Illinois General Assembly Eases IEP Administrative Burdens

May 26, 2020

by Merry Rhoades

The Illinois General Assembly, at its May 22, 2020 Special Session, relieved administrative burdens on special educators.  Below is a summary of changes to Sections 14-8.02f and 14-8.02h of the Illinois School Code:

Changes to Section 14-8.02f

  • Starting July 1, 2020, any evaluation report or data collected to be considered at an eligibility meeting or IEP review meeting is to be provided 3 school days prior to the scheduled IEP meeting. For a student previously determined eligible, the written materials are to include the IEP components to be discussed at the eligibility or IEP review meeting. Parents can choose a method of delivery of the documents, but the options must include regular mail and picking up the materials at school.
  • Prior to an eligibility or IEP review meeting, parents are to be provided notice of the right to review and copy school student records prior to the meeting.
  • Parent request is required to access logs that record the delivery of related services. Related service is defined as: speech and language services, occupational therapy services, physical therapy services, school social work services, school counseling services, school psychology services, and school nursing services.
  • If a related service is not initiated by 10 school days after the implementation date, notification is to be provided to parents within 3 school days. This notice is to include information about the district’s procedures for requesting compensatory services.
  • If a student is not available for a related service, it is not considered as a missed day of service.

Changes to Section 14-8.02h

  • Makes a slight but important change to the definition of MTSS. MTSS is defined as “a tiered process of appropriate instruction and support that utilizes differentiated instructional strategies for students, provides students with an evidence-based curriculum and interventions aligned with State standards, continuously monitors student performance using scientific research-based progress monitory instructions and makes data-driven educational decisions based on a student’s response to interventions.”
  • Removes the reference to “scientific, research-based” () and replaces it with “an evidence-based curriculum.”
  • Removes reference to considering “scientific, research-based intervention” or MTSS when considering eligibility for special education services.
  • When implementing RtI or MTSS supports, parents are to be provided notice of the student’s participation.
  • A district can but is not required to include a parent as a part of the RtI or MTSS collaborative process.

We will continue to monitor this legislation as it heads to the Governor’s desk for signature. If you have questions about the changes to Article 14 of the Illinois School Code, please contact an Illinois Education Team attorney.

Merry Rhoades has more than 30 years of experience representing Illinois public education institutions.   Because of her 30-plus years of experience, she has key insights regarding the day-to-day operation of a school district ranging from board governance matters to board policy matters to student matters to special education matters. She is an active member of several school related organizations and serves as a member of the Illinois Council of School Attorneys Executive Committee and also the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) PRESS advisory committee.

Illinois Education – Tueth Keeney is proud to be one of the state’s largest Illinois education law practices. The firm has one of the most experienced groups of attorneys in Central and Southern Illinois dedicated to serving public schools. We regularly represent nearly 150 public school districts, including many districts in Central and Southern Illinois. Our Firm is also regularly appointed by insurers of educational institutions to represent districts in complex or difficult cases involving school or civil rights laws.