Missouri education department seeks public input on special education services

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA – The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education held a public hearing on proposed changes in state regulations for special education services in Missouri on Tuesday.

Missouri is changing its state plan to comply with new federal guidelines that regulate federal funding for special education services, Jim Morris, the department’s spokesperson said. The federal plan went into effect Dec. 31, 2008. The state already put into practice many of the changes and is now changing the plan to continue to receive federal funds.

The federal plan “provides the guidelines for the schools eligible for funding,” Morris said. The changes are mainly “language clarifications and technical in nature," but won't change the meaning of the guidelines.

Most of the changes are for clarification purposes, but there is a new federal regulation that will allow parents to withdraw their child from special education services with written consent, Jackie Bruner, special education services director, said.

In the past, a team would evaluate the child to decide if special education services should be continued before removal was allowed, Bruner said.

Bruner expected feedback from parents about the new change, but “there has not been much comment about it either way, good or bad,” she said.

The proposed changes will be submitted to the Missouri State Board of Education for final approval after the final public hearing in St. Louis on Jan. 26.

Proposed changes to the state regulations are available at

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Mary Kay Savage January 13, 2010 | 5:37 p.m.

In respect to the public hearing held by DESE on January 12th, 2008 in Columbia, an important issue was raised during the discussion of the written revocation of special education services by the child's parent. In asking for clarification of the wording of this change to the state plan, this question was asked, "if a parent refuses a service, such as Speech Therapy for their child, are they then refusing the child's Individual Education Program (IEP) in it's entirety?" The answer was "yes." This interpretation could lead district's to request the parent's written revocation of the child's IEP. If this is, indeed, the way the change will be applied by districts, it is important for parents to understand that they are not revoking their consent for a singular service but the child's entire education program.
Mary Kay Savage

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