Last year, the General Assembly enacted several pieces of legislation that require school districts to provide parents of students receiving special education services with certain resources created by the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE). One piece of legislation, Section 45 of Public Act 23-137, required SDE’s Mediation Services Coordinator to, among other things, “[c]reate a brief notice of the availability of mediation services suitable to be read out loud during a planning and placement team meeting” that includes a link to a “plain language resource” explaining the mediation process. Section 39 of that Act, in turn, requires school districts to provide that notice to parents of students receiving special education services at the beginning of each school year and “read such notice out loud at the conclusion of the first planning and placement team meeting at the beginning of each school year.”
On January 25, 2024, SDE issued a memorandum informing all public school districts that effective immediately, all districts must read aloud and distribute the following notice at PPT meetings:
“The procedural safeguards explain student and parent rights under IDEA and identify dispute-resolution options, including the right to voluntarily engage in mediation.” A Parent’s Guide to Special Education 2021 (ct.gov)
School districts will want to ensure that those chairing PPT meetings add this oral statement and the provision of this notice, including the accompanying link to the plain language resource, to the applicable PPT agenda to comply with this new obligation. Teams may also wish to counterbalance this new requirement by emphasizing the importance of the collaborative nature of the PPT process and the district’s commitment to partner with parents to develop appropriate programming for their children.