Martie and Sheila - need your expertise


Well-Known Member
It is that time in my house - the search for middle school for difficult child. I am totally "turned off" by the middle school system in my city public schools.

In a nutshell, difficult child has la Special Education (serious spelling issues, and lots of writting issues) and math (for small group not lds). Currently, he spends about an hour or so a day in the resource rooms for each of those subjects. Since last year when he became eligible for these services, those rooms have been great for him. His anxiety decreased, his frustration decreased, and he was learning.

In our school district, middle school does not really have the whole resource room system. However, the next county over does. They have a wonderful Special Education program. This happens to be the school system where easy child attends high school.

If the school has space, you can apply for a "out of zone tuition" spot.

This would be one of the major options for difficult child. While the thought of him attending such a large school enviornment is a little frightening (especially given his axiety), I know this public school system would be better than mine in the city. Other than that, it's pretty much home schooling as most of the private schools that offer SLD or ED support are step programs to return the kids eventually to public school or they cost 20K a year.

My question, what happens to an IEP when a child changes school districts? I was going to call the superintendent of schools there and set up a meeting. I thought to take difficult child's Va SOL results and his last two year report cards. I want to be honest about the IEP, but not sure how the other school zone looks at having kids with special needs as tuition students. I was going to make my appeal as a mother concerned about her son in the city public school system who has been extremely impressed by the education and school enviornment my daughter has experienced in the county.

Do the services in his current IEP transfer to another school system? I know you don't know the school system, but what do you think my chances are in arm wrestling my son in :grin:??




Regarding IEPs transferring. From IDEA 2004 @ :

(e) IEPs for children who transfer
public agencies in the same State.

If a child with a disability (who had an IEP
that was in effect in a previous public
agency in the same State) transfers to a
new public agency in the same State,
and enrolls in a new school within the
same school year, the new public
agency (in consultation with the
parents) must provide FAPE to the child
(including services comparable to those
described in the child’s IEP from the
previous public agency), until the new
public agency either—
(1) Adopts the child’s IEP from the
previous public agency; or
(2) Develops, adopts, and implements
a new IEP that meets the applicable
requirements in §§ 300.320 through

You'll have to check your state regs for additional info. For instance, in our State, the new LEA would have to follow the old IEP until an IEP meeting is held in the new district -- which is what the Fed reg above says. But, I remember seeing some type of 30 day timeline involved in TX regs. I can't recall off the top of my head the context of the "30 days."

Same for info specific to transfers of students without IEPs -- ck your state regs for fine print.

Kids with IEPs "cost more" to educate than regular students so I can see where a new school district would want to discourage sp ed students from arbitrarily transferring in. However, this practice could be discrimination if all other students are accepted or there is a "first come, first served" basis for admission. (Section 504 should kick-in in these type instances in my opinion.)

I'd be interested in knowing how this works out. Let us know.

And good luck!



How are your SD organized that your daughter is already in the SD you want? Is the HS district bigger (larger geographic area), or is she using a different address?

That is a crucial peice of information that I can't figure out from your post. Where I live, we have separate EL and HS districts administratively but the geographical boundries are the same, except the HS encompasses several different EL districts.

What I am driving at (unclearly) is that if it is a "tuition" situation, who pays tuition? You or the sending school district? Sometimes if a SD doen't want to provide a particular service the will pay another district to provide.

I have more questions than answers--but I think I could offer a better response if I understood the organization of the SDs.



Well-Known Member

I live in the City. The city's public schools are independent of each surrounding county. Our city schools are sparadic in their quality. We have pockets of higher income areas which often translates to a more involved pta, etc., which results in a higher quality school. difficult child happens to be in one of the best elementary schools in our city.

The middle and high school choices are pretty dim. easy child had attended private Christian schools (just as difficult child did at the beginning - then I woke up realized he was not a little soilder that was fitting in that box!) since preschool. When it came to high school choices, none of the city public were options. So, she applied to two private schools and also made an application for a "out of zone tuition paid" spot in the county. This country has the best schools around and this high school is totally equipped as it is only 3 years open. Basically we had to go through the application process. She applied, applicatoins were returned dated and timed. She happen to make the second cut of 5 kids being considered (due to the timing of her application). We then had to send her transcripts for the school board office to look at. Then she was accepted and we pay what the county pays to educate the "average" kid in high school - $4,300. And, trust me, that's extremely reasonable for the education she is being afforded!

Fortunately, they also build a new middle school right next door to the high school who, at this time, still has open spots. That is what I am considering for difficult child.

However, I wonder how the school district will look at a kid with an IEP.

Hope that answers your question - it's long enough!!



Not to worry, Sharon. As Suz said, I never wrote a short post.

I have no idea how the school will regard a child with an IEP BUT, if you are still within the public sector, you have a complicated situation because you can not pay for IEP services even if you want to. "Free" appropriate public education means free to parent. Here is a student attends a school as your easy child does, there is no tuition charge--it's just that the spaces are very limited. There is not a legal barrier, however, to paying tution for a non-IEP student.

I agree with Sheila that you could have and ADA or 504 claim if difficult child is denied admission on the basis of disability. However, with so few spaces available, they might be able to "cook up" another reason. However, they might not, because your difficult child, like mine, is in two protected categories and his needs are well controlled, so they might want him as a "number" in one column or the other.

For example, charter schools must accept a certain percentage of students who are categorized as disabled under IDEA. In IL, charter schools do their very best to accept the disabled kids who are the least problematic, least expensive and have the most supportive parents. If the system is similar, the above factors could work FOR you.

Maybe not--but it's a thought. I would be nice in approaching them but also very knowledgeable of difficult child's rights in both categories. It's a thin line a warrior mom walks.



Well-Known Member

I actually emailed the Insructional Specialist with the county today (she is the one we went through for easy child's tuition placement). I just asked a simple question - I have a child in a out of zone tuition spot in high school and would like to consider the same for middle school next year. Are there any slots. She answered that she felt there would be spaces available, I would have to go through the regular application process in January, but that preference is given to siblings. So perhaps that final statement could be my golden egg, so to speak.

If I remember correctly, the initial application is very limited - name of student and parent, current address, school desired and grade level. There was however, a box to check for "student has an IEP".

Waiting to apply till January and not having an answer until early March (or last week in Feb if I remember correctly) doesn't really leave a lot of time for other alternatives - other than homeschooling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the help guys. I'll keep you posted.