S.B. 1259 goes into effect with the start of the 2015-16 school year.  It does three specific things.

First, it specifies that the “regular education teacher” member of the ARDC must “to the extent practicable, be a teacher who is responsible for implementing a portion of the child’s” IEP.  In other words, don’t just pull a random P.E. teacher out of the hall. Get someone there who will be working with the student in the classroom.

Second, it specifies that the written documentation of the ARDC meeting must include the date of the meeting, the name position and signature of each member participating in the meeting, and “an indication of whether the child’s parents, the adult student if applicable, and the administrator agreed or disagreed with the decisions of the committee.”  More on this in a moment.

Third, each member of the committee who disagrees with the IEP developed by the ARDC is entitled to include a statement of disagreement.

We have had a lot of wrangling of late about this “agree or disagree” business.  For many years our rules required “each member’s agreement or disagreement with the committee’s decisions.”  Federal law has no such requirement, but Texas imposed it via 19 T.A.C. 89.1050(e).

This rule was dropped as of January 1, 2015. Thus current rules have no requirement that each member of the group indicate agreement or disagreement.

But now we have a statute that requires a statement of whether or not the parent (or adult student) and the administrator are in agreement with the decisions made.

This makes sense.  The ARD Committee needs to know, at the conclusion of business, whether or not there is an agreement between the school and the parent/adult student.  If there is a disagreement, the parent/adult student has the right to seek legal recourse.  So it is important for the record to reflect clearly whether or not the parent (or adult student) agrees with decisions regarding identification, evaluation, placement and the provision of a FAPE.  The administrator plays a critical role in this because he/she is identified in the regulations as the “representative of the school district.”