall take reasonable steps to promptly respond to such request from the new school.
Lastly, when a child transfers School Districts any assessments must be completed, “as expeditiously as possible, to ensure prompt completion of full evaluations.” Like all School District assessments the Parents have the right to disagree if they feel that the assessments are incomplete or inaccurate.
Just because there is a need to transfer to another school doesn't mean that your child is no longer covered by an IEP. It is the school district's responsibility to provide equal education opportunities for children with disabilities.