Compliance Agreement with the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs
By letter dated March 28, 2014 the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) informed the New York State Education Department (NYSED) that it is not in compliance with section 615(g) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)(20 U.S.C. §1415(g)) and 34 C.F.R. §§300.514(b)and 300.515(b). These provisions relate to the requirement that NYSED’s Office of State Review, which is the second-tier in New York’s two-tier special education due process system, render decisions within 30 days. The March 28, 2014 letter suggested that NYSED may be able to enter into a compliance agreement with OSEP which, subject to public hearing, would allow continued IDEA Part B funding to New York based on a specific plan to come into compliance with these regulatory requirements as soon as feasible, but no later than three years.
By letter dated April 9, 2014 NYSED’s Commissioner, John B. King, Jr., requested that NYSED be considered a candidate for a compliance agreement. This letter also: (1) reported that the State was not in compliance with IDEA section 615(g) and 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.514(b) and 300.515(b) since April 2012; (2) identified several reasons why the State is unable to come into compliance within one years required in 34 C.F.R. § 300.600(e) and the Office of Special Education’s (OSEP) Memorandum 09-02, issued on October 17, 2008; and (3) identified current and proposed actions to bring NYSED into compliance with the 30-day timeline requirement in IDEA section 615(g) and 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.514(b) and 300.515(b) within three years.
On July 16, 2014, OSEP conducted two public hearing sessions in New York City, pursuant to section 457 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), 20 U.S.C. §1234f to determine whether it should enter into a compliance agreement with NYSED. Additionally, written public comments on this issue were accepted through July 26, 2014.
NYSED began preparing a proposed work plan to submit to OSEP for consideration and incorporation into a compliance agreement. On September 5, 2014, NYSED submitted a draft of a proposed work plan to OSEP.
By letter dated April 27, 2015, OSEP informed NYSED that after reviewing progress in eliminating the backlog of appeals the Department found that 1) it was feasible that NYSED would come into full compliance in the near future, 2) that pursuant to section 457 of GEPA it would not be appropriate to enter into a compliance agreement, and 3) in the absence of a compliance agreement, NYSED must come into compliance as soon as possible.
On April 29, 2015, NYSED came into 100 percent compliance with the 30-day timeline set forth in 20 U.S.C. §1415(g) and 34 C.F.R. §§300.514(b) and 300.515(b). At OSEP's request NYSED provided OSEP with a status report dated May 4, 2015 demonstrating the timeliness of all pending appeals and no backlogged decisions.
This page will be updated regularly with the Office of State Review’s monthly comparison chart. Copies of OSEP’s March 28, 2014 letter, Commissioner King’s April letter requesting to enter a compliance agreement, OSEP's April 27, 2015 letter, and NYSED's May 4, 2015 status report have been posted with this notice.