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

Agreement (Sec. 300.324(a)(4))

Comment: Many commenters expressed concern that permitting changes to a child's IEP without an IEP Team meeting will be detrimental to the child's overall education. Several commenters requested that Sec. 300.324(a)(4) clarify whether such changes to the IEP can only be made between the annual IEP Team meetings to review the IEP and not in place of an annual IEP Team meeting. These commenters also requested clarification regarding the types of revisions that could be made without an IEP Team meeting. A few commenters recommended limiting the circumstances under which an IEP may be revised without convening an IEP Team meeting. One commenter requested that the regulations include safeguards to ensure that key elements of a child's IEP are not altered without a discussion of the changes with the parent.

Discussion: Section 300.324(a)(4), consistent with section 614(d)(3)(D) of the Act, allows a parent and a public agency to agree not to convene an IEP Team meeting to make changes to the child's IEP, and instead, to develop a written document to amend or modify the child's current IEP. The Act does not place any restrictions on the types of changes that may be made, so long as the parent and the public agency agree. Accordingly, we do not believe it would be appropriate to include restrictions on such changes in the regulations.

We do not believe that an amendment to an IEP can take the place of an annual IEP Team meeting. It is unnecessary to regulate on this issue because section 614(d)(4)(A)(i) of the Act clearly requires the IEP Team to review the child's IEP annually to determine whether the annual goals for the child are being achieved. We believe that the procedural safeguards in Sec. Sec. 300.500 through 520 are sufficient to ensure that a child's IEP is not changed without prior notice by a public agency and an opportunity to discuss any changes with the public agency.

Changes: None.

Comment: Several commenters asked whether the agreement to make changes to a child's IEP without an IEP Team meeting must be in writing. Many commenters recommended requiring informed written consent to amend an IEP without an IEP Team meeting.

Discussion: Section 614(d)(3)(D) of the Act does not require the agreement between the parent and the public agency to be in writing. In addition, the parent is not required to provide consent, as defined in Sec. 300.9, to amend the IEP without an IEP Team meeting. However, it would be prudent for the public agency to document the terms of the agreement in writing, in the event that questions arise at a later time. Of course, changes to the child's IEP would have to be in writing.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter requested that the regulations include safeguards to ensure that key elements of a child's prior IEP program are not altered without discussion of the change with parents, and that parents are provided with information that will allow them to fully consider the alternatives.

Discussion: Section 300.324(a)(4), consistent with section 614(d)(3)(D) of the Act, permits the public agency and the parent to agree to amend the child's IEP without an IEP Team meeting. If the parent needs further information about the proposed change or believes that a discussion with the IEP Team is necessary before deciding to change the IEP, the parent does not have to agree to the public agency's request to amend the IEP without an IEP Team meeting.

Changes: None.

Comment: A few commenters recommended that when an IEP is changed without an IEP Team meeting, all personnel with responsibility for implementing the revised IEP should be informed of the changes with respect to their particular responsibilities and have access to the revised IEP. Some commenters recommended that once the parent has approved the IEP changes, the IEP Team members should be notified and trained on the amended IEP within one calendar week of the changes.

Discussion: We agree that when the parent and the public agency agree to change the IEP without an IEP Team meeting, it is important that the personnel responsible for implementing the revised IEP be notified and informed of the changes with respect to their particular responsibilities. We will add language to address this in Sec. 300.324(a)(4). We do not believe that it is necessary to regulate on the timeframe within which a public agency must make the IEP accessible to the service providers responsible for implementing the changes, or otherwise notify them of the changes, as this will vary depending on the circumstances (e.g., whether the changes are minor or major changes) and is, therefore, best left to State and local public agency officials to determine.

Changes: We have restructured Sec. 300.324(a)(4) and added a new paragraph (a)(4)(ii) to require a public agency to ensure that the child's IEP Team is informed of changes made to a child's IEP when changes to the IEP are made without an IEP Team meeting.

Comment: One commenter asked whether States must allow parents and school districts to agree to change the IEP without an IEP Team meeting.

Discussion: The provisions in section 614(d)(3)(D) of the Act are intended to benefit parents by providing the flexibility to amend an IEP without convening an IEP Team meeting. Therefore, a State must allow changes to an IEP without an IEP Team meeting when a parent and public agency agree not to convene an IEP Team meeting, and instead develop a written document to amend or modify a child's current IEP, consistent with Sec. 300.324(a)(4) and section 614(d)(3)(D) of the Act.

Changes: None.