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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: May 3, 2019 03:53 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Special Education Evaluation Expansion
I will soon introduce legislation to ensure that the identification of children with disabilities and the accessibility of special education services have an added level of protection when a student attends a charter or cyber charter school. It is too common that over labeling of children and inconsistent support services occur throughout the residence district.

Currently, a school district of residence has no avenue to participate in the special education evaluation and plan for services when its resident students attend a charter or cyber charter school because the federal law for Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IEDA) provides that evaluations of the students be completed by the school the student is attending, i.e., the charter/cyber charter. This makes no sense when the school district of residence often has prior knowledge of the student’s skills and abilities, and further, the school district’s support resources and funding resources.

A school district pays tuition to a charter school for each resident student enrolled. The tuition rate is calculated annually based on school district expenditures and is the same regardless of whether the student attends a brick and mortar charter school or a cyber charter school. If a student attending a charter school requires special education services and has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the school district pays a higher tuition for that student, thus should be afforded the opportunity to be included in the evaluation and IEP processes.

My bill will allow the school district, if they choose, to be involved in the evaluation process and have input on the IEP team. The school district of residence can be of great assistance to the charter and cyber charter schools in the process of properly identifying and providing appropriate education of all children with disabilities in a manner consistent with the procedures of their school districts of residence for compliance with IDEA. My bill will expand the requirements of the IDEA to assure this happens.

My bill will protect the rights of children with disabilities, their parents, their school districts of residence and the residence of the district. I hope you will join me in sponsoring this bill.