What happens to an IEP when you move?

by rickcolosimo on August 5, 2009

A tweet I saw today asked about what the expectations are for implementation of her son’s IEP following an impending move. My response:

Did you get answer to your IEP transfer question? See 20 USC 1414(d)(2)(C). Short answer: FAPE until they re-eval.

Here’s the complete text of the section:

(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.

So this is really 1/2 the answer to the question. The other half is what is fair and reasonable? Your expectations about what services should be available on day 1 will depend on how much notice you are able to give the incoming district, whether the services are particular in some way or otherwise specialized such that they may not be readily available in the new district, and even where you are in the school year. Most families with school-age children move in summer, when district employees at all levels are often on vacation or only reduced phone/office coverage is available.

Moves are a special circumstance that require as much coordination and advance planning as you can manage (on top of, you know, moving!).

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