At times, a student with a disability may not be found eligible for an Individualized Educational Program and may be offered a service agreement. This agreement would include accommodations in the general education classroom. The federal regulations for this agreement would be under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In Pennsylvania, Title 22 Chapter 15 of the PA State Code of Regulations apply for these students as well.
34 CFR, Part 104: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Handicap in Programs and Activities (automatically set to Subpart D: Preschool, Elementary, and Secondary Education) – Click here for 34 CFR, Part 104
A child can be referred for evaluation of protected handicapped status either by the school district or the parents of the child. If the parents are requesting an evaluation, their request needs to be presented to the school district in writing. If the school district is requesting an evaluation, then a written notice must be sent to the parents. Any pertinent information needed to make the decision, including medical records, needs to be presented to the school district.
If the parents and the LEA agree that the student needs to have a service agreement, then the service agreement is written and executed by a representative of the LEA and one or both parents. The service agreement must specify the related aids, services, and accommodations that the student will receive, and the date the services will begin and end. If appropriate, a service agreement should also identify procedures to occur in the event the student has a medical emergency.
Parents at any time may file a written request for an informal conference with the school district to discuss the identification or evaluation of a student, or the student’s need for related aid, service or accommodation. Within 10 school days of receipt of the request, the school district shall convene an informal conference. (Chapter 15.8 (c))
While different from an IEP, a service agreement has similar dispute resolution options as an IEP. Mediation and due process hearing may be requested when either the parent or school district is in disagreement. The Bureau of Special Education complaint process may also be used when the service agreement is not being followed or the school district did not comply with the procedures outlined in Chapter 15.
References: Basic Education Circular Implementation of Chapter 15 (2009); Protected Handicapped Students 22 Pa. Code Chapter 15