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By Candace Cortiella, The Advocacy Institute
A: The school of choice may adopt the existing IEP, in which case no new IEP is required since the move is considered a "change in location," not a "change in placement." This means, however, that the receiving school will execute all aspects of the existing IEP, including all specialized instructional services (including methodologies such as specialized reading programs), related services, participation with non-disabled students, appropriate accommodations, and inclusion in state- and district-wide assessments of student achievement.
If any of the services in the current IEP will change as a result of the school transfer, then the school of choice must convene an IEP team meeting and develop a new IEP that meets the student's needs.
A: The district must pay for or provide transportation to the new school for all students who request it, including students with disabilities. If the available funding is not sufficient to provide transportation to all students requesting a transfer, the district must give priority to the lowest-achieving eligible students from low-income families. However, districts may not limit the opportunity to transfer because of transportation funding limits.
A: Students must be permitted to remain at their school of choice until completing the highest grade in that school. However, once the student's home school is no longer identified as "in need of improvement" for two consecutive years, the district is no longer required to pay for or provide transportation for the student. In such cases, transportation may be incorporated into the IEPs of students with disabilities as a related service, or the choice school could become the school placement determined by the IEP team.
Endnote: The author wishes to thank Suzanne Heath for her review of this article. Heath is co-author (with Peter and Pamela Wright) of the publication Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind.
Reviewed January 2010
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