COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
December 3, 2010
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction
Under the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004), its federal implementing regulations, and the Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia (effective January 25, 2010), local educational agencies (LEAs) are required to submit an Annual Plan for providing special education and related services to children with disabilities. The 2011-2012 Special Education Annual Plan serves as the formal agreement between a local school board and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) for implementing federal and state laws and regulations governing these services. Accordingly, the disbursement of state and federal funds appropriated for the education of children with disabilities is contingent upon the approval of this plan and each of its components.
Each school division, state-operated program (SOP), and the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind at Staunton (VSDB) shall maintain current policies and procedures and supporting documentation to demonstrate compliance with federal and state regulations governing the provision of special education and related services, licensure, and accreditation. Completion of the required certifications and assurances sections of the Annual Plan will verify adherence to the requirements of IDEA 2004, its federal implementing regulations, and the Virginia special education regulations.
The annual plan includes a number of required components, including:
Prior to submitting its Annual Plan to the VDOE, each school division shall review its Annual Plan with its local special education advisory committee and submit its Annual Plan to the local school board for approval. SOPs are required to submit their Annual Plans to the State Special Education Advisory Committee for review prior to submitting the plans to VDOE for approval. The VSDB is required to submit its Annual Plan to its board for approval and then to the State Special Education Advisory Committee for review prior to submitting it to VDOE for approval.
For the first time, the entire annual plan must be completed and submitted electronically. School divisions, SOPs, and the VSDB are required to submit the Annual Plan, including financial information, using the Excel document via the Online Management of Education Grant Awards (OMEGA) System. Since this system has been required in previous years for submission of financial information, LEAs may already have approved access for all users in their approval queue. For those with new directors or others who would be new to the approval queue, however, an "OMEGA User Permission Form OP1," (OP1 form) must be on file with the VDOE's Office of Accounting to establish user access. Instructions for completing the OP1 form and online training opportunities are available at: http://www.doe.virginia.gov/school_finance/budget/grants_acct_reporting/omega/index.shtml. Unless previously completed, please mail a completed OP1 form for each individual in the LEA's approval queue to the following address no later than Friday, April 15, 2011:
Virginia Department of Education
Attn: Office of Accounting
P.O. Box 2120
Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120
School divisions, SOPs, and the VSDB must complete and successfully submit the annual plan electronically via OMEGA using the Excel workbook by Monday, May 23, 2011. The Excel workbook is located on the VDOE web-site at:
http://www.doe.virginia.gov/info_management/data_collection/special_education/index.shtml#annual_plan . Official approval through OMEGA by school division superintendents, SOP directors, and the VSDB superintendent will serve as the confirmation that school divisions, SOPs, and VSDB have met all requirements, certifications, and assurances. Hard copies of these signed and dated documents, however, must be maintained locally.
To clarify provision of requirements for children with disabilities who are two years old and receive services under Part B Section 619, the Code of Virginia stipulates that the VDOE assures a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to eligible children with disabilities from age two (by September 30 of the school year) to 21, inclusive. Federal clarification has indicated that IDEA Part C (Early Intervention for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities) regulations do not apply to any child with a disability who is receiving FAPE under Part B Section 619. This provision applies whether the services are fully or partially funded under Section 619.
Questions regarding the annual plan may be directed to the following VDOE staff at the Virginia Department of Education, P.O. Box 2120, Richmond, Virginia 23218-2120, or by e-mail or phone as follows: