Does every member of the ARD Committee have to agree or disagree with the decisions made at the meeting?

For as long as I can remember, Texas has required each member of the ARD Committee to indicate whether he or she agrees or disagrees with the decisions made at the meeting.  IEP forms used by school districts accommodated this requirement by including an “agree/disagree” check box next to the name of each of the required members of the Committee.

As of January of this year, this changed.  The Commissioner adopted new rules that dropped the “agree/disagree” requirement.  ARD procedures are spelled out at 19 T.A.C. 89.1050, and they no longer require the “agree/disagree” from each member.

But hold on.  Now there is a bill pending in the legislature (HB 3991) that would go back to the old way of doing business.

Out of curiosity I put out a question on the Council of School Attorneys’ website asking how other states handle this issue. I was informed that Oklahoma and Nebraska require each member of the IEP Team to agree or disagree. But there is no such requirement in Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Oregon or Utah.

What difference does it make?  Not a lot.  But if Texas wants to keep its procedures pared down to only what the feds require, it should not re-impose this requirement.  Federal law spells out who is supposed to be at the ARDC meeting, but does not require each individual to signify an agreement or disagreement with each decision.  The only time the IDEA speaks of each member “agreeing or disagreeing” is in connection with the report of the “group of qualified professionals” considering whether or not a child has a learning disability.  34 CFR 300.311(b).

It’s an obscure issue, but our special education laws specialize in micro-management. Thus the beat goes on. Keep an eye on HB 3991.