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Special Education/Special Education BOE Responsibilities

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Question
I am a current Board of Education member in NY and have questions with regard to my responsibilities.  

1.  How are CSE recommendations to be presented to the Board?
2.  The law allows for the board to remand if we do not agree with CSE recommendations or establish a 2nd CSE.  What is the process for that?
3.  How do we as board members know what the recommendations are?
4.  If a parent disagrees and comes to the board requesting we remand and not approve implementation of their child's IEP as presented by the CSE, what are our responsibilities?
5.  How do we know if a parent/guardian is in disagreement with their child's IEP?
6.  Can a board member be sued for not following the law with regard to this issue?
7.  Can you offer direction for training/guidance?

Thank you so much.

Answer
Dear Kim,

Thank you for a most interesting question, and for reaching out to me on allexperts.com.

I am going to answer your last question first. Yes, I am available to offer direction and guidance to the Board or District, understanding that I am a special education expert and not an attorney. That being said, I am familiar with federal and State laws and regulations and application to the multidisciplinary team, parents and school districts. If you would like to discuss this further, I would recommend that we have a phone or Skype call at your convenience to discuss the Board and District needs. abc4success@msn.com is the best way to contact me to set this up.

I believe that answers to question 2 relates to the CSE recommendations as the school district must comply with State and Federal laws and regulations and I would think must reject any recommendation that do not comport.

I am happy to help you find out the process that is specific to your school district for answers 1 and 3. Of course, it would be necessary for the recommendations to be in writing.

As for question 4, a parent has dispute options under the State and Federal laws and regulations. While some districts allow a parent to present problems to the Board, and some districts have individual review processes, the procedural safeguards afforded to children and parents are very clear about how a parent expresses disagreement. Depending on the nature of the dispute, the Board may or may not have the authority to 'remand' or not approve implementation of the child's IEP. However, the dispute options and navigation of disagreements are clearly spelled out in the State and Federal laws and regulations. It is usually, but not always, clear that the parent is in disagreement.

Parent consent in New York is required for the initial provision of special education and for evaluations. Parent consent is not required for the subsequent IEPs; the subsequent IEPs roll forward unless the parent files a request for a dispute such as a due process hearing. In that case, the parent dispute is very clear.

See procedural safeguards: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/psgn1211.htm

If the parent, because of a dispute, places a child in a private school and seeks reimbursement, the parent must give written notice or notice to the IEP team.

If the parent disagrees with an evaluation and wants to request a second opinion at the district expense, the parent must make that request clearly and I advise in writing. So in those instances, the parent clearly expresses disagreement.

I feel an attorney is best for question 6, but I have not experienced that in over 27 years.

I hope I have answered all of your questions, and if not, please do follow up. I really appreciate you as a Board member being interested and committed to assuring that districts and parents are compliant and collaborative equal partners. It appears that you have a child's best interest at heart. I am very happy to follow up and see if I can assist in any way.

Since I have been both in the school district and in private practice, I have an excellent understanding of parent and district perspectives, especially in the case where there is a dispute, disagreement or misunderstanding.  There are usually ways to help the parties come to a mutual resolution to benefit a child and assure a free appropriate public education.  I am happy to send you a resume if you email me. Thank you for your advocacy for exceptional student education!  

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.

Expertise

I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.

Experience

10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Education/Credentials
Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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