FR Doc 04-7032
[Federal Register: March 30, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 61)]
[Page 16535-16537]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []
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Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; List of 

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: List of Correspondence from October 1, 2003 through December 
31, 2003.


SUMMARY: The Secretary is publishing the following list pursuant to 
section 607(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 
(IDEA). Under section 607(d) of the IDEA, the Secretary is required, on 
a quarterly basis, to publish in the Federal Register a list of 
correspondence from the Department of Education received by individuals 
during the previous quarter that describes the interpretations of the 
Department of Education (Department) of the IDEA or the regulations 
that implement the IDEA.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melisande Lee or JoLeta Reynolds. 
Telephone: (202) 205-5507 (press 3).
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain a copy of this notice in 
an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or 
computer diskette) on request to the contact persons listed in the 
preceding paragraph.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The following list identifies correspondence 
from the Department issued from October 1, 2003 through December 31, 
    Included on the list are those letters that contain interpretations 
of the requirements of the IDEA and its implementing regulations, as 
well as letters and other documents that the Department believes will 
assist the public in understanding the requirements of the law and its 
regulations. The date and topic addressed by a letter are identified, 
and summary information is also provided, as appropriate. To protect 
the privacy interests of the individual or individuals

[[Page 16536]]

involved, personally identifiable information has been deleted, as 

Part B

Assistance for Education of All Children With Disabilities

Section 611--Authorization; Allotment; use of Funds; Authorization of 
    Topic Addressed: Use of Funds.
     Letter dated November 18, 2003 to Florida 
Department of Education Director of Special Education Shan Goff, 
clarifying that under Part B of the IDEA, the court, in its discretion, 
may award reasonable attorneys' fees to the parents of a child with a 
disability who is a prevailing party in a due process hearing, but the 
IDEA does not provide a reciprocal right for a local educational agency 
(LEA) or State educational agency (SEA) (although it may be permissible 
for an LEA or SEA to recover fees under other applicable federal or 
State laws).
Section 612--State Eligibility
    Topic Addressed: Condition of Assistance.
     Letter dated December 24, 2003 to Attorney Leigh 
M. Manasevit, regarding the requirement that North Carolina revise its 
State Plan because a public agency may not use the due process 
procedures to override a parent's refusal to consent to the initial 
provision of special education and related services.

    Topic Addressed: Procedural Safeguards.
     Letter dated December 10, 2003 to individuals 
(personally identifiable information redacted), regarding options 
available to parents to resolve disputes relating to the requirements 
of Part B of the IDEA and clarifying that the Part B regulations do not 
include a provision for review by the Office of Special Education 
Programs of a State's complaint decision.
     Letter dated October 27, 2003 to California 
State Director of Special Education Alice Parker, clarifying that the 
Part B regulations require a State to resolve signed, written 
complaints regarding State eligibility requirements.
    Topic Addressed: Confidentiality of Education Records.
     Letter dated October 31, 2003 to individual 
(personally identifiable information redacted), from Family Policy 
Compliance Office Director LeRoy S. Rooker, clarifying that under the 
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the IDEA, a 
school system may not release to the parents of a student, for whom a 
due process hearing has been filed, the names and personally 
identifiable information of other students (without consent from their 
parents) that are contained in the student's record.

    Topic Addressed: Least Restrictive Environment.
     Letter dated November 4, 2003 to New Jersey 
Department of Education Director of Special Education Barbara Gantwerk, 
regarding the least restrictive environment provisions of the IDEA and 
the placement of children with disabilities in segregated settings, 
with parental approval.

    Topic Addressed: State Educational Agency General Supervisory 
     Letters dated October 24, 2003 to New Jersey 
Statewide Parent Advocacy Network Executive Director Diana MTK Autin 
and to New Jersey Commissioner of Education William L. Librera, 
clarifying that the IDEA does not prohibit a State or school district 
from entering into an agreement with another entity to provide special 
education and related services, but the State and school district 
remain responsible for ensuring the provision of a free appropriate 
public education to the child, and the parents cannot be denied the 
opportunity to pursue complaints against the State and school district.
Section 613--Local Educational Agency Eligibility
    Topic Addressed: Charter Schools.
     Letter dated December 18, 2003 to Texas 
Education Agency Associate Commissioner Susan Barnes, clarifying that 
the IDEA statute and its corresponding regulations do not make any 
exceptions to the requirements under 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(1) and 20 U.S.C. 
1412(a)(3)-(6) when a student is provided an education through 
information and communication technologies (e.g., via the Internet, 
teleconferencing, or tele-video conferencing).
     Letter dated November 10, 2003 to Harmony 
Community School Executive Director David Nordyke, clarifying that 
issues regarding a State's public school funding formula, including 
State funding of special education and related services, are matters to 
be resolved at the State level, as long as the provisions of the IDEA 
are met.
Section 614--Evaluations, Eligibility Determinations, Individualized 
Education Programs, and Educational Placements
    Topic Addressed: Individualized Education Programs.
     Letter dated October 2, 2003 to Daniel W. Morse, 
Esq., clarifying that a Section 504 plan that does not meet the 
specific individualized education program (IEP) requirements of Part B 
of the IDEA may not be used to substitute for an IEP.
Section 615--Procedural Safeguards
    Topic Addressed: Due Process Hearings.
     Letter dated December 10, 2003 to individual 
(personally identifiable information redacted), clarifying that a party 
aggrieved by a decision in a hearing (in a one-tier due process hearing 
system) does not have a right to an appeal to the SEA merely because 
the State transfers responsibility for conducting due process hearings 
to the State's Office of Administrative Hearings, and clarifying that 
the State is not automatically a proper party to an administrative or 
judicial proceeding merely because the State operates a one-tier 

Part C

Infants and Toddlers With Disabilities

Section 634--Eligibility
    Topic Addressed: Evaluations.
     Letter dated November 6, 2003 to Connecticut 
Part C Coordinator Linda Goodman, clarifying whether audiological 
evaluations must be provided to an infant or toddler referred to Part 
C, who is suspected of having a communication delay, whose hearing has 
not been tested, and for whom an audiology evaluation is determined to 
be needed.
Section 635--Requirements for Statewide System
    Topic Addressed: Eligibility Criteria.
     Letter dated October 24, 2003 to Connecticut 
Part C Coordinator Linda Goodman, regarding the State's obligation to 
evaluate and assess infants or toddlers who are suspected of having a 
disability and whether the State can deny services to families who 
refuse to pay or repeatedly fail to keep appointments.
Other Letters That Do Not Interpret the Idea But May Be of Interest to 
    Topic Addressed: Procedural Safeguards.
     Letter dated October 17, 2003 to U.S. 
Congressman Ruben Hinojosa clarifying that the provisions of the Safe 
and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (Title IV of the Elementary 
and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left 
Behind Act of 2001) do not prohibit the presence of a student's 
prescription drugs, or related equipment, at school.

[[Page 16537]]

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(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.027, Assistance to 
States for Education of Children with Disabilities)

    Dated: March 23, 2004.
Troy R. Justesen,
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 04-7032 Filed 3-29-04; 8:45 am]