P. O. BOX 2120
January 24, 1997


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Status of Continued Service Provision for Students with Disabilities

  This is to provide an update of the status of Virginia's
  case with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding the
  provision of continued services to students with
  disabilities who have been properly expelled or long-term
  suspended according to procedures set forth in Virginia's
  Special Education Regulations.  As you know, the Department
  of Education, under an agreement with the Fourth Circuit
  Court of Appeals, has assumed responsibility for service to
  these students since May, 1994 and will continue to do so
  until the matter is resolved by the courts.  You were
  advised through Supts. Memo No. 199, December 20, 1996
  (Informational) that Governor Allen has included in his
  budget proposal $1,050,000 in 1996-97 to support this
  initiative.  You will note, however, that no funds are
  proposed for the 1997-98 year. 

  Virginia's appeal to the full Fourth Circuit Court of
  Appeals was argued on December 4, 1996.  Although we cannot
  predict the results of the hearing nor the date that a
  decision will be rendered, this event creates the
  possibility that this issue will be resolved during this
  current fiscal year.  Knowing that you are now in your 1997-98
  budget preparation, we felt it important to advise you
  that, should the Fourth Circuit uphold previous decisions
  and rule that students with disabilities who have been
  properly suspended or expelled must receive continued
  services, the Virginia Department of Education  will
  transfer the responsibility for these students to the
  respective localities for the 1997-98 year and will no
  longer be responsible for services to these students.  

  Questions about this matter may be referred to H. Douglas
  Cox, Director, Office of Special Education and Student
  Services at (804) 225-2402 or Patricia Abrams, Associate
  Director, at (804) 225-2707.