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Commissioner's Weekly Update - June 23, 2017

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to Meet:

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 27 in Malden. Agenda items include: a vote on the designation process for early college programs, a report from the Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Students, a vote on proposed amendments to licensure regulations, and the commissioner's annual performance evaluation.

Proportionate Share:

On June 22, 2017, special education directors and school business officials received an email from Senior Associate Commissioner Russell Johnston in his capacity as state director of special education regarding proportionate share calculations for school year expenditures. Districts must submit proportionate share calculations and expenditure forms annually to ESE. Beginning in FY18, all districts must submit the required proportionate share forms with the grant application for IDEA Part B (Fund Code 240). The new grant application will be available in July. Before submitting the FY18 Fund Code 240 application, all districts must take the following steps: 1) Recalculate proportionate share for FY17, based on the child count conducted October 1 – December 1, 2015, and 2) Calculate proportionate share for FY18, based on the child count conducted October 1 - December 1, 2016.

New Advisory on Special Education Law:

The Department recently posted an advisory on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1, the March 2017 U.S. Supreme Court decision on the standard for individualized education programs (IEPs) under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The unanimous decision held: "To meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances" (emphasis added). The Court rejected the less demanding standard - "merely more than de minimis" educational benefit - that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit had applied in this case, which arose in Colorado. The Supreme Court's ruling should not be a major shift for special education law in Massachusetts, but it is an important reminder about the duty to provide for every student in special education an IEP that is "appropriately ambitious" in light of the student's circumstances and to give every student with disabilities "the chance to meet challenging objectives," as stated in the opinion.

For Your Info:

Subscriber Information: Superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals, and charter school leaders will receive the update automatically. For others wishing to subscribe, send an email to with the following information in the body of the email: subscribe ESEUpdate Your Name. (Example: subscribe ESEUpdate John Smith) Leave the subject line blank. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with the following information in the body: unsubscribe ESEUpdate Your Name. (Example: unsubscribe ESEUpdate John Smith)

Last Updated: June 23, 2017
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