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Will my Child’s IEP Transfer If we Move?

The short answer is it depends. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) requires all public schools to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities. However, not all districts or states provide special education services in the same way. 

The IDEA requires the following: “In the case of a child with a disability who transfers school districts within the same academic year, enrolls in a new school, and who had an IEP that was in effect in the same state, the LEA (school district) 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 school district adopts the previous IEP or develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP that is consistent with Federal and State law.”

What Steps Should I Take Before we

Your child’s records will be sent to your new school but you should request a copy for your own records as soon as possible. This gives you a chance to review your child’s records before they are sent to make sure they are accurate and up to date. It also gives you an opportunity to correct any discrepancies. After you confirm that your child’s records are accurate and up to date, it may be smart to provide a copy to the new district yourself. This helps guarantee that their records aren’t lost in the mail. 

Next, you should contact your child’s new school district to schedule an IEP meeting. Your new school will likely conduct their own evaluation to determine if your child is eligible for services. This evaluation is considered an initial evaluation and it will require parental consent. Ask the new school if your child will be required to take any new psychological evaluations.

If your child is required to take new evaluations, schedule them as soon as possible. Ask the new school district what paperwork is needed in addition to your child’s current IEP. This gives you a chance to request records from their providers that the new school district may need. The new school can either accept the current IEP or they can choose to develop a new IEP. If they choose to develop a new IEP, they must provide services that are comparable to the services in your child’s previous IEP.

What if my Child is not Moving Out of State?

If you transfer to a new school in the same school district, your child’s IEP should remain the same. If you transfer to a school outside of your current school district, your child may need a new IEP. The school can either accept your child’s current IEP or develop a new IEP. If the school develops a new IEP, the new school must go through the same steps that you went through to develop your child’s current IEP. 

It’s important to remember that the new school must continue to provide your child services that are comparable to your child’s current IEP. Services may not be the same, but they are required to be similar. The comparable services will remain in place until the new school adopts your child’s current IEP or initiates a new IEP.

What if my Child is Transferring to a New School Out of State?

What if my Child is Transferring to a New School Out of State?States have different eligibility requirements. It’s important to research the new state’s requirements prior to moving. This gives you time to compare your new district’s requirements to your current school’s requirements.

If you are transferring to a new school out of state, the new school will likely conduct an evaluation before implementing a new IEP. It’s important to remember that the new school must give you prior written notice. This gives you an opportunity to provide any additional documentation or information that may be useful when determining your child’s eligibility for special education.

What If I Disagree with the New School’s Evaluation?

You have several options if you disagree with your child’s evaluation. If you disagree with the new school’s evaluation, your child will not have an IEP in place. Because of this, I recommend requesting a 504 plan in the meantime to ensure that your child is provided accommodations to assist them in school until your concerns are resolved.

You can request mediation. In mediation, a neutral third party will meet with you and the school district to see if you can resolve your differences. You can also initiate an impartial due process hearing if you disagree with the new evaluation or IEP. 

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