District Responsibilities for the IEA Program
School districts have five main responsibilities for students who reside in the district and are enrolled in the IEA Program.
If you have questions about the IEA Program, please contact IEA.Questions@tn.gov. Answers to frequently asked questions are available here.
Responsibility 1: Appoint an IEA liaison for the school district
Parents/guardians of students participating in the IEA Program must notify the IEA liaison in the school district in which the student resides that the student is enrolling in the IEA Program before Aug. 1 of the IEA Account Holder Contract year. Each district selects their IEA liaison. The list of IEA liaisons is posted on the IEA webpage. Districts can update/change the IEA liaison information by emailing IEA.Questions@tn.gov
For additional support in reviewing all aspects of your Individualized Education Account Program options, contact the parent center in your region or local advocacy organization.
Responsibility 2: Change the student's eligibility status in Easy IEP
The TDOE will provide school districts a list of which students have completed the enrollment process for the IEA Program for that school year by Aug. 1. If the student’s name is on that list, and if the parent, or student who has reached the age of majority, has notified their IEA LEA Liaison of the student’s enrollment in IEA (which they are required to do by Aug. 1), special education personnel in the school district must update the student's eligibility status in Easy IEP. This change should be effective on Aug. 1. To do this, special education personnel should generate an eligibility report- not eligible, reflecting the following option: "The student is eligible for special education because he/she meets the State of Tennessee eligibility standards for [disability]; however, the student's parent/guardian is declining services. The student will not receive special education or related services." There is no need to hold an IEP meeting to obtain signatures; however special education personnel must indicate in the student's "Notes" section of Easy IEP that the student has been enrolled in the IEA Program.
If a student is renewing his or her IEA for the next school year, the district will not need to repeat this step.
Pursuant to 34 CFR § 300.300(b)(4)(i), the school district must provide prior written notice in accordance with 34 CFR § 300.503 before ceasing the provision of special education and related services subsequent to a parent's written revocation of consent for special education and related services.
Responsibility 3: Report students enrolled in the IEA Program in EIS
For the purpose of funding calculations, each eligible student who participates in the IEA Program must be counted in the enrollment figures for the school district in which the student resides and is zoned to attend.
Each year, school districts must report all students (both students new to the IEA Program and the students who are renewing their IEA) enrolled in the IEA Program in the Education Information System (EIS) using the classification code '8'. Districts must report students in full-time attendance using the course code for the IEA Program 9696. Districts should report students in attendance at the public school the student is zoned to attend. For more information on reporting students in EIS and SIS, see the 'IEA EIS & SIS Guide.'
Responsibility 4: Re-enroll students in the school district and conduct an initial evaluation for services if requested by the parent/guardian
Students can withdraw from the IEA Program at any time. If a student withdraws, they are still considered either a home school or private school student unless/until the parent chooses to enroll the student in a public school.
If a student withdraws from the IEA Program, parents must:
- notify the department and the school district in which the student resides, and
- report to the department which school the student will attend, including return to the public school district.
If the student returns to the school district and if the parent or student requests, in writing, an evaluation for eligibility pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the school district shall treat the request as a request for an initial evaluation under 34 C.F.R. § 300.301. School districts will begin receiving BEP funding for students who withdraw from the IEA Program the day students enroll in the district and the district begins reporting the students using the appropriate attendance code in EIS.
The Child Find responsibility of the district continues upon a student's return to the LEA.
Responsibility 5: Administer TCAP Assessments to Independent Home School Students Receiving IEAs
The state IEA law has testing requirements for students enrolled in the IEA Program. These testing requirements are in addition to, but do not replace, the testing requirements for independent home-school students in state law. The state IEA law requires students to test in English language arts (ELA) and math in grades 3-8 (parents can have their child take either a norm-referenced test approved by the department or the state TCAP assessments), and the state home-school law requires students to test in grades 5, 7, and 9. Students with disabilities who would have participated in the alternate assessment, as determined on the student's IEP, are exempt from the IEA testing requirement, but are not exempt from the testing requirements in the state home-school law.
School districts must administer state TCAP assessments to independent home-school students, if requested by the parent, if the students:
- Are in grades 3-9,
- Receive an IEA, and
- Reside in the LEA.
If the parent decides to test using TCAP, students in the IEA Program must take the regular TCAP assessment, because their parents have waived their IDEA rights; students in the IEA Program would not be eligible to take the TCAP alternative assessment or receive testing accommodations on the regular TCAP. Students who receive IEAs cannot be medically exempt from the IEA testing requirements in state law. Districts must still follow Section 504 regarding accessibility to state assessments. The department encourages, but does not require, school staff to meet with the parent and student prior to the assessment to discuss who the child is, how they are best reinforced, and any special considerations (such as needing a break or environmental preferences).
If a school district administers a TCAP assessment to an independent home-school student who is enrolled in the IEA Program, the district should follow the IEA instructions in the Test Administration Manual.
For more information on IEA Program testing requirements, please see the IEA Parent Handbook.
For more information on independent home-school testing requirements, please see the department's home-school webpage.