Navigation

RULES AND REGULATIONS

Title 22--EDUCATION

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

[ 22 PA. CODE CH. 14 ]

Special Education Services and Programs

[38 Pa.B. 3575]
[Saturday, June 28, 2008]

   The State Board of Education (Board) amends Chapter 14 (relating to special education services and programs) to read as set forth in Annex A. Notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 37 Pa.B. 2961 (June 30, 2007).

Statutory Authority

   The Board acts under the authority of sections 1372 and 2603-B of the Public School Code of 1949 (code) (24 P. S. §§ 13-1372 and 26-2603-B).

Background

   This final-form rulemaking establishes procedures for the identification of students who are disabled and in need of special education services and programs. This final-form rulemaking sets forth requirements and procedures for the delivery of those services and programs. As provided in the code, Chapter 14 does not apply to public charter schools or cyber charter schools. Instead these schools must follow the regulations of the Department of Education (Department) in Chapter 711 (relating to charter school services and programs for children with disabilities). See 38 Pa.B. 3593 (June 28, 2008).

   A committee of the Board (Chapter 14 Committee) held five regional public roundtable meetings during December 2006 and January 2007, where stakeholders were provided the opportunity to share their concerns about special education. The Chapter 14 Committee then circulated draft regulations and conducted three regional public hearings to solicit public input on the draft regulations in March 2007. Notices of the meetings were distributed to those on the Board's stakeholder list, school district superintendents, intermediate unit executive directors, area vocational technical school directors and others through the Department's PennLINK email system. Legal notices of the hearings were published in regional newspapers, public notice was posted on the Board web site, and Sunshine Act notices were posted at the meeting sites. State education groups alerted their members and others about the meetings through e-mail distribution lists, web sites and publications.

   Throughout the process of drafting the proposed and final-form rulemaking, the Board prepared and posted updated drafts on the Board's web site. The Chapter 14 Committee met in public meetings on November 14, 2006, and during 2007 on January 17, March 21, May 16, June 28, September 19, November 1 and November 14. Drafts of both the proposed and final-form rulemaking were reviewed and discussed at the meetings. Members of the public were provided opportunities to provide comments at these meetings.

   Notice of proposed rulemaking was published at 37 Pa.B. 2961. The Board received comments from 257 individuals and organizations during the 30-day public comment period. In addition, the Board received an additional 53 letters and e-mails after the 30-day public comment period.

   The revisions to Chapter 14 are designed to align the chapter with the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1400--1482), as amended December 3, 2004, related Federal regulations and applicable provisions of Pennsylvania statutes, court decisions and settlement agreements. The Federal regulations are available at www.idea.ed.gov/explore/home. The Board also addressed issues raised by stakeholders throughout its public outreach and review process.

   The Board determined that many areas in the Federal rules are sufficiently detailed to provide for effective implementation and, therefore, are proposed to be incorporated by reference.

   Additional language is found in this proposal when: 1) Federal rules require greater detail for implementation; 2) court decisions or settlement agreements applicable to the Commonwealth require regulation; 3) State statute requires regulation; and 4) the current practice of special education in this Commonwealth requires regulation.

   This rulemaking will become part of the eligibility grant application to the United States Department of Education under IDEA ensuring the provision of a free, appropriate public education to students and children with disabilities. The Commonwealth must demonstrate a good faith effort to align its policies with IDEA and its implementing regulations to be eligible to receive Federal funds. Copies of the eligibility grant application will be made available to the public through the Department.

Summary of Public Comments and Responses to Proposed Rulemaking

   The proposed rulemaking was published at 37 Pa.B. 2961 and was available on the Department's web site at www.pde.state.pa.us. The Board accepted formal written comments during a 30-day public comment period that began upon publication of the proposed rulemaking. The Senate Education Committee held a hearing on September 18, 2007, and the House Education Committee held hearings on September 27, 2007, and October 31, 2007. The Board also discussed the proposed rulemaking with numerous individuals, education groups and individual members of the General Assembly.

   The Board received written comments directly from 257 individuals and organizations during the 30-day public comment period. An additional 53 comments were received after the comment period. Rather than provide a lengthy listing of the organizations and comments and responses in the preamble, the Board prepared a separate document that outlines the comments and the Board's response. This document was sent to each commentator and is posted on the Board's web page on the Department web site.

   A summary of substantive changes is provided as follows:

§ 14.102 (relating to purpose)

   The reference to 34 CFR 300.160 (relating to participation in assessments) is added to the list of Federal regulations that are adopted by reference. The reference was left out of the proposed regulation through an oversight.

§ 14.103 (relating to terminology related to Federal regulations)

   Several comments were received that suggested that 34 CFR 300.518 (relating to child's status during proceedings) be adopted by reference. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a ruling in Pardini v. Allegheny Intermediate Unit, 420 F.3rd 181 (3rd Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 547 U.S. 1050 (2006) which conflicts with the Federal regulation. The Commonwealth must adhere to the ruling of the Federal court that has jurisdiction over the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

§ 14.105 (relating to personnel)

   Numerous comments were received regarding the proposed qualifications for educational paraprofessionals. In response, the Board has added a definition of instructional paraprofessional and personal care assistant. The qualifications for instructional paraprofessionals are revised to, beginning in July 2010, require they meet one of the following: 1) Associates Degree; or 2) completed 2 years of college; or 3) show evidence of mastery of concepts through a State or local assessment. The provision also adds a requirement that paraprofessionals and personal care assistants complete 20 hours of continuing professional education annually.

   Numerous comments were also received about the qualifications established for educational interpreters. The act of July 11, 2006 (P. L. 1092, No. 114) designated the Board with the responsibility to define qualifications for educational interpreters. The final-form rulemakings include a definition of educational interpreter; and they establish qualifications for educational interpreters to either provide evidence of a minimum score of 3.5 on the Educational Interpreter Assessment (EIPA), or be a qualified educational interpreter or qualified transliterator under the Sign Language Interpreter and Transliterator Registration Act (63 P. S. §§ 1725.1--1725.12). It should be noted that extensive professional development has been provided by the Department for the past several years to assist individuals serving as educational interpreters to improve their skills, and meet pending qualifications.

   The Board, in consultation with the Department, will review the EIPA score requirement every 2 years. Educational interpreters shall also annually provide evidence of 20 hours of staff development related to interpreting.

   The Board believes this standard provides a realistic balance to ensure that quality educational interpreter services are available to students across the Commonwealth who need them.

   A considerable number of comments were made relating to the proposed caseload requirements. The final-form rulemakings include caseload language and a chart that closely follows § 14.142 (relating to terminology related to educational placement) caseload requirements in the current regulations, and continues to provide requirements as to the maximum number of students on a teacher's caseload. The term ''caseload'' continues to refer to the number of students whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) the teacher oversees. This is consistent with the manner in which the term caseload has been interpreted in the past.

   The types of service (such as, learning support, autistic support, life skills support, and the like) remain the same. Changes include specific percentages (of time the student receives specialized instruction) to define itinerant and full time services. The terms ''resource'' and ''part-time'' are replaced with one term, ''supplemental.'' This change was made because the language used for these terms in the current regulation is vague, subject to various interpretations and is tied to location of services provided to students.

   The final-form language clarifies that special education services can be provided in a specialized setting (such as, special education classroom) and can also be provided within the regular education classroom and other settings, as appropriate as specified by the IEP.

§§ 14.123 and 14.124 (relating to evaluation; and reevaluation)

   The regulations clarify that when a parent makes a verbal request for an evaluation or reevaluation of a child, the school shall provide the parent with a Permission to Evaluate/Reevaluate Form within 10-calendar days.

   There were a considerable number of comments concerning the maximum number of days a school may take to complete the evaluation or reevaluation of a student based on a parent request. The Board reduced the current requirement of 60 school days to 60 calendar days, with the summer vacation period excluded. The Board believes this change is reasonable and appropriate given that the 60 school day requirement allows for up to one-third of the school year to elapse from the date the parent submits the Permission to Evaluate or Reevaluate Form. In addition, the 60-school day requirement is one of the longest permitted of the 50 states.

§ 14.133 (relating to positive behavior support)

   A significant number of comments were received on this section. Many commentators expressed a preference for the draft language contained in the March 2007, draft regulations over that in the proposed regulations. In these final-form regulations, the Board inserted the word ''positive'' in the heading of the section to reflect the intent and focus of the new provisions. Eligible young children receiving services through early intervention services are now included in the protections provided in this section. The new provisions require that behavior support programs and plans be based on a functional assessment of behavior. Restraints are only to be considered as a measure of last resort, only after other less restrictive measures have been used. New provisions are added regarding positive behavior support plans. It adds a definition of restraints and provides that when restraints are used the school entity shall notify the parent and have the IEP team meet within 10-school days unless the parent waives the need for a meeting. The revised provision also establishes criteria as to when the use of restraints may be included in a student's or eligible young child's IEP. Finally, the revised language provides that subsequent to a referral to law enforcement for those who already have a positive behavior support plan that an updated functional behavior assessment be performed and the plan updated.

§ 14.155 (relating to range of services)

   The caseload provision for early intervention services is to be based on the basis of the amount of time required to fulfill eligible young children's IEP. Class size may have up to six young children and up to a maximum of 11 if one additional teacher or paraprofessional is assigned to the classroom.

§ 14.162 (relating to impartial due process hearing and expedited due process hearing)

   Nearly every commentator addressed the issue of due process hearings and the appeal panels. There was near universal support for the elimination of the two-tier system. The Board determined it was in the best interest of all parties to eliminate the use of the appeal panels and to strengthen the first level hearings process. The Board included provisions that require the Department to provide annual reports to the Board so it can monitor the effectiveness of the single tier system.

Fiscal Impact and Paperwork Requirements

   As the current two-tier system for due process hearings and appeals transitions to a single level system over the next 2 years, schools will save approximately $958,855 annually. The responsibility for the cost of hearing officers, transcripts, travel and related administrative costs will shift from local school entities to become that of the Department. With elimination of the appeals panels, the Department will save approximately $251,000 annually in hearing officer, transcription services, travel and related costs.

   With a reduction in the time frame for completion of evaluations and reevaluations from 60 school days to 60 calendar days, it is estimated that 10 to 20 additional school psychologists will be needed Statewide to complete the evaluations by the deadline in school entities with a high percentage of students with disabilities. With average salary/benefit costs of approximately $75,000, the cost to school entities will total approximately $1,125,000.

   The Department will receive savings from the elimination of the appeals panel system. The Department will save approximately $251,000 annually once all the appeals filed before July 1, 2008, are addressed by the panels. However, with the elimination of the appeals panels, the Department assumes responsibility for the costs associated with the first-level due process hearings which include the cost of hearing officers, court reporters, travel and related costs which were previously paid by local school entities. When the appeals panel system is eliminated, the single-level system will cost the Department approximately $976,000 annually.

   The final-form rulemaking requires that the Department report annually to the Board on the activities and results of due process hearings. Since the Department already collects this information, the cost of generating the annual report to the Board is minimal.

   The final-form rulemaking adds a requirement that school entities maintain data on the use of restraints. This data will be reviewed as part of existing compliance reviews conducted by the Department. The cost to implement and administer this new requirement is minimal.

   Requirements for the access to instructional materials as required by IDEA are added. The resource center is funded by the Federal government.

   Under this final-form rulemaking, educational interpreters providing services to students who are deaf or hearing impaired employed by intermediate units and school districts will be required to meet the qualification of scoring a 3.5 or above on the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment and participate in at least 20 hours of continuing professional education in interpreting or transliterating services each year to continue to provide education interpreting services to students. A number of intermediate units and the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance network provide training at no or relatively small cost to educational interpreters to assist them in meeting these requirements.

Effective Date

   The final-form rulemaking will become effective on July 1, 2008.

Sunset Date

   In accordance with its policy and practice regarding regulations, the Board will review the effectiveness of these regulations after 4 years. Therefore, no sunset date is necessary.

Regulatory Review

   Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on June 19, 2007, the Board submitted a copy of the notice of proposed rulemaking, published at 37 Pa.B. 2961, to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and the Chairpersons of the House and Senate Committees (Committees) on Education for review and comment.

   Under section 5(c) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC and the Committee were provided with copies of the comments received during the public comment period, as well as other documents when requested. In preparing the final-form rulemaking, the Board has considered all comments from IRRC, the Committees and the public.

   Under section 5.1(j.2) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5a(j.2)), on June 4, 2008, the final-form rulemaking was deemed approved by the Committees. Under section 5.1(e) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC met on June 5, 2008, and approved the final-form rulemaking.

Contact Person

   The official responsible for information on this final-form rulemaking is Jim Buckheit, Executive Director, State Board of Education, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333, (717) 787-3787, TDD (717) 787-7367.

Findings

   The Board finds that:

   (1)  Public notice of the intention to adopt this final-form rulemaking was given under sections 201 and 202 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) (45 P. S. §§ 1201 and 1202) and the regulations promulgated thereunder, 1 Pa.  Code §§ 7.1 and 7.2.

   (2)  A public comment period was provided as required by law and all comments were considered.

   (3)  The final-form rulemaking is necessary and appropriate for the administration of the code.

Order

   The Board, acting under authorizing statute, orders that:

   (a)  The regulations of the Board, 22 Pa. Code Chapter 14, are amended by amending §§ 14.101--14.104, 14.121--14.124, 14.131--14.133, 14.143, 14.151, 14.153, 14.155 and 14.162; by deleting §§ 14.141, 14.142 and 14.161; and by adding §§ 14.105--14.108, 14.125, 14.145, 14.146 and 14.163 to read as set forth in Annex A.

   (b)  The Executive Director will submit this order and Annex A to the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Attorney General for review and approval as to legality and form as required by law.

   (c)  The Executive Director of the Board shall certify this order and Annex A and deposit them with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.

   (d)  This order is effective July 1, 2008.

JIM BUCKHEIT,   
Executive Director

   (Editor's Note: For the text of the order of the Independent Regulatory Review Commission relating to this document, see 38 Pa.B. 3461 (June 21, 2008).)

   Fiscal Note: Fiscal Note 6-306 remains valid for the final adoption of the subject regulations.

Annex A

TITLE 22. EDUCATION

PART I. STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

Subpart A. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

CHAPTER 14. SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES AND PROGRAMS

GENERAL PROVISIONS

§ 14.101. Definitions.

   In addition to the definitions in §§ 14.102 and 14.103 (relating to purposes; and terminology related to Federal regulations), the following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   Act--The Early Intervention Services System Act (11 P. S. §§ 875-101--875-503).

   Agency--A school entity, approved private school, State-operated program or facility or other public (excluding charter schools and cyber charter schools under Article XVII-A of the School Code (24 P. S. §§ 17-1701-A--17-1751-A)) or private organization providing educational services to children with disabilities or providing early intervention services.

   Age of beginners--The minimum age established by the school district board of directors for admission to the district's first grade under § 11.15 (relating to admission of beginners).

   Developmental areas--Cognitive, communicative, physical, social/emotional and self-help.

   Developmental delay--A child who is less than the age of beginners and at least 3 years of age is considered to have a developmental delay when one of the following exists:

   (i)  The child's score, on a developmental assessment device, on an assessment instrument which yields a score in months, indicates that the child is delayed by 25% of the child's chronological age in one or more developmental areas.

   (ii)  The child is delayed in one or more of the developmental areas, as documented by test performance of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean on standardized tests.

   ESY--Extended school year.

   Early intervention agency--A school entity or licensed provider that has entered into a mutually agreed upon written arrangement (MAWA) with the Department to provide early intervention services to eligible young children in accordance with the act.

   Early intervention services--As defined in section 103 of the act (11 P. S. § 875-103).

   Eligible young child--A child who is less than the age of beginners and at least 3 years of age and who meets the criteria in 34 CFR 300.8 (relating to child with a disability).

   IEP--Individualized education program.

   IST--Instructional support team.

   MDT--Multidisciplinary team.

   Mutually agreed-upon written arrangement--As defined in section 103 of the act.

   Parent--The term as defined in 34 CFR 300.30 (relating to parent) and also includes individuals appointed as foster parents under 55 Pa. Code § 3700.4 (relating to definitions).

   School Code--The Public School Code of 1949 (24 P. S. §§ 1-101--27-2702).

   School entity--A local public education provider such as a school district, area vocational-technical school or intermediate unit but excluding charter schools and cyber charter schools under Article XVII-A of the School Code.

   Student with a disability--A child of school age who meets the criteria in 34 CFR 300.8 (relating to child with a disability).

§ 14.102. Purposes.

   (a)  It is the intent of the Board that children with disabilities be provided with quality special education services and programs. The purposes of this chapter are to serve the following:

   (1)  To adopt Federal regulations by incorporation by reference to satisfy the statutory requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C.A. §§ 1400--1482) and to ensure that:

   (i)  Children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education which is designed to enable the student to participate fully and independently in the community, including preparation for employment or higher education.

   (ii)  Children with disabilities have access to the general curriculum, and participate in State and local assessments as established and described in Chapter 4 (relating to academic standards and assessment).

   (iii)  Children with disabilities are educated, to the maximum extent appropriate, with their nondisabled peers and are provided with supplementary aids and services.

   (iv)  School entities provide access to a full continuum of placement options.

   (v)  The rights of children with disabilities and parents of these children are protected.

   (vi)  The use of early intervening services promotes students' success in a general education environment.

   (2)  To adopt, except as expressly otherwise provided in this chapter, the requirements of 34 CFR Part 300 (relating to assistance to states for the education of children with disabilities) as published at 71 FR 46540--46845 (August 14, 2006). The following sections are incorporated by reference:

   (i)  34 CFR 300.4--300.6 (relating to act; assistive technology device; and assistive technology service).

   (ii)  34 CFR 300.8(a) and (c) (relating to child with a disability).

   (iii)  34 CFR 300.9--300.15 (relating to consent; core academic subjects; day, business day, school day; educational service agency; elementary school; equipment; and evaluation).

   (iv)  34 CFR 300.17--300.20 (relating to free appropriate public education; highly qualified special education teachers; homeless children; and include).

   (v)  34 CFR 300.22--300.24 (relating to individualized education program; individualized education program team; and individualized family service plan).

   (vi)  34 CFR 300.27--300.30 (relating to limited English proficient; local educational agency; native language; and parent).

   (vii)  34 CFR 300.32--300.37 (relating to personally identifiable; public agency; related services; scientifically based research; secondary school; and services plan).

   (viii)  34 CFR 300.39 (relating to special education).

   (ix)  34 CFR 300.41--300.45 (relating to State educational agency; supplementary aids and services; transition services; universal design; and ward of the State).

   (x)  34 CFR 300.101 and 300.102 (relating to free appropriate public education (FAPE); and limitation-exception to FAPE for certain ages).

   (xi)  34 CFR 300.104--300.108 (relating to residential placement; assistive technology; extended school year services; nonacademic services; and physical education).

   (xii)  34 CFR 300.113 and 300.114(a)(2) (relating to routine checking of hearing aids and external components of surgically implanted medical devices; and LRE requirements).

   (xiii)  34 CFR 300.115--300.117 (relating to continuum of alternative placements; placements; and nonacademic settings).

   (xiv)  34 CFR 300.122 (relating to evaluation).

   (xv)  34 CFR 300.130--300.144, regarding students enrolled by their parents in private schools.

   (xvi)  34 CFR 300.148 (relating to placement of children by parents when FAPE is at issue).

   (xvii)  34 CFR 300.160 (relating to participation in assessments).

   (xviii)  34 CFR 300.172 (relating to access to instructional materials).

   (xxix)  34 CFR 300.174 (relating to prohibition on mandatory medication).

   (xx)  34 CFR 300.207 (relating to personnel development).

   (xxi)  34 CFR 300.210--300.213 (relating to purchase of instructional materials; information for SEA; public information; and records regarding migratory children with disabilities).

   (xxii)  34 CFR 300.224 (relating to requirements for establishing eligibility).

   (xxiii)  34 CFR 300.226 (relating to early intervening services).

   (xxiv)  34 CFR 300.300 and 300.301 (relating to parental consent; and initial evaluations).

   (xxv)  34 CFR 300.302--300.307(a)(1) and (2) and (b) (relating to screening for instructional purposes is not evaluation; reevaluations; evaluation procedures; additional requirements for evaluations and reevaluations; determination of eligibility; and specific learning disabilities).

   (xxvi)  34 CFR 300.308--300.311 (relating to additional group members; determining the existence of a specific learning disability; observation; and specific documentation for the eligibility determination).

   (xxvii)  34 CFR 300.320--300.325 (relating to definition of individualized education program; IEP Team; parent participation; when IEPs must be in effect; development, review, and revision of IEP; and private school placement by public agencies).

   (xxviii)  34 CFR 300.327 and 300.328 (relating to educational placements; and alternative means of meeting participation).

   (xxix)  34 CFR 300.501--300.508 (relating to opportunity to examine records; parent participation in meetings; independent education evaluation; prior notice by the public agency, content of notice; procedural safeguards notice; electronic mail; mediation; filing a due process complaint; and due process complaint).

   (xxx)  34 CFR 300.510--300.516 (relating to resolution process; impartial due process hearing; hearing rights; hearing decisions; finality of decisions, appeal; impartial review; timelines and convenience of hearings and reviews; and civil action).

   (xxxi)  34 CFR 300.518(a), (b) and (d) and 300.519 (relating to child's status during proceedings; and surrogate parents).

   (xxxii)  34 CFR 300.530--300.537 (relating to authority of school personnel; determination of setting; appeal; placement during appeals; protections for children not determined eligible for special education and related services; referral to and action by law enforcement and judicial authorities; change of placement because of disciplinary removals; and state enforcement mechanisms).

   (xxxiii)  34 CFR 300.610--300.625 (relating to confidentiality; definitions; notice to parents; access rights; record of access; records on more than one child; list of types and locations of information; fees; amendment of records at parent's request; opportunity for a hearing; result of hearing; hearing procedures; consent; safeguards; destruction of information; and children's rights).

   (3)  To specify how the Commonwealth will meet its obligations to suspected and identified children with disabilities who require special education and related services.

   (4)  To provide to the Commonwealth, through the Department, general supervision of services and programs provided under this chapter.

   (b)  To provide services and programs effectively, the Commonwealth will delegate operational responsibility for school aged students to its school districts to include the provision of child find duties prescribed by 34 CFR 300.111 (relating to child find).

§ 14.103. Terminology related to Federal regulations.

   For purposes of interfacing with 34 CFR Part 300 (relating to assistance to states for the education of children with disabilities), the following term applies, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   Local educational agency--Where the Federal provision uses the term ''local educational agency,'' for purposes of this chapter, the term means an intermediate unit, school district, State operated program or facility or other public organization providing educational services to children with disabilities or providing early intervention services. Applicability of this term to public charter schools is found in Chapter 711 (relating to charter school services and programs for children with disabilities). In the application of 34 CFR 300.130--300.144, regarding children with disabilities enrolled by their parents in private schools, the intermediate unit shall be considered to be the local education agency.

§ 14.104. Special education plans.

   (a)  Each school district shall develop and implement a special education plan aligned with the strategic plan of the school district under § 4.13 (relating to strategic plans). The special education plan shall be developed every 3 years consistent with the phase of the strategic plan of the school district. The Secretary will prescribe the format, content and time for submission of the special education plan.

   (b)  Each school district's special education plan must specify the special education programs that operate in the district and those that are operated in the district by intermediate units, area vocational technical schools and other agencies, and it must describe the following:

   (1)  Early intervening services under 34 CFR 300.226 (relating to early intervening services)  and this chapter, if the services are provided by the school district.

   (2)  The school district procedures for complying with the State criteria for identifying children with specific learning disabilities.

   (3)  Examples of supplementary aids and services provided by the school district.

   (4)  Access to a full continuum of educational placements.

   (5)  Policies and procedures designed to prevent the inappropriate over-identification or disproportionate representation by race and ethnicity of children with disabilities, for those school districts identified with significant disproportionality in accordance with 34 CFR 300.646(a) (relating to disproportionality).

   (6)  School district procedures on behavior support services, including a description of the training provided to staff in the use of positive behavior supports, de-escalation techniques and appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention.

   (7)  Parent training activities provided by the school district.

   (c)  Each school district's special education plan must include procedures for the education of all students with disabilities who are residents of the district, including those receiving special education in approved private schools and students with disabilities who are nonresidents placed in private homes or institutions in the school district under sections 1305, 1306 and 1306.2 of the School Code (24 P. S. §§ 13-1305, 13-1306 and 13-1306.2).

   (d)  Each intermediate unit shall prepare annually and submit to the Secretary a special education plan specifying the special education services and programs to be operated by the intermediate unit, including equitable services provided consistent with 34 CFR 300.130--300.144 and subsection (b)(2)--(4), (6) and (7). The Secretary will prescribe the format, content and time for submission of the intermediate units' plans.

   (e)  Each early intervention agency shall develop and submit to the Department an early intervention special education plan every year.

   (f)  The Department will approve plans in accordance with the following criteria:

   (1)  Services and programs are designed to meet the needs of students identified as children with disabilities within the school district or intermediate unit or eligible young children within the early intervention agency.

   (2)  The full range of services and programs under this chapter are available to children with disabilities and eligible young children.

   (3)  Placement of students with disabilities in settings other than regular education settings may not be based on lack of resources, facilities, staff or for administrative convenience.

   (4)  The plan meets the specifications defined in this chapter and the format, content and time for submission of the agency plans prescribed by the Secretary.

   (g)  Portions of the plans that do not meet the criteria for approval will be disapproved. Prior to disapproval, Department personnel will discuss disapproved portions of the plan and suggest modifications with appropriate intermediate unit or school district personnel. Portions of the plan that are not specifically disapproved will be deemed approved.

   (h)  When a portion of an intermediate unit, school district or early intervention plan is disapproved, the Department will issue a notice specifying the portion of the plan disapproved, and the rationale for the disapproval and the opportunity for a hearing under 2 Pa.C.S. §§ 501--508 and 701--704 (relating to the Administrative Agency Law) and 1 Pa. Code Part II (relating to General Rules of Administrative Practice Procedure). If requested, the Department will convene a hearing within 30 days after the receipt of the request. The Department will render a decision within 30 days following the hearing.

   (i)  Each school entity shall maintain information concerning students with disabilities, the services provided, performance and discipline data, as specified by the Secretary, and report information in a form and at times as required by the Secretary.

§ 14.105. Personnel.

   (a)  Paraprofessionals.

   (1)  An instructional paraprofessional is a school employee who works under the direction of a certificated staff member to support and assist in providing instructional programs and services to children with disabilities or eligible young children. The support and assistance includes one-on-one or group review of material taught by certificated staff, classroom management and implementation of positive behavior support plans. Services may be provided in a special education class, regular education class or other instructional setting as provided in the student's IEP. Instructional paraprofessionals shall meet one of the following qualifications effective July 1, 2010:

   (i)  Have completed at least 2 years of postsecondary study.

   (ii)  Possess an associate degree or higher.

   (iii)  Meet a rigorous standard of quality as demonstrated through a State or local assessment.

   (2)  Nothing in subsection (a) should be construed to supersede the terms of a collective bargaining agreement in effect on July 1, 2008.

   (3)  Instructional paraprofessionals, each school year, shall provide evidence of 20 hours of staff development activities related to their assignment.

   (4)  A personal care assistant provides one-to-one support and assistance to a student, including support and assistance in the use of medical equipment (for example, augmentative communication devices; activities of daily living; and monitoring health and behavior). A personal care assistant may provide support to more than one student, but not at the same time. Personal care assistants shall provide evidence of 20 hours of staff development activities related to their assignment each school year. The 20 hours of training may include training required by the school-based access program.

   (b)  Educational interpreters. An educational interpreter is an individual who provides students who are deaf or hard of hearing with interpreting or transliterating services in an educational setting.

   (1)  To serve as an educational interpreter, an individual shall meet the qualifications in subparagraph (i) or (ii) and subparagraph (iii):

   (i)  Achieve and provide evidence of a score of 3.5 on the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) for the appropriate grade level to which the person has been assigned.

   (ii)  Be a qualified sign language interpreter or qualified transliterator under the Sign Language Interpreter and Transliterator Registration Act (63 P. S. §§ 1725.1--1725.12) and its implementing regulations.

   (iii)  Provide evidence of a minimum of 20 hours of staff development activities relating to interpreting or transliterating services annually.

   (2)  The Board, in consultation with the Department, will review the EIPA score requirement every 2 years.

   (c)  Caseload.

   (1)  The following words and terms, when used in this subsection, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   (i)  Full-time. Special education supports and services provided by special education personnel for 80% or more of the school day.

   (ii)  Itinerant. Special education supports and services provided by special education personnel for 20% or less of the school day.

   (iii)  Supplemental. Special education supports and services provided by special education personnel for more than 20% but less than 80% of the school day.

   (2)  The following chart represents the maximum number of students allowed on a teacher's caseload:

Itinerant (20% or Less) Supplemental (Less Than 80% but More Than 20%) Full-Time (80% or More)
Learning Support 50 20 12
Life Skills Support 20 20 12 (Grades K-6)
 
15 (Grades 7-12)
Emotional Support 50 20 12
Deaf And Hearing Impaired Support 50 15 8
Blind And Visually Impaired Support 50 15 12
Speech And Language Support 65 8
Physical Support 50 15 12
Autistic Support 12 8 8
Multiple Disabilities Support 12 8 8

   (3)  Each student with a disability shall be assigned to a special education teacher's caseload.

   (4)  A school district may request approval for a caseload chart that varies from that in paragraph (2) as part of its special education plan consistent with § 14.104 (relating to special education plans). The caseload and supporting documents submitted must:

   (i)  Ensure the ability of assigned staff to provide the services required in each student's IEP.

   (ii)  Apply to special education classes operated in the school district.

   (iii)  Provide a justification for why the chart deviates from the caseload chart in paragraph (2).

   (iv)  Describe the opportunities for parents, teachers and other interested parties to review and comment on the chart prior to its submission. The district shall provide and include a copy of the notice to the public indicating the district intends to request a waiver of caseload regulations and a description of how parents, teachers and other interested parties were provided opportunities to give comment on the waiver request.

   (5)  Classes or programs with students from more than one district, regardless of whether operated by a school district, intermediate unit or agency, shall follow the caseload chart of the district where the class or program is located. Intermediate unit services provided to multiple districts must follow the caseload chart under paragraph (2).

   (6)  Caseloads are not applicable to approved private schools or to chartered schools for the deaf and blind.

   (7)  The Department may withdraw approval of variance in the caseload chart for a school district if its caseload is determined to be inadequate. The Department will consider at least the following indicators when making the determination:

   (i)  Graduation rates of students with a disability.

   (ii)  Drop-out rates of students with a disability.

   (iii)  Postsecondary transition of students with a disability.

   (iv)  Rate of grade level retentions.

   (v)  Statewide and district-wide assessment results as prescribed by §§ 4.51 and 4.52 (relating to State assessment system; and local assessment system).

§ 14.106. Access to instructional materials.

   (a)  The Board adopts the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) as defined in section 674(e)(3)(B) of the Education of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C.A. § 1474(e)(3)(B)) and set forth in 71 FR 41084 (July 19, 2006) for the purpose of providing print instructional materials in alternate accessible formats or specialized formats to blind persons or other persons with print disabilities in a timely manner. To ensure the timely provision of high quality, accessible instructional materials to children who are blind or other persons with print disabilities, agencies shall adopt the NIMAS. The NIMAS refers to a standard for source files of print instructional materials created by publishers that may be converted into accessible instructional materials.

   (b)  Agencies shall, in a timely manner, provide print instructional materials in specialized, accessible formats (that is, Braille, audio, digital, large-print, and the like) to children who are blind or other persons with print disabilities, as defined in 2 U.S.C.A. § 135a (regarding books and sound-reproduction records for blind and other physically handicapped residents; annual appropriations; and purchases).

   (c)  Agencies act in a timely manner in providing instructional materials under subsection (a) if they take steps to ensure that children who are blind or other persons with print disabilities have access to their accessible format instructional materials at the same time that students without disabilities have access to instructional materials. Agencies may not withhold instructional materials from other students until instructional materials in accessible formats are available.

   (d)  Receipt of a portion of the instructional materials in alternate accessible or specialized format will be considered receipt in a timely manner if the material received covers the chapters that are currently being taught in the student's class.

   (e)  If a child who is blind or other person with a print disability enrolls in school after the start of the school year, an agency shall take steps to ensure that the student has access to accessible format instructional materials within 10 school days from the time it is determined that the child requires printed instructional materials in an alternate accessible or specialized format.

   (f)  The Department or agencies may coordinate with the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) to facilitate the production of and delivery of accessible materials to children who are blind or other persons with print disabilities. The NIMAC refers to the central repository, established under section 674(e)  of the Education of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which is responsible for processing, storing and distributing NIMAS files of textbooks and core instructional materials.

   (g)  Agencies coordinating with NIMAC shall require textbook publishers to deliver the contents of print instructional materials to the NIMAC in NIMAS format files on or before delivery of the print instructional materials to the agency. Agencies that choose not to coordinate with NIMAC may require that publishers deliver the contents of print instructional materials to the NIMAC in NIMAS format files on or before delivery of the print instructional materials to the agency.

§ 14.107. Complaint procedure.

   The Department will establish a complaint procedure consistent with 34 CFR 300.151--300.153 (relating to adoption of State complaint procedures; minimum State complaint procedures; and filing a complaint) and disseminate notice of that procedure.

§ 14.108. Access to classrooms.

   Parents shall have reasonable access to their child's classrooms, within the parameters of local educational agency policy.

[Continued on next Web Page]



No part of the information on this site may be reproduced for profit or sold for profit.

This material has been drawn directly from the official Pennsylvania Bulletin full text database. Due to the limitations of HTML or differences in display capabilities of different browsers, this version may differ slightly from the official printed version.


Navigation

webmaster@PaBulletin.com