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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

State administration (Sec. 300.199)

Comment: One commenter indicated that Sec. 300.199 is improperly placed in the regulations under the general heading "By-pass for Children in Private Schools."

Discussion: We agree with the commenter that Sec. 300.199 does not belong under the general heading "By-Pass for Children in Private Schools."

Changes: A new undesignated center heading entitled "State Administration" will be added immediately preceding Sec. 300.199 to separate that section from the regulations related to implementation of the by-pass provisions of the Act.

Comment: One commenter recommended including in Sec. 300.199 a requirement that States may not eliminate from their rules, regulations, and policies any provisions required by Part B of the Act and its implementing regulations.

Discussion: Section 300.199 incorporates the requirement in section 608 of the Act that any rulemaking related to the Act conducted by the State conform to the purposes of the Act. Consistent with section 608 of the Act, Sec. 300.199 makes clear that each State that receives funds under Part B of the Act must ensure that any State rules, regulations, and policies relating to 34 CFR part 300 conform to the provisions of 34 CFR part 300. We do not believe it is necessary to add a provision in Sec. 300.199 prohibiting States from eliminating from their rules, regulations, and policies any provisions required by Part B of the Act and its implementing regulations, as requested by the commenter. If a State were to do so, the State's rules, regulations, and policies would not conform to the provisions in 34 CFR part 300. Under this provision, a State, and not the Secretary, determines whether a particular rule, regulation, or policy conforms to the purposes of the Act.

Changes: None.

Comment: Some commenters expressed concern that the mandate to minimize State rules and regulations might discourage States from developing beneficial programs, and, therefore, should not pertain to policies that promote best practices, increased parental involvement, educating children in the least restrictive environment, and improving access to the general curriculum. One commenter recommended including a statement in the regulations that a State would not be penalized for exceeding the minimum requirements of the Act. A few commenters stated that the services provided by the Act were intended to be a "floor," rather than a "ceiling" and recommended a pilot program to encourage States to adopt rules that best serve the needs of children with disabilities.

Discussion: We do not agree that the regulations discourage States from developing beneficial programs or establishing rules that best serve the needs of children with disabilities. In fact, Sec. 300.199(b), consistent with section 608(b) of the Act, requires State rules, regulations, and policies under the Act to support and facilitate LEA and school-level system improvement designed to enable children with disabilities to meet challenging State student academic achievement standards.

Section 300.199(a), consistent with section 608(a) of the Act, is intended to minimize the number of rules, regulations, and policies to which LEAs and schools are subject under the Act, and to identify in writing any rule, regulation, or policy that is State-imposed and not required under the Act and its implementing regulations. The Department's position is consistent with S. Rpt. No. 108-185, p. 10, which states "Through section 608(a), the committee is in no way attempting to reduce State input or State practice in this area, but intends to make clear what is a Federal obligation and what is a State or local educational agency requirement for the Act." We believe it is important for parents, teachers, school administrators, State lawmakers, and others to understand what is required under the Act, and, therefore, do not believe that Sec. 300.199 should be changed.

Changes: None.