SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 97
May 31, 1996
||William C. Bosher, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
||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