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Do you know someone with a disability that may be affecting their learning? Individuals with disabilities have a right to a free appropriate public education. If you have someone in your home or know of someone, birth through 21, who may have a physical, intellectual, emotional, or communication problem, please contact your local public school of residence for assistance.


A recent lawsuit against the California Department of Education (CDE) is impacting all school districts across the state.

In April 2012, two organizations, the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association and the Concerned Parent Association, filed a lawsuit against the CDE alleging widespread, systemic non-compliance by local education agencies with special education laws. The suit also alleges the CDE fails to monitor, investigate and correct such non-compliance in accordance with the law. The CDE denies these allegations and is actively defending the litigation.

Neither the Yolo Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) or any of the school districts in our SELPA were involved in the lawsuit and we were not the subject of any of the suit’s allegations.

Nonetheless, as a part of this lawsuit, CDE has been ordered by the court to release all data it has collected on general and special education students since Jan. 1, 2008.

For more information regarding the release of this data and how you can file an objection with the court to consider not releasing your data, visit: You may also contact the California Department of Education at 916-319-0800.

Frequently Asked Questions About Special Education

1) What is special education? 
Special education is specially designed instruction to meet the needs of children and youth whose educational needs cannot be met with modifications of the regular instructional program. 

2) What are the steps for referral to special education?
Steps to referral:
  1. The referral is made. 
  2. The school district will review the referral
  3. If it is found that additional information is needed, the school district will request your written permission, and an assessment will be initiated. Nothing can happen without your permission.
  4. Assessments will be conducted by the appropriate professionals, i.e., speech therapist, psychologist, special education teacher, etc., who will assess your child's strengths and weaknesses as stated in the referral.
  5. When the assessment is completed, you will receive a phone call or a letter indicating the need to schedule an IEP meeting.
3) Who may make a referral?
Parents, teachers, doctors, community agencies, child study teams, or any concerned citizen may refer a child or youth for special education services by contacting the school or school district's office of Special Education.

4) What do I as a parent or guardian, need to do to help with the referral process?
When your child is first referred to special education, your opinions and concerns are needed. Your questions are important, necessary and welcomed. Please ask them. Communication between you, the parent, and those working with your child is very important. Please respond to any communication from those completing an assessment. Your input will help with a more well-rounded assessment.

5) What is the purpose of the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) meeting?
The purpose of the IEP Meeting is to give you an opportunity to share your concerns with those interested in your child's education. It also includes a description of your child’s present levels of functioning, annual educational goals, a discussion of direct service to your child, and any accommodations or modifications of their school day that may be needed. 

6) What special education services and programs are available?
Special education includes any special education services or programs your child requires to be able to access their curriculum.

7) Who attends the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) team meeting?
Parents, a school administrator, teacher, and the individuals involved with your child's assessment, will be at the IEP meeting. You may wish to bring with you someone to assist you, interpret for you, or represent you.

8) Who is eligible for special education?
Children and youth between the ages of 0 years and 21 years (if not a high school graduate) who meet the state mandated requirements are eligible for special education. 

9) We agree, now what?
When you and the educators agree upon your child's plan for services and programs, you will be asked to sign the IEP, thus giving your consent to begin special education. Once your child receiving special education services, you, as parents and guardians, will be kept informed of your child's progress. The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) will be reviewed annually or at your request or your child's teacher's request. No change will occur without your knowledge and approval.

10) Will my child always be in special education?
Districts re-assess students to determine eligibility for special education every three years. A triennial Individual Education Plan (IEP) team meetings will be held to review assessment results and participants will determine, with your input, whether your child remains eligible for special education. 

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