Superintendent's Memo #018-10

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

January 29, 2010

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Protection Of Rights To A Free Appropriate Public Education And Use Of Funds Under The Comprehensive Services Act (CSA)

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide clarification around the use of CSA funds for students with disabilities and the protection of student rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The IDEA guarantees students with disabilities a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). All services and supports that are necessary to provide FAPE must be delineated in the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Services, accommodations, and modifications delineated in a student’s IEP must be provided regardless of cost.

With the passage of the Comprehensive Services Act in 1992, the responsibility for funding of certain special education services shifted from the school division to the Community and Policy and Management Team (CPMT) as the fiscal agent for CSA Pool Funds. CSA funded services include all services delineated in an IEP that identifies a private day school or a private residential program as the student’s placement in the least restrictive environment. Each CPMT must have policies and procedures in place that ensure a student’s full access to private program IEP services in accordance with IDEA and with the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia.

The school division maintains full responsibility for the provision and funding of all services necessary to provide FAPE to students who are served in public school programs. While under certain circumstances CSA funds may be used for services to students with disabilities who are in public school settings, these funds may not be used for services that are the responsibility of the school division. The omission of services from the IEP to gain access to CSA funding constitutes a violation of FAPE as well as misuse of CSA funds.

School divisions are encouraged to access the multidisciplinary planning available to at-risk youth and families through the CSA process for students who evidence the need for services that fall outside the responsibility of the public schools. Such services would be designed by the Family Assessment Planning Team (FAPT) and included in an Individual Family Services Plan (IFSP). In accordance with policies of the State Executive Council, mandated funding for students with disabilities:

  1. may be utilized for IFSP services for students with disabilities who are served in the public schools if those services are determined by the FAPT to be necessary to prevent a more restrictive private placement, and
  2. extends to the family of a student with a disability who is at risk of a more restrictive private placement if the IFSP services defined by the FAPT are needed to support the objective/goals for that student.

In keeping with the above, and in support of the goals of the Children’s Services Systems Transformation initiative, services to “prevent a more restrictive private placement” would include those services designed to assist the family of a student with a disability to maintain that student in the home/community or to assist the family to prepare for the student’s discharge from a residential program.

Questions regarding this information may be directed to Susan Cumbia Clare at (804) 371-2725 or susan.clare@doe.virginia.gov.

PIW/scc