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[Most programs must complete an Evaluation within 60 school days of the parents written request for the Evaluation.- Editors Note]

SPECIAL EDUCATION TIMELINES IN PA (other states are similar)

There are several steps to the PENNSYLVANIA SPECIAL
EDUCATION SYSTEM. Timelines are included in state law to insure
that school districts complete each step promptly. Please note
that some timelines are in calendar days, while others are in
school days; that is, days in which the schools are open.

If you find that your district does not follow a timeline, contact
the special education director and discuss the problem. If you
cannot get your school district to comply, you can file a complaint
with the Division of Compliance, Bureau of Special Education, 333
Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333. In some cases, you may
have the right to receive compensatory services for your child if
the violation is serious.


For children ages 3 to 5:

All evaluations must be completed and a copy of the report given
to the parents within 60 calendar days of the parents’ consent.
The child’s program must be developed within 30 calendar days
after the evaluation report is issued, and must begin within 14
calendar days of the parents’ approval of the program.

Children in the pre-school system must be re-evaluated every two
years, and their program must be reviewed, and, if necessary,
revised, every year.


A student must be fully evaluated and an Evaluation Report issued
to the parents within 60 school days after the parents’ written
consent for an evaluation is received.

The student’s program plan (called an IEP) must be developed
with the parents within 30 calendar days after the evaluation
report is issued.

The child must be placed in the program within 10 school days
after the parents have approved the IEP and Notice of
Recommended Educational Placement.

Youngsters in special education must be re-evaluated every 3
years, and their program must be reviewed, and if necessary
revised, every year. Youngsters with mental retardation must be
re-evaluated every two years.


Parents have the right to request, in writing, a pre-hearing
conference (PHC) at any time they are unhappy with the child’s
evaluation, program or progress. The PHC must be held within 10
calendar days of the school’s receipt of the request.

Parents who cannot resolve their dispute with their school district
at a PHC can request, in writing, an administrative due process
hearing. The hearing must be held within 30 calendar days of the
parents’ request, unless the hearing officer extends the time.

The decision of the hearing officer must be issued within 45
calendar days after parents’ request for the hearing is received.

The State Department of Education, Division of Compliance, has
60 calendar days to investigate and resolve a written complaint
from parents who believe their or their child’s rights under the
special education laws have been violated.

Reprinted from the Education Law Center.

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