November 30, 2010 Special Education Mandate Relief
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
The Board of Regents has amended several Commissioner of Education Regulations relating to the provision of special education services. The amendments, which take effect on December 8, 2010, are aimed at providing mandate relief and more flexibility for Committees on Special Education (CSE) and Committees on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) to make appropriate recommendations for meeting students’ individual needs. The substantive amendments are outlined below:
1. Minimum Time for Speech and Language Services: The Regulations currently require that speech and language services be provided for a minimum of two 3O-minute sessions each week. Effective December 8, 2010, these minimums will no longer apply, but the total caseload for teachers providing these services may still not exceed 65.
2. Maximum Number of Students with Disabilities Receiving Integrated Co-Teaching Services in a Class: The Regulations currently provide that there can be no more than 12 students with disabilities receiving integrated co-teaching services in a class. Effective December 8, 2010, a 13th student may be added to the class by obtaining a variance by notification and a 14th student may be added by obtaining a variance with the Commissioner’s approval.
A Variance by Notification may be obtained by submitting written notice to the Commissioner seeking temporarily to add one student with a disability to a class for the remainder of the school year provided that, at the start of classes in September of that school year the class was in compliance with the Commissioner’s standards. The notice must sufficiently demonstrate that the increase is educationally justified and consistent with providing an appropriate education for all affected students. The Commissioner is to prescribe a form for submission of the variance by notification.
If an integrated co-teaching class already has 13 students with disabilities pursuant to a variance by notification, a school district may apply for approval to add one additional student with a disability to the class by submitting to the Commissioner an application for a variance (“Variance with Commissioner Approval”) to enroll the additional student for the remainder of the school year. The application must sufficiently demonstrate that the increase is educationally justified and consistent with providing an appropriate education for all affected students. The Commissioner will develop a form for districts to use when submitting an application for a variance approval.
3. Instructional Services to Meet Individual needs of Students with Autism: The regulations presently require that instructional services to meet the individual language needs of students with autism be provided for a minimum of 30 minutes per day in groups not to exceed two students or 60 minutes per day in groups not to exceed six students. The amended Regulation removes the minimum time and group size requirements.
4. Notice of CSE/CPSE Meeting: Rather than give parents notice of those individuals who are “expected to attend” a CSE or CPSE meeting, the notice sent to parents will now have to specify a list of those individuals “who will be in attendance.”
5. Contents of CSE/CPSE Meeting: The Regulations presently specify that informal or unscheduled conversations involving school personnel and conversations on issues such as teaching methodology, lesson plans or coordination of service provisions do not constitute CSE/CPSE meetings if those issues are not addressed in the student’s individualized education plan (IEP). The amendment deletes the proviso “if those issues are not addressed in the student’s” IEP, which means that these types of discussions will no longer constitute a CSE/CPSE meeting even if the issues are addressed in the student’s IEP’
If a CSE or CPSE convenes to modiff a student’s IEP in a manner that is permissible pursuant to these amendments, the modifications may not be implemented until December 8, 2010.
If you have any questions regarding these amended Regulations, please do not hesitate to contact us
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAI TINDERSTANDING OF CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
© Lamb & Barnosky, LLP, 2010