COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 97
May 31, 1996

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM:
 
William C. Bosher, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT:
 
 
Clarification of the Roles and Responsibilities of the
Local School Divisions and the Virginia Schools for 
the Deaf and the Blind

 
  The purpose of this memorandum is to provide local school
  divisions with clarification concerning the roles and
  responsibilities of the school divisions and the Virginia
  Schools for the Deaf and the Blind (VSDB) for providing
  educational services to children with disabilities placed at
  the VSDBs.
  
  Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  and Virginia law (See 22.1-213 et. seq. of the Code of
  Virginia) each eligible student with a disability is
  entitled to receive an educational program, including
  special education and related services.  Local school
  divisions are responsible for ensuring that a free
  appropriate public education is available to all eligible
  students with disabilities residing in their school
  divisions.  To that end, federal and state laws and
  regulations prescribe the Individualized Education Program
  (IEP) process as the mechanism through which this is
  accomplished.
  
  Essentially, following adherence with procedural safeguards,
  the local school division must convene a properly
  constituted IEP committee to develop the IEP.  The IEP
  describes the special education and related services
  specifically designed to meet the unique needs of the
  student with a disability.  The IEP must be developed prior
  to the determination of where the student will receive the
  services outlined in the IEP identified as the actual
  placement.  In making that determination, the local school
  division must ensure that it is in the least restrictive
  environment and that the placement identified is able to
  provide all the services outlined in the IEP.
  
  For some students, the IEP committee may determine that the
  VSDB is the appropriate placement.  The Virginia Schools for
  the Deaf and the Blind is a statutorily created public
  entity governed by the State Board of Education.  It is not
  a school division or a public school.  State 
  
  SUPTS. MEMO NO.  97
  Page 2
  May 31, 1996
  
  
  law indicates that persons of school ages two through
  twenty-one shall be eligible for educational services
  provided by VSDB; however, the Board prescribes the
  procedures and criteria for determining admission to the
  VSDBs.
  
  If a local school division determines that the VSDB is an
  appropriate placement, the local school division has
  determined that the placement is in the least restrictive
  environment and that the VSDB is able to provide all the
  services identified in the IEP.  As an example, during the
  admission process or on review of the IEP by the IEP
  committee, it may be determined that the student requires an
  individual aide, a service which VSDB does not have
  available.  In this instance, the appropriateness of the
  placement, in the context of the facility's ability to
  provide the services set forth in the IEP, would need to be
  reviewed.  The school division would then need to make a
  placement determination that would ensure that the services
  in the IEP will be provided.  This could be accomplished
  either through a change in setting or by the school division
  agreeing to augment the services available at the VSDB, in
  this example, provide for the aide, so that the IEP will be
  fully implemented.
  
  As with other instances when the local school division
  places the student with disabilities in a program outside
  the local division, they continue to remain responsible for
  ensuring that the student is receiving a free appropriate
  public education consistent with federal and state laws and
  regulations.  Consequently, it would be prudent for the
  local school division to be involved in the admission
  process, as well as any instances where the IEP is being
  reviewed.
  
  If you have any questions concerning these issues, you may
  contact Bob Whytal, specialist, Virginia Schools for the
  Deaf and the Blind, at (804) 692-0251.
  
  WCBJr/RW/jd