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What happens when there is no head of special education


LisaS
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New to forums here so please bear with me if I did this wrong.

My son’s Pa charter school just lost its third head of special education in five years. She was my favorite. 

My question is: now what? If the position is vacant who is supposed to oversee IEP meetings and such? 

also: what should I be worried about or keeping an eye out for in this period without leadership?

My son is 13 and in 7th grade and he has one year left at this school.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

A variety of people can serve as the school's (LEA) representative.  It is not imperative for there to be a director of special education.  Often the principal will serves as the school's representative.  It is important that whoever is representing the school be authorized to allocate resources.  Sometimes a school counselor or a special education case manager will "act" as the representative  however often these individuals are often not able to authorize spending and as a result, the can not act as the school's representative.  

Here is a good article that describes the role of the LEA representative:  https://awsa.memberclicks.net/update-article--role-of-lea-representative-in-iep-meetings--supporting-ccr-ieps

The Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) 2004 identifies the LEA representative as someone who;

(i) is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities;

(ii) is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum; and

(iii) is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency.

(34 CFR 300.321(a)(4))

 

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The bottom line is nothing should change for your student.  The principal and the teachers are required to continue to follow the IEP unless the team meets to make adjustments.  Whenever you are in a meeting you should ask who is acting as the LEA and if you will be discussing topics which require the allocation of resources, confirm that individual is authorized to "spend money."  If there is no one at the meeting to authorized to spend money it can not be considered an IEP meeting because the team can not make decisions at the meeting.  If you are meeting and no additional resources need to be allocated, then it does not really matter. 

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In PA, supervision of IEPs is given to the superintendent (or equivalent at a charter school).  They all tend to delegate this responsibility to a special ed supervisor/director.  If the position of special ed supervisor/director is open , the responsibility falls back on the superintendent.  They can designate a principal or other school employee to cover the job responsibilities until a replacement is found.  (I was told that the most stressful job in any school district is that of the person who oversees special ed so I'm not surprised to see high turnover.)  Changes like this shouldn't have an effect on your child or their IEP.

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