Making the transition from 504 to IDEA….

The FAQs published by T.E.A. on August 3rd addressing HB 3928 are a must-read for Special Ed Types.  Yesterday, we talked about the Big News—the elimination of 504 as a way of providing instructional services to address dyslexia.  Today, we focus on how to make the transition with the many students who are currently on a 504 plan. 

It’s directly addressed in Q7 in the FAQs. 

Q7:  What about students who currently receive evidence-based dyslexia programs through an accommodation plan under Section 504?

We can summarize the response in four points.

First, schools cannot unilaterally move students from 504 to IDEA. So we don’t want to see any directives from Central Office declaring that “all students who have dyslexia and are on a 504 plan are hereby moved into an IEP under IDEA.” Nope. That won’t do.   Nor can the school order that 504 services will cease until the kids get properly moved into IDEA-Land. This is a transition that will take some thought, planning, and time.  And meetings. That’s our second point.

Second, we need to have a 504 meeting for each student who is currently receiving “evidence-based dyslexia” services through a 504 plan.  The FAQ instructs us to have these meetings ASAP, but then gives a very generous definition of ASAP:

…TEA anticipates that each LEA should hold a Section 504 meeting as soon as possible but no later than the end of the 2024-25 school year to determine whether the student continues to require an evidence-based dyslexia program. 

Third, if the result of that meeting is that the student continues to need an “evidence-based dyslexia program” the district must refer the student for an FIIE.  If the parent refuses to consent to that “the LEA has the option of using due process and/or mediation to seek consent to evaluate.”

Fourth, the FAQ offers suggestions on how to prioritize. Top priority goes to those students “the LEA initially declined to evaluate under IDEA, as well as those students who are not progressing appropriately…”

To emphasize the difference between 504 and IDEA services T.E.A. will be publishing a form “explaining the rights under IDEA that may be additional to those under Section 504.”  Schools are required to give parents a copy of this form as well as the standard-issue Notice of Procedural Safeguards when a referral is made based on concerns over dyslexia.  That’s two forms that will need to be given to parents when dyslexia is in play as opposed to the one form that we use with all other suspected disabilities.  The new form “will be available soon.”  We can call it “The IDEA is Better Than 504” form. 

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at a few other specifics of the new law as outlined in the FAQs. 


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Tomorrow: HB 3928 continued….