Amendments to the Illinois School Code went into effect on August 20, 2018, regarding the identification, evaluation, and placement of children for special education services. The legislature amended the code by adding that in addition to the already-existing IEP requirements a child’s IEP team is now required to notify parents or guardians of any assistive technology that the student may be eligible to receive. Specifically, the IEP team must provide written notification to parents and/or guardians informing them that the team will assess if the student requires any assistive technology, and they must also provide a toll-free telephone number and internet address where parents can locate information on the assistive technology program.
Additionally, the legislature added new IEP drafting requirements for Chicago Public Schools. The amendments require that schools must provide parents or guardians written notice within 10 days of an IEP meeting of what services require specific data collection and the notice must indicate, with a checkmark, whether that data has been collected. The amendment specifically indicates that paraprofessional support, an extended school year, transportation, therapeutic day school, and services for specific learning disabilities must be included in the notice. Further, schools must provide parents with an IEP draft, which contains all the required elements of an IEP, within 5 days of the IEP meeting. Additionally, the State Board of Education may create a hotline for parental complaints of special education services. All complaints received through the hotline would be registered and recorded. Finally, CPS cannot delay nor change or delete any services on a student’s IEP plan without approval by the program team.