Adoption of Policies and Procedures by Local Education Agencies Regarding Assurance 12

[43 Pa.B. 3014]
[Saturday, June 1, 2013]

 Due to the amendment to 34 CFR 300.154 (relating to methods of ensuring services), proposed is the adoption of the Department of Education's (Department) policies and procedures by local education agencies regarding Assurance 12 in the proposed Grant Application under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for Federal Fiscal Year 2013.

 Public comment is invited regarding the adoption of the Department's policies and procedures by local education agencies regarding Assurance 12 in the proposed grant application under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA-B). The annual grant application provides assurances that the State's policies and procedures in effect are consistent with the Federal requirements to ensure that a free appropriate public education is made available to all children with a disability from 3 to 21 years of age, including children who have been suspended or expelled from school.

 New regulations have been published related to parental consent for the use of public benefits or insurance to pay for services under IDEA-B. The new regulations were published at 78 FR 10525 (February 14, 2013) and were effective on March 18, 2013. The new regulations amend the United States Department of Education's regulations in 34 CFR 300.154(d)(2)(iv) that were published at 71 FR 46540 (August 16, 2006). The prior regulations required the public agency responsible for providing a free appropriate public education to a child with a disability under the IDEA to obtain parental consent each time access to public benefits or insurance (for example, Medicaid) was sought. The new regulations have two basic requirements. First, the public agency must notify parents in writing of a number of safeguards to protect their rights before the public agency accesses the child's or parent's public benefits or insurance to pay for services under IDEA for the first time and annually thereafter (34 CFR 300.154(d)(2)(v)). Second, the public agency must obtain a one-time written consent from the parent that meets the requirements of 34 CFR 99.30 and 300.622 (relating to under what conditions is prior consent required to disclose information and consent) and also specifies that the parent understands and agrees that the pub- lic agency may access the child's or parent's public benefits or insurance to pay for special education or related services under 34 CFR Part 300 (relating to assistance to states for the education of children with disabilities) (34 CFR 300.154(d)(2)(iv)). The current policies and procedures are available on the Department's web site at (click the ''Programs'' tab, select ''Programs S-Z,'' select ''Special Education,'' then ''Funding Sources'' to select the 2013 link under IDEA-B Grant Application).

 The United States Department of Education general administrative regulations in 34 CFR 300.165 (relating to public participation) require that states conduct public hearings, ensure adequate notice of those hearings and provide an opportunity for public comment, including comment from individuals with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities, before adopting policies and procedures. Due to the amendment of 34 CFR 300.154, the Commonwealth must hold public hearings to receive comment on the adoption of the Federal language into the State regulations. The answer to Assurance 12 in the IDEA-B application is stated as ''no'' and will remain so until the Federal language is officially adopted into the State regulations. The Commonwealth will receive a conditional approval on the IDEA-B Grant and will follow the required Federal procedures to receive full approval. Current policies and procedures related to IDEA-B can be found by accessing the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network's web site at (click on the ''Legal'' tab at the top of the page to find the link to the ''Federal Law and Regulations'').

 Alternative formats of the documents (for example, Braille, large print, cassette tape) will be made available upon request. Moreover, public comment is welcomed in alternative formats such as Braille, taped comments and telephone comments. Individuals who wish to submit comments by telephone should contact Beth Runkle, (717) 783-2311.

 Written and verbal comments must be received by July 19, 2013. The written comments should be directed to Ashley Bennett or Dr. Ronald Wells, Bureau of Special Education, Department of Education, 333 Market Street, 7th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333.

 Additionally, the Department will provide individuals an opportunity to testify on the proposed IDEA-B application and the current policies and procedures. Testifiers are encouraged to bring a written copy of their testimony at the time of presentation. Presentations should be limited to 15 minutes.

 Dates, locations and times allotted for verbal testimony regarding the proposed adoption and current policies and procedures are as follows:

August 6, 2013 PaTTAN—King of Prussia
200 Anderson Road
King of Prussia, PA 19406
(4 p.m.—6 p.m.)
August 8, 2013 PaTTAN—Pittsburgh
3190 William Pitt Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
(5 p.m.—7 p.m.)
August 22, 2013 PaTTAN—Harrisburg
6340 Flank Drive
Harrisburg, PA 17112
(4 p.m.—6 p.m.)

 To schedule an opportunity to present verbal testimony, or for persons who require an accommodation to participate in the proceedings, contact Beth Runkle at (717) 783-2311 no later than July 19, 2013.

 Following receipt of all written and verbal comments, the Department must review and consider all public comments and make any necessary modifications to the application, or policies and procedures, as appropriate, before submission of the grant application to the Secretary of the United States Department of Education.

Acting Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 13-999. Filed for public inspection May 31, 2013, 9:00 a.m.]

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