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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 8. Education
Agency 20. State Board of Education
Chapter 81. Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia
9/21/2020

8VAC20-81-20. Functions of the Virginia Department of Education.

Part II
Responsibilities of the State Department of Education

The Virginia Department of Education (state educational agency) shall perform the following functions:

1. Ensure that all children with disabilities, aged two to 21, inclusive, residing in Virginia have a right to a free appropriate public education, including, but not limited to, children with disabilities who: (34 CFR 300.2 and 34 CFR 300.101)

a. Are migrant;

b. Are homeless;

c. Have been suspended or expelled from school, in accordance with this chapter;

d. Are incarcerated in a state, regional, or local adult or juvenile correctional facility, with the exception of those provisions identified in 8VAC20-81-110 I;

e. Are receiving special education and related services, even though they have not failed or been retained in a course or grade, and are advancing from grade to grade;

f. Are in state-operated programs; or

g. Are in public charter schools in accordance with the Code of Virginia.

2. Except as provided in 8VAC20-81-170 E 4 b (3), ensure that each local school division develops an IEP for each child with a disability served by that local school division and that an IEP is developed for each child with a disability placed in a private school by a local school division or Comprehensive Services Act team. (34 CFR 300.112 and 34 CFR 300.300(b)(4)(ii))

3. Review and submit to the Virginia Board of Education for approval a plan for the provision of special education and related services from each local educational agency responsible for providing educational services to children with disabilities. (§ 22.1-215 of the Code of Virginia; 34 CFR 300.200)

4. Ensure that each local educational agency includes all children with disabilities in all general Virginia Department of Education and divisionwide assessment programs, including assessments described in § 1111 of ESEA, with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary and as indicated in their respective IEPs and in accordance with the provisions of the Act at § 1412. (20 USC § 1412(a)(16)(A))

5. Ensure that each local educational agency takes steps for its children with disabilities to have available to them the variety of educational programs and services available to nondisabled children in the areas served by the local educational agency, including art, music, industrial arts, consumer and homemaking education, and career and technical education. (34 CFR 300.110)

6. Ensure that each educational program for children with disabilities administered within Virginia: (34 CFR 300.149(a))

a. Is under the general supervision of the persons responsible for educational programs for children with disabilities in Virginia; and

b. Meets the educational standards of the Virginia Department of Education.

In carrying out these requirements with respect to homeless children, the requirements of Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 USC § 11431 et seq.) are met.

7. Prior to the adoption of any policies and procedures to comply with the Act, or submitting a state plan in accordance with the Act, VDOE shall ensure that public hearings are convened, adequate notice of the hearings are provided, and an opportunity for comment is made available to the public, members of the state special education advisory committee, and private special education schools. (34 CFR 300.165)

8. Develop procedures for implementing state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to the education of children with disabilities. (§ 22.1-214 of the Code of Virginia; 34 CFR 300.199 and 34 CFR 300.129)

9. Assist local educational agencies and other participating state agencies in the implementation of state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to LRE requirements by: (34 CFR 300.119)

a. Ensuring that teachers and administrators are fully informed about their responsibilities for implementing LRE requirements; and

b. Providing them with technical assistance and training necessary to assist them in this effort.

10. Ensure that the requirements for LRE are implemented by each local educational agency. If there is evidence that a local educational agency's placements are inconsistent with LRE requirements, the Virginia Department of Education shall: (34 CFR 300.120)

a. Review the local educational agency's justification for its actions; and

b. Assist in planning and implementing any necessary corrective action.

11. Review and evaluate compliance of local educational agencies with state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to the education of children with disabilities and require corrective actions where needed. (34 CFR 300.149, 34 CFR 300.151 and 34 CFR 300.507)

a. Administer a special education due process hearing system that provides procedures for training of special education hearing officers, evaluating special education hearing officers, and management and monitoring of hearings.

b. Maintain and operate a complaint system that provides for the investigation and issuance of findings regarding alleged violations of the educational rights of parents or children with disabilities. Allegations may be made by public or private agencies, individuals or organizations.

12. Establish and implement a mediation process in accordance with the Act. (§ 22.1-214 of the Code of Virginia; (34 CFR 300.506)

13. Review and evaluate compliance of private nonsectarian special education schools that are licensed or have a certificate to operate in order to ensure that each child with a disability placed in the school by a local school division or Comprehensive Services Act team is provided special education and related services at no cost to the parent(s) in conformance with an IEP that meets the requirements of this chapter and meets the standards that apply to education provided by local educational agencies. (34 CFR 300.129, 34 CFR 300.146 and 34 CFR 300.147)

a. Monitor compliance through procedures such as written reports, on-site visits, and parent questionnaires;

b. Provide copies of all Virginia regulations and standards; and

c. Provide an opportunity for these schools to participate in the development and revision of Virginia's regulations that apply to them.

14. Review and evaluate compliance of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind at Staunton to ensure that each child with a disability placed in the school by a local school division is provided special education and related services at no cost to the parent(s) in accordance with an IEP that meets the requirements of this chapter and meets the standards that apply to education provided by local educational agencies. (34 CFR 300.149)

15. Establish and maintain a state special education advisory committee composed of individuals involved in or concerned with the education of children with disabilities. (34 CFR 300.167 through 34 CFR 300.169)

a. Membership. The membership shall consist of individuals appointed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee who are involved in, or concerned with, the education of children with disabilities. The majority shall be individuals with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities (ages birth through 26). Membership shall include one or more of the following:

(1) Parents of children with disabilities (ages birth through 26);

(2) Individuals with disabilities;

(3) Teachers;

(4) Representatives of institutions of higher education that prepare special education and related services personnel;

(5) State and local education officials, including officials who carry out activities under Subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act (42 USC § 11431 et seq.);

(6) Administrators of programs for children with disabilities;

(7) Representatives of other state agencies involved in the financing or delivery of related services to children with disabilities;

(8) Representatives of private schools and public charter schools;

(9) At least one representative of a vocational, community, or business organization concerned with the provision of transition services to children with disabilities;

(10) A representative from Virginia's juvenile and adult corrections agencies; and

(11) A representative from Virginia's child welfare agency responsible for foster care.

b. Duties. The state special education advisory committee shall:

(1) Advise the Virginia Department of Education and the Virginia Board of Education of unmet needs within the state in the education of children with disabilities;

(2) Comment publicly on any rules or regulations proposed by the Virginia Board of Education regarding the education of children with disabilities;

(3) Advise the Virginia Department of Education in developing evaluations and reporting on data to the U.S. Secretary of Education under the Act;

(4) Advise the Virginia Department of Education in developing corrective action plans to address findings identified in federal monitoring reports under the Act;

(5) Advise the Virginia Department of Education in developing and implementing policies relating to the coordination of services for children with disabilities; and

(6) Review the annual plan submitted in accordance with 8VAC20-81-230 B 2 submitted by state-operated programs and the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind at Staunton.

c. Procedures.

(1) The state special education advisory committee shall meet as often as necessary to conduct its business.

(2) By October 1 of each year, the state special education advisory committee shall submit an annual report of committee activities and suggestions to the Virginia Board of Education. The report shall be made available to the public in a manner consistent with other public reporting requirements of Part B of the Act.

(3) Official minutes shall be kept on all committee meetings and shall be made available to the public on request.

(4) All meetings and agenda items shall be publicly announced enough in advance of the meeting to afford interested parties a reasonable opportunity to attend, and meetings shall be open to the public.

(5) Interpreters and other necessary accommodations shall be provided for advisory committee members or participants.

(6) The advisory committee shall serve without compensation, but the Virginia Department of Education shall reimburse the committee for reasonable and necessary expenses for attending meetings and performing duties.

16. Provide a report annually to the state special education advisory committee on the Virginia Department of Education's dispute resolution systems, including information related to due process hearings and decisions. This report and due process hearing decisions, with all personally identifiable information deleted, are made available to the public on the Virginia Department of Education's website. (34 CFR 300.513(d))

17. Establish goals for the performance of children with disabilities that: (34 CFR 300.157(a))

a. Promote the purposes of the Act;

b. Are the same as Virginia's objectives for progress by children in its definition of adequate yearly progress, including Virginia's objectives for progress by children with disabilities, under § 1111(b)(2)(C) of the ESEA, 20 USC § 6311;

c. Address graduation rates and drop out rates, as well as such other factors as Virginia may determine; and

d. Are consistent, to the maximum extent appropriate, with any other goals and academic standards for children as established by Virginia.

18. Establish performance indicators Virginia will use to assess progress toward achieving the goals in subdivision 17 of this section, including measurable annual objectives for progress by children with disabilities under § 1111(b)(2)(C)(v)(II)(cc) of the ESEA, 20 USC § 6311. Annually report to the public and the United States Secretary of Education on the progress of children with disabilities in Virginia, toward meeting the goals described in subdivision 17 of this section, which may include elements of the reports required under § 1111(h) of the ESEA. (34 CFR 300.157(b) and (c))

19. Establish and maintain qualifications to ensure that personnel necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained, including that those personnel have the content knowledge and skills to serve children with disabilities. These requirements include: (34 CFR 300.156(a) through (d))

a. Related services personnel and paraprofessionals. The qualifications shall:

(1) Be consistent with any Virginia-approved or Virginia-recognized certification, licensing, registration, or other comparable requirements that apply to the professional discipline in which those personnel are providing special education or related services;

(2) Ensure that related services personnel who deliver services in their discipline or profession have not had certification or licensure requirements waived on an emergency, temporary, or provisional basis; and

(3) Allow paraprofessionals and assistants who are appropriately trained and supervised, in accordance with state law, regulation, or written policy, in meeting the requirements of this chapter to be used to assist in the provision of special education and related services to children with disabilities.

b. Ensuring that each person employed as a public school special education teacher in Virginia who teaches in an elementary school, middle school, or secondary school is highly qualified as a special education teacher by the deadline established in § 1119(a)(2) of the ESEA.

c. Requiring local educational agencies to take measurable steps to recruit, hire, train, and retain highly qualified personnel to provide special education and related services to children with disabilities.

20. Respond to complaints filed by a parent about staff qualifications as provided for under this chapter. Notwithstanding any other individual right of action that a parent or student may maintain under this chapter, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to create a right of action on behalf of an individual student or a class of students for the failure of the Virginia Department of Education or local educational agency employee to be highly qualified. (34 CFR 300.156(e))

21. Secure agreements with state agency heads regarding appropriate roles and responsibilities for the identification, evaluation, placement, and delivery of or payment for educational and related services in order to ensure that a free appropriate public education is provided to all children with disabilities. The agreements shall address financial responsibility for each nonpublic educational agency for the provision of services. The agreements shall include procedures for resolving interagency disputes and for securing reimbursement from other agencies, including procedures under which local educational agencies may initiate proceedings. (34 CFR 300.154)

22. Disburse the appropriated funds for the education of children with disabilities in Virginia to local school divisions and state-operated programs that are in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations pertaining to the education of children with disabilities. (34 CFR 300.705 and 34 CFR 300.816)

23. Ensure that a practical method is developed and implemented to determine which children, including children with disabilities who are homeless or are wards of the state, are currently receiving needed special education and related services. Report and certify annually to the United States Department of Education the number of children with disabilities in local educational agencies who are receiving special education and related services on a date between October 1 and December 1 of each year determined by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee. The annual report of children served shall meet the provisions of 34 CFR 300.641 through 34 CFR 300.645. (34 CFR 300.111 and 34 CFR 300.640)

24. Ensure that a practical method is developed and implemented to determine if significant disproportionality based on race and ethnicity is occurring in the local educational agencies. This method shall include the collection and examination of data with respect to: (34 CFR 300.646(a) and 34 CFR 300.173)

a. The identification of children as children with disabilities, including the identification of children as children with disabilities in accordance with a particular impairment described in 8VAC20-81-10, "Child with a disability";

b. The placement in particular educational settings of these children; and

c. The incidence, duration, and type of disciplinary actions, including suspensions and expulsions.

25. Ensure that in the case of the determination of significant disproportionality, as outlined in subdivision 24 of this section, the Virginia Department of Education shall: (34 CFR 300.646(b))

a. Review and, if appropriate, provide for the revision of the policies, procedures, and practices used by the local educational agency in the identification or placement to ensure that the policies, procedures, and practices comply with the requirements of this chapter;

b. Require any local educational agency determined to have a significant disproportionality to reserve the maximum amount of funds under this chapter to provide comprehensive coordinated early intervening services to serve children in the local educational agency, particularly, but not exclusively, children in those groups that were significantly overidentified; and

c. Require the local educational agency to publicly report on the revision of policies, practices, and procedures addressing the disproportionality.

26. Establish procedures designed to fully inform parents and children with disabilities of educational rights and due process procedures, and ensure that each local educational agency is informed of its responsibility for ensuring effective implementation of procedural safeguards for the children with disabilities served by that local educational agency. (34 CFR 300.121 and 34 CFR 300.150)

27. Ensure that requirements regarding use of public or private insurance to pay for services required under this chapter are met. (34 CFR 300.154(d) and (e))

28. Ensure that if the Virginia Department of Education provides direct services to children with disabilities, it complies with state and federal requirements as if it is a local educational agency and uses federal funds under Part B of the Act to provide services. (34 CFR 300.175)

a. The Virginia Department of Education may use payments that would otherwise have been available to a local educational agency under Part B of the Act to provide special education services directly to children with disabilities residing in the local school division or served by a state-operated program in accordance with the conditions of the excess cost requirements as outlined in 8VAC20-81-260.

b. The Virginia Department of Education may provide special education and related services in the manner and at the location it considers appropriate, consistent with least restrictive environment requirements.

29. Ensure that children who participate in early intervention services assisted under Part C of the Act and who will participate in preschool programs assisted under Part B of the Act experience a smooth and effective transition to early childhood special education programs in a manner consistent with the Virginia Part C lead agency's early intervention policies and procedures as follows: (34 CFR 300.124)

a. For those children who at age two (on or before September 30) are found eligible for Part B early childhood special education programs, IEPs are developed and implemented for those children; and

b. The local educational agency will participate in transition planning conferences arranged by the designated local Part C early intervention agency.

30. Ensure the protection of the confidentiality of any personally identifiable information collected, maintained, or used under Part B of the Act. This shall include notice to fully inform parents about the confidentiality of information as specified in 34 CFR 300.612, and policies and procedures that are used in the event that parents refuse to provide consent for disclosure of education records. These policies and procedures shall comply with the provisions of 34 CFR 300.612 through 34 CFR 300.626. (34 CFR 300.123 and 34 CFR 300.610)

31. Ensure that a practical method is developed and implemented to: (34 CFR 300.170)

a. Examine data, including data disaggregated by race and ethnicity, to determine if significant discrepancies occur in the rate of long-term suspensions and expulsions with children with disabilities:

(1) Among local educational agencies in Virginia; or

(2) Compared to the rates for nondisabled children within the local school division.

b. Review discrepancies and, if appropriate, require the local educational agency to revise its policies, procedures, and practices relating to the development and implementation of IEPs, the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and procedural safeguards, to ensure that these policies, procedures, and practices comply with the Act.

32. Adopt the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard for the purposes of providing instructional materials to blind persons or other persons with print disabilities. (34 CFR 300.172)

a. Ensure that local educational agencies take all reasonable steps to provide instructional materials in accessible formats to children with disabilities who need those instructional materials at the same time as other children receive instructional materials; and

b. In carrying out the provisions of this subsection, to the maximum extent possible, work collaboratively with the state agency responsible for assistive technology programs.

33. Prohibit the Virginia Department of Education and local educational agency personnel from requiring parents to obtain a prescription for substances identified under Schedule I, II, III, IV, or V in § 202(c) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 USC § 812(c)) for a child as a condition of attending school, receiving an evaluation under this chapter, or receiving services under this chapter. (34 CFR 300.174(a))

34. Monitor, enforce, and provide technical assistance regarding the implementation of the requirements under the Act. These actions include: (34 CFR 300.600 through 34 CFR 300.609; 34 CFR 300.640 through 34 CFR 300.645; 34 CFR 300.149(b) and 34 CFR 300.165(b))

a. Providing the Secretary of Education state performance reports and data collections in accordance with the provisions of 34 CFR 300.600 through 34 CFR 300.602.

b. Taking appropriate enforcement and technical assistance measures to assist local educational agencies in complying with the provisions of the Act in accordance with the provisions of 34 CFR 300.600 through 34 CFR 300.602 and 34 CFR 300.608.

c. Establishing that the focus of Virginia's monitoring activities is on:

(1) Improving educational results and functional outcomes for all children with disabilities; and

(2) Ensuring that public agencies meet the program requirements under Part B of the Act, with a particular emphasis on those requirements that are most closely related to improving educational results for children with disabilities.

d. Using quantifiable indicators and such qualitative indicators as are needed to adequately measure performance in the priority areas identified in 34 CFR 300.600(d), and the indicators established by the U.S. Secretary of Education for the state performance plans.

e. Using the targets established in Virginia's performance plan and the priority areas described in 34 CFR 300.600(d) to analyze the performance of each local educational agency.

f. Following all the reporting requirements under 34 CFR 300.602(b).

g. Notifying the public of the pendency of an enforcement action taken by the U.S. Department of Education pursuant to 34 CFR 300.604.

h. Prohibiting the local educational agency from reducing the local educational agency's maintenance of effort under 34 CFR 300.203 for any fiscal year if the Virginia Department of Education determines that a local educational agency is not meeting the requirements of Part B of the Act, including the targets in Virginia's state performance plan.

35. Ensure each recipient of assistance under Part B of the Act makes positive efforts to employ, and advance in employment, qualified individuals with disabilities in programs assisted under Part B of the Act. (34 CFR 300.177(b))

Statutory Authority

§§ 22.1-16 and 22.1-214 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 25, Issue 21, eff. July 7, 2009; Errata, 26:4 VA.R. 447-448 October 26, 2009; amended, Virginia Register Volume 26, Issue 08, eff. January 25, 2010.

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