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11/9/2012 8:27:00 AM
MEMORANDUM NO: 004-2012-13 - House Bill 2283

To: Superintendents, Principals, and Special Education Directors

From: Rob S. Saxton, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction;
Petrea Hagen- Gilden, Interim Assistant Superintendent, Student Learning & Partnerships;
Heidi Sipe, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Improvement & Innovation

Re: House Bill 2283

In 2011 the legislature passed HB 2283, which altered the definition of a school day for specific students. This law, which was an amendment to ORS 329.451, applies to students with disabilities who have received a modified diploma, an extended diploma or an alternative certificate. It allows those students to continue in school through age 21 and obligates school districts to provide a school day for them that is the same length as is provided to students in public high school.

Decisions about these students’ instructional days are put in the hands of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. The program designed may include transition services and activities, related services, specially designed instruction, and instruction in regular education settings. Services that are provided by other agencies, such as Vocational Rehabilitation Services, that are coordinated by the IEP team, may be included in the total hours. The law does not specify that all of the hours must consist of instruction and services intended to meet the student’s special education needs.

As always, the IEP team may decide that a full day of school is not appropriate for a child. The law specifies that the team take into account the student’s needs and performance level in making this decision. Factors such as health, stamina, and student preference to participate in other activities may be considered.

Further, a district may not “unilaterally decrease” the total number of hours of instruction and services to which the student has access. If the team decides not to provide a full day for such a student, the district must provide written notice of its obligation to the parent.

It has come to our attention that some districts are not providing full day programs for these students, or for certain classes of these students. Three points are important for districts to consider regarding this requirement.

1. The obligation to provide a full day of school to these students is a Division 22 Standard and is required by state law. The Deputy Superintendent may find districts that fail to provide those programs to be “non-standard,” requiring remediation of that practice.

2. Offering a full-day program to certain students, such as those working on a GED or seeking a standard diploma, and not others, such as students with more significant disabilities, based on the severity of their disability, would constitute discrimination based on disability.

3. We suggest that when making decisions about individual students, IEP teams use as a point of reference the student’s length of day in the period preceding the awarding of any certificate or diploma. School districts that make decisions based on their current or customary practice of offering a partial day program, rather than the determinations of an IEP team, may be found in violation of IDEA requirements.

If you have questions about these requirements, you are encouraged to contact any one of us.

Rob S. Saxton
Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction
deputy.saxton@state.or.us

Heidi Sipe, Ed.S.
Assistant Superintendent
Office of Educational Improvement & Innovation
Heidi.Sipe@state.or.us

Petrea Hagen-Gilden
Interim Assistant Superintendent
Office of Student Learning & Partnerships
Petrea.Hagen-Gilden@state.or.us

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