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

Purchase of instructional materials (Sec. 300.210)

Comment: One commenter recommended requiring LEAs to hold public hearings that meet the requirements in section 612(a)(19) of the Act before adopting its policies and procedures to purchase instructional materials. The commenter stated that all interested members of the public, including parents of children with disabilities, are entitled to participate in designing the plan to meet the requirements in Sec. 300.210.

Discussion: The Act does not require LEAs to hold public hearings before implementing new policies and procedures. This is a matter for each State to determine, based on its rules governing public hearings and public comment. Therefore, we do not believe it is appropriate for these regulations to require LEAs to hold public hearings and receive public comment on the LEA's purchase of instructional materials, as requested by the commenter.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter stated that the requirements in Sec. 300.210(b)(3) are unnecessary and should be removed because the Act does not require LEAs to provide accessible materials for children with disabilities for whom assistance is not available from the NIMAC.

Discussion: We believe that Sec. 300.210(b)(3) is necessary because timely access to appropriate and accessible instructional materials is an inherent component of an LEA's obligation under the Act to ensure that FAPE is available for all children with disabilities and that children with disabilities participate in the general curriculum as specified in their IEPs. Because the NIMAC is not required to serve all children with disabilities who need accessible materials, we believe it is important that the regulations make clear that LEAs are still responsible for ensuring that children with disabilities who need instructional materials in accessible formats, but who do not fall within the definition of children who are eligible to receive materials produced from NIMAS files obtained through the NIMAC, receive them in a timely manner. We, therefore, decline to delete Sec. 300.210(b)(3).

Changes: None.

Comment: A significant number of commenters expressed concern about allowing LEAs to choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC. A few commenters stated that coordination with the NIMAC should be mandatory for all LEAs. Other commenters recommended that LEAs that cannot demonstrate a history of providing instructional materials to children with disabilities in a timely manner should be required to coordinate with the NIMAC.

Discussion: It would be inconsistent with section 613(a)(6)(B) of the Act to make coordination with the NIMAC mandatory for all LEAs or to require certain LEAs to coordinate with the NIMAC (e.g., LEAs that do not have a history of providing instructional materials to children with disabilities in a timely manner). Section 613(a)(6)(B) of the Act provides that nothing in the Act shall be construed to require any LEA to coordinate with the NIMAC.

Changes: None.

Comment: Several commenters requested that the regulations clearly define the process LEAs must go through if they choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC. A few commenters requested additional details on what assurances LEAs must provide if they choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC. A few commenters requested that LEA assurances provide the public with information to evaluate the capacity of the LEA to provide materials to children who are blind or have print disabilities. Some commenters stated that the assurances provided by LEAs that choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC should be done annually and in writing.

Several commenters requested that the regulations provide a means for the public to obtain information about which LEAs choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC. A few commenters recommended requiring LEAs to report to the Department whether they choose to coordinate with the NIMAC. Some commenters requested that the Department publish the assurances made in accordance with Sec. 300.210(b) by LEAs that choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC.

Discussion: The process by which LEAs choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC and the assurances that LEAs must provide if they choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC are determined by each State. Section 300.210(b)(2), consistent with section 613(a)(6)(B) of the Act, states that, if an LEA chooses not to coordinate with the NIMAC, the LEA must provide an assurance to the SEA that the LEA will provide instructional materials to blind persons or other persons with print disabilities in a timely manner. Therefore, it would be unnecessary and burdensome to require LEAs to provide assurances to the Department or to require LEAs to report to the Department whether they choose to coordinate with the NIMAC. Each State has its own mechanisms and processes for obtaining assurances from its LEAs, and we believe it would be inappropriate for these regulations to define the process by which LEAs inform the SEA that they choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC or to specify the content of the assurances that LEAs must provide to the SEA if they choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC. Similarly, it is up to each State to determine whether and how the State will provide information to the public about LEAs in the State that choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC.

Changes: None.

Comment: Some commenters proposed that the regulations require LEAs that choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC to annually report to the public on when children with disabilities receive their materials, how print materials are provided in a timely manner, and the steps the LEA has taken to ensure that materials are provided at the same time as materials are provided to children without disabilities. Other commenters recommended requiring LEAs that choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC to develop and publish their policies and procedures that govern how they maintain and distribute NIMAS files.

Discussion: We believe that imposing additional data collection and reporting requirements, such as those requested by the commenters, on LEAs that choose not to coordinate with the NIMAC is a matter that is best left to the States. States are responsible for ensuring that accessible instructional materials are provided in a timely manner to all children with disabilities who need them, and are, therefore, in the best position to know what controls, if any, are needed in their State to ensure that LEAS comply with the requirements in Sec. 300.210(b)(3). All LEAs, regardless of whether they choose to coordinate with the NIMAC, must ensure that children with disabilities who need instructional materials in accessible formats receive them in a timely manner, consistent with Sec. 300.210(b)(3).

Changes: None.

Comment: A few commenters requested that the Department provide information to LEAs on the NIMAC and the NIMAS so that LEAs can make an informed choice regarding whether to coordinate with the NIMAC.

Discussion: The Department recognizes the need to provide information to LEAs regarding the NIMAC and the NIMAS. The Department has already provided numerous informational sessions on the NIMAC and NIMAS and more are planned following the publication of the regulations and approval of the NIMAC procedures. Information about the NIMAC Technical Assistance Center is available at the following Web site: http://www.aph.org/nimac/index.html. Information on the NIMAS can be obtained at: http://nimas.cast.org.

Changes: None.