education pictures
Decision Number
280
Book
29
Month
March
Year
2020
In RE
Petition for Declaratory Order
Appellant
Keystone AEA
Appellee
Concerning Iowa Code chapters 299 and 299A
Summary

On September 6, 2019, the Iowa Department of Education received a petition for a declaratory order from Keystone Area Education Agency ("Keystone"), pursuant to Iowa Code section 17A.9 (2019). The petition posed five questions. On September 18, 2019, the Department received an answer to Keystone's petition and a petition in intervention, both filed by Hills & Dales Child Development Center ("Hills & Dales"), an Iowa non-profit corporation. On January 15, 2020, the Dubuque Community School District ("Dubuque") joined Keystone's petition. The Department ordered mediation, which was unsuccessful. Oral Argument was held on February 7, 2020.

This action concerns Hills & Dales clients who are also students of the Dubuque Community School District. Some of the students reside at Hills & Dales' residential facility, and others reside with parents. Hills & Dales professionals have an obligation to provide services consistent with physician orders, such as orders for ABA Therapy. Both Dubuque and Keystone have received physician orders or notes excusing Hills & Dales clients from school to receive ABA Therapy.

See the following declaratory rulings.A. Under Iowa Code chapter 299A, is a public agency required to excuse a student for therapy, with or without a physician's excuse?Answer: No. This decision is committed by statute to the school district.B. If a public agency is not required to excuse a student for therapy, when can a public agency be found to have abused its discretion?Answer: Whether a public agency abuses its discretion will be determined by the facts of each case, including the public agency's obligation to comply with applicable law.C. If a public agency does excuse a student for therapy pursuant to a physician's order, can the public agency be found to have denied that student a Free Appropriate Public Education ("FAPE")?Answer: A public agency that excuses a child for therapy may violate the IDEA if the services required by a child's IEP are not provided because the child is being withheld from school for private therapy.

D. For a parent who does not elect competent private instruction ("CPI"), what options are available to the student if their child does not want their student enrolled full time with the public agency?Answer: The student, if compulsory attendance age, is subject to Iowa Code chapter 299. If a parent does not elect CPI and does not otherwise comply with compulsory attendance law, the school may take any available action, including but not limited to action under Iowa Code chapter 299 or action available under its district attendance policies. If the source of the parent's disagreement is with an IEP Team decision, the parent has procedural safeguards available under the IDEA.E. For a student who does not qualify for CPI, which may include students residentially placed in a medical facility, what options are available to the student if the parents do not want their student enrolled full time in the public agency?

Answer: The student, if compulsory attendance age, is subject to Iowa Code chapter 299. If a parent is not able to elect CPI and does not otherwise comply with compulsory attendance law, the school may take any available action, including but not limited to action under Iowa Code chapter 299 or action available under its district attendance policies. If the source of the parent's disagreement is with an IEP Team decision, the parent has procedural safeguards available under the IDEA.