Learn Your Special Education Laws, Special Education Rights, and Share IEP Goal Ideas

Apr 12
Avatar of Doug Goldberg

by Doug Goldberg

You have just moved and went to register your child with an IEP at their new School, now what?  The good news is the new School District must continue to provide your child with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) including services comparable to those described in the current IEP until a new IEP can be adopted.   It is important to note that “comparable” doesn’t mean exactly the same but only means that services should be similar.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has slightly different procedures for Children who transfer School Districts dependent on whether 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 goes on to establish a procedure for Schools to utilize to transfer records.  Although, the Schools are responsible for promptly obtaining a child’s record it is good practice for the Parents to also send a written request to the prior 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 the assessments are incomplete or inaccurate.

It’s important for parents to know, that all of the language regarding transfers was included for the first time in the 2004 reauthorization of IDEA.  Prior to 2004, some School Districts would not implement, nor provide, an IEP for transferring students for months which impeded their right to FAPE.  This went against the spirit of IDEA and was remedied in 2004.  If you feel your School District is not following the transfer guidelines, try writing a letter documenting their non-compliance.  If that doesn’t work, you can file a State Department of Education complaint or Due Process Complaint.

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6 Responses to “Changing School Districts with an IEP”

  1. Pam said on June 1, 2011

    What if they transfer to a new district at the begining of the year?

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    • What do we do if the new school district does not have a placement comparable to the student’s placement? For example a student who was in an alternative separate school setting moves into a school district that does not have an alternative separate school setting.

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  2. The IEP still moves with you and must be followed until the new SD can hold an IEP meeting and assess the child.

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  3. I just tansferred at beginning of school I had delivered the IEP to his new school whn I enrolled him I also gave copy to his teacher. New school did not get him in a resource room in the first week and a half so called district office and ask for IEP meeting and the next day he was in resource classroom.

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  4. We just transferred to a new school on the same district and delivered a copy of our IEP. Nobody seems to know anything about his services. I know it’s been only a week but nobody knows anything and I am getting frustrated. ..just venting..

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  5. I was very happy to find your website. My son has moved school districts and I was looking for this type of info. I am happy to find that the new school MUST follow the IEP that has ‘moved’ with my child. Thank you providing this much needed information. :)

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