Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) Guidance


TO: Chief State School Officers
State Directors of Special Education

FROM: William W. Knudsen
Acting Director
Office of Special Education Programs

SUBJECT: Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS) Under
Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act amended the IDEA to allow, and sometimes require, local educational agencies (LEAs) to use funds provided under Part B of the IDEA for CEIS. This new provision, which is found in section 613(f) of the IDEA (20 U.S.C. §1413(f)) and the regulations in 34 CFR §300.226 permit LEAs to use Part B funds to develop and provide CEIS for students who are currently not identified as needing special education. The rationale for using IDEA funds for CEIS is based on research showing that the earlier a child’s learning problems or difficulties are identified, the more quickly and effectively the problems and difficulties can be addressed and the greater the chances that the child’s problems will be ameliorated or decreased in severity. Conversely, the longer a child goes without assistance, the longer the remediation time and the more intense and costly services might be.

From the perspective of the interests of the child, and for administrative, fiscal, and instructional reasons, providing CEIS is a sound policy. As the Department stated in the Analysis of Comments and Changes section in the final IDEA Part B regulations, published on August 14, 2006, allowing schools to use some Part B funds for CEIS has the potential to benefit both special education and general education. CEIS can benefit general education by reducing academic and behavioral problems in the general education environment. CEIS can also benefit special education by ensuring that students are appropriately referred to special education, which would reduce referrals for special education and related services for needs that could have been addressed with relatively simple general education interventions. (71 FR 46540, 46626-46627 (Aug. 14, 2006)).

The IDEA and its implementing regulations permit LEAs to use not more than 15 percent of the amount the LEA receives under Part B of the IDEA, less any amount reduced by the LEA pursuant to 34 CFR §300.205 (adjustment to local fiscal efforts), to develop and implement CEIS. See 34 CFR §300.226. The regulations also specify:

  • how CEIS funds may be spent;
  • on whom CEIS funds may be spent;
  • the reporting requirements for LEAs providing CEIS;
  • the requirement for using CEIS funds by an LEA identified as having significant disproportionality based on race or ethnicity; and
  • the relationship of CEIS to maintenance of effort requirements (34 CFR §§300.226, 300.646(b) and 300.205(d)).

The Department has received a number of requests to clarify the use of IDEA funds and other Federal funds for CEIS, including the provision in 34 CFR §300.646 that requires an LEA to reserve the maximum amount of funds available for comprehensive CEIS if there is significant disproportionality based on race or ethnicity with respect to the identification of children with disabilities; the identification of children in specific disability categories; the placement of children with disabilities in particular educational settings; or the incidence, duration, and type of disciplinary actions, including suspensions and expulsions.

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance on CEIS, including the use of CEIS funds by LEAs identified as having significant disproportionality based on race or ethnicity, and on the relationship of CEIS to response to intervention (RTI). In addition to this guidance, the Department has available on its Web site,, several resources that might be of assistance to States and LEAs in implementing CEIS, including a topic brief, a video clip, questions and answers, and a professional development module created and disseminated in cooperation with the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).

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Last Modified: 09/25/2008