Special Education Policy and Procedure Manual

 

Brief Overview of the Special Education Process Information for Parents

Referral

The IEP Team is required to meet within 15 days of the date on which the referral was received to determine what will be done in response to this referral and to determine the best course of action regarding your child's educational program. 

Evaluation


If the IEP Team determines that your child does not need to be evaluated, they will provide you with some ideas/suggestions/modifications pertaining to the reason for the referral that may be helpful for your child in the classroom. If the team determines that your child will be evaluated, a meeting will be convened within 45 days of receipt of your written consent to discuss the results of the evaluation and to determine the educational needs of the student, including possible eligibility for special education services. 

IEP


If the IEP Team determines that your child is a child with disability, a meeting to develop an Individualized Education Program will be conducted within 30 days. You will be notified of the date and time of the IEP meeting at least ten days in advance. 

Placement 

Once an IEP has been developed and approved, the IEP Team will meet to determine an appropriate placement within the least restrictive environment for your child. You will be notified of the placement meeting at least ten days in advance. 

You may contact the SAU 29 School District, Department of Special Services, (193 Maple Avenue, Keene, NH 03431; (603) 357-9001), with questions. 

Parents of a child with a disability have certain protections under the procedural safeguards of Part B of the IDEA (Section 615 (d)(1)(a). A copy of these safeguards may be obtained by contacting: 

 Elizabeth Dunn  Director of Special Services, Interim   SAU 29 School District   (603) 357-9001 

Procedural Safeguards

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act includes a section entitled "Procedural Safeguards". These safeguards are designed to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their parents. They also provide families and schools the means for resolving disputes that may arise throughout the special education process. 

Each District shall provide a copy of New Hampshire Procedural Safeguards in Special Education in an easily understandable manner to the parents of a child with a disability at least one time per year. This is typically done at each annual IEP Team meeting. A copy shall also be given to the parents at a minimum upon:

1. Initial referral for evaluation or parental request for an evaluation
2. The first time in a school year that a request for a due process hearing filed
3. The first time in a school year a complaint is filed
4. In accordance with the discipline procedures in 34 CFR 300.530(h)
5. Upon request by a parent

Each District shall ensure that the parents of children with disabilities are afforded all of the rights and procedural safeguards contained in federal law and described in the NH Rules (Ed 1120.01-.08) including, but not limited to, the right to:
  • Receive written prior notice of any action regarding their child which the District proposes or refuses;
  • Grant or refuse consent for any District action regarding their child;
  • Obtain an independent educational evaluation;
  • Appeal specific proposals of the District regarding their child, and 
  • File a complaint

All of the rights and guarantees included under procedural safeguards shall apply to parents, adult students, and public agencies, which include school districts. These rights shall be transferred to children with disabilities who are emancipated minors or who have attained the age of 18 years and have not been adjudicated as incompetent by a court. 

Please Note:
A parent, as defined in Ed 1102.04(h), or an adult student may authorize an individual to act on their behalf pursuant to a duly executed power of attorney (Ed 1120.01 (c)).

Written Prior Notice

Parents will be officially notified in writing any time the School District:

  • Proposes to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of the child or the provision of a free and appropriate public education to the child; or
  • Refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of the child or the provision of a free and appropriate public education to the child.

The notification shall include:

  • A description of the action proposed or refused by the District
  • An explanation of why the agency proposes or refuses to take the action
  • A description of each evaluation, procedure, assessment, record or report the District used as basis for the proposed or refused action;
  • A statement that the parents of the child with disabilities have protections under the procedural safeguards of IDEA (if this notice is not an initial referral for evaluation, the means by which a copy of the description of the procedural safeguards can be obtained);
  • Sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of the law;
  • A description of the other options that the IEP Team considered and the reasons why those options were rejected; and 
  • A description of other factors relevant to the District's proposal or refusal.

Informed Consent

Each School District shall obtain informed, written consent from the parent of a child with a disability prior to:

  • Conducting an initial evaluation;
  • Initial provision of special education and related services to a child with a disability and the annual renewal of the IEP and placement of a child with a disability;
  • Determining or changing the disability classification;
  • Changing the nature or extent of the special education or special education and related services; or
  • Conducting a re-evaluation;
  • Annual access to public insurance or when changes in services paid by public insurance are made; and 
  • Each time the District proposes to access the public insurance.

Parents of children with disabilities shall have 14 days after the receipt of written prior notice to sign documents included with the notice to indicate consent, consent with conditions, or denial of consent. The 14-day time limit shall be extended if the District and parent mutually agree to an extension. 

Each School District shall advise the parent in writing of the necessity of signing documents that describe actions requiring the parent's consent for the purpose of ensuring the timely provision of appropriate services. Additionally, the Keene School District shall advise the parent of the right to access all of the rights and procedures outlined in this section if the parent disagrees with a proposal that the District makes.

Each School District shall take reasonable measures to obtain consent including, but not limited to phone contact, and letters. The Keene School District shall document all contacts made or attempted and the results of these contacts. Copies of all letters and responses received shall be kept in the student's confidential file. 

A copy of any document the parent gives consent in writing shall be provided to the parent, and a copy of such document shall also be placed in the child's educational records.

Should a parent either deny consent or not respond to a request for written consent, the School District is required to respond in the following ways:

Initial evaluation
The LEA is required to obtain informed consent for the initial evaluation. If a parent fails to respond after reasonable efforts to secure consent or refuses consent to a proposal included in Ed 1120.04(a)(1) the LEA shall have the authority to pursue the initial evaluation by the initiation of a due process hearing under Ed 1123. (Ed 1120.05(c))

Initial provision of services
The LEA is required to obtain informed consent prior to the initial provision of services. If a parent refuses consent or fails to respond for the initial provision of special education services, the LEA shall not pursue the initial provision of special education services by initiating a due process hearing under Ed 1123.

Re-evaluation and Continuation of Services

The LEA is required to obtain informed consent for both the re-evaluation and continuation of services. If the parent fails to respond within 14 days of the request for consent, the LEA shall implement the proposed changes after the LEA has taken reasonable measures to obtain informed written consent. If the parent refuses consent for a re-evaluation or the continuation of services, the LEA may pursue the re-evaluation or continuation of services through dispute resolution processes.

Revocation of Parent Consent for Services

If, at any time subsequent to the initial provision of special education and related services, the parent revokes consent in writing for the continued provision of special education and related services, pursuant to 34 CFR 300.300(b)(4) the school district:

  • Must provide a written prior notice that the school district will be discontinuing all special education and related services;
  • Must discontinue all special education services;
  • Must not use mediation or due process procedures to obtain an agreement;
  • Shall not be considered in violation of the requirement to provide FAPE;
  • Shall not be required to convene an IEP Team. When you revoke consent in writing, the District is prohibited from providing all special education services. 

The public agency shall not use a parent's refusal to consent to one service or activity to deny the child services, benefits, or activities that the parent has agreed to.

Other Consent Areas
Public or Private Insurance - At a minimum, the District must obtain informed parent consent the first time it seeks to access the child's public insurance. The LEA must notify the parents that the refusal to allow access to their public or private insurance does not relieve the public agency of its responsibility to ensure that all required services are provided at no cost to the parents. School Districts may not initiate dispute resolution processes if a parent refuses to grant consent. 

Release of Records - The LEA must obtain informed consent for the release of education records. If the parent or the eligible child refuses consent, the District may initiate a court proceeding to obtain a court order if it still wishes to disclose the information.

Independent Education Evaluation
Parents shall have the right to request an independent evaluation at the School District's expense if they disagree with an evaluation conducted by the District. If parents request an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the School District shall either initiate a due process hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate or ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense, unless it has demonstrated at a hearing that the evaluation obtained by the parent does not meet the District's criteria. 

If a parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at private expense, the School District must consider the results of the evaluation if it meets the District's criteria. If an independent educational evaluation is at public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, must be the same as the criteria that the School District uses when it initiates an evaluation, to an extent those criteria are consistent with the parent's right to an independent educational evaluation. District evaluations which do not meet these criteria due to unique circumstances will be considered on a case by case basis. Results of an independent evaluation obtained at parents' expense may be presented as evidence at a hearing regarding the child. 

Appeal Decisions

The parent shall have the right to appeal any decision of the School District or IEP Team regarding the referral, evaluation, determination of eligibility, IEP, provision of a free and appropriate public education, or placement of a child with a disability using the procedures detailed in the NH Rules - Ed 1122. 

A due process hearing may be initiated by either party at any time and will be conducted in accordance with the NH Rules - Ed 1123. Alternative dispute resolution (Ed 1122) shall be voluntary and available to parents and the District in accordance with the RSA 186-C:23 and 34 CFR 300.506.

State Complaint
The parent shall have the right to file a complaint, in accordance with the NH Rules - Ed 1121.01(a), to report actions taken by the District that are contrary to the provisions of state and federal requirements regarding the education of children with disabilities. 


Free or Low Cost Assistance/Resources

There are free and low cost services available to help you understand and access their rights under special education and the special education process. Listed below are some agencies that can provide this assistance. 

Director of Special Education for the School District

(School districts must maintain a listing of free or low cost legal resources, which may include local resources)

Bureau of Special Education
New Hampshire State Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301-3860
Telephone: (603) 271-3741
Fax: (603) 271-1099
E-mail: barbara.raymond@doe.nh.gov

Disabilities Right Center, Inc. 
P.O. Box 3660
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Telephone: (603) 228-0432 or 1-800-834-1721
Fax: (603) 225-2077
E-mail: advocacy@drcnh.org

New Hampshire Bar Association/Pro Bono
112 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Telephone: (603) 224-6942 or 1-800-852-3799
(Intake is through the Disabilities Rights Center)

Parent Information Center (PIC)
54 Old Suncook Road
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Telephone: (603) 224-7005 or 1-800-947-7005
Fax: (603) 224-4365
Web Site (connects to staff e-mail): www.parentinformationcenter.org
Parent Information Center offers a free booklet called "Steps in the Special Education Process" which provides details about the special education process and the laws.

Note: Additional information may be obtained by contacting your local school district, the NH State Department of Education at (603) 271-3741 or on the NH Department of Education's website: http://www.education.nh.gov/instruction/special_ed/index.htm