Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Preparing Kids for a Successful Future
Through IDEA, all children with disabilities have access to free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designated to meet their specific needs and prepare them for employment and independent living. Each school district is required to have Individual Educational Plans (IEPs) for each child with a disability within its jurisdiction. Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.
Educators need to keep in mind the following:
- IEPs are developed by teams that include the child’s parents, a special educator, the local educational agency and, if appropriate, a regular educator and others.
- Children with disabilities must be included in general state- and district-wide assessments, including the assessments required under No Child Left Behind.
- Beginning in 2006, local educational agencies (LEAs) may set aside up to 15% of IDEA funding for intervention services to students with reading and math difficulties who have not yet been referred to special education.
How Funds Are Distributed
State educational agencies (SEAs) receive grants based on the number of children ages 3-21 who receive special education services multiplied by 40% of the average per-pupil expenditure in public elementary and secondary schools.
- SEAs grant LEAs the amount that would have been received for fiscal year 1999, if the state had distributed 75% of its grant for that year.
- SEAs allocate 85% of any remaining funds to those LEAs on the basis of the relative numbers of children enrolled in public and private elementary schools and secondary schools within the LEA’s jurisdiction.
- SEAs allocate the remaining 15% to those LEAs in accordance with their relative numbers of children living in poverty, as determined by the SEA.
- LEAs allocate funds to schools based on their needs and programs.
How Funds May Be Spent
IDEA funds should be focused on costs associated with meeting the needs of a child with a disability as specified in the child’s IEP, even if children without disabilities benefit from these services, such as:
- Special education services, , related services and supplementary aids and services provided in a regular class or other education-related setting
- Development and implementation related to fully integrated and coordinated service systems for serving students with special educational needs
- Intervention services for students with reading and math difficulties who have not been referred for special education services
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