Pennsylvania Parents and Caregivers Resource Network

 
Comparison of IDEA and 504
Issues Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act
Federal Regs http://www.elc-pa.org/504regs.htm http://www.ideapractices.org/law/index.php
PA Regulation Chapter 15 * Chapter 14**
Type & Purpose Civil Right law to prohibit discrimination based upon disability in any program receiving federal funding. Education act to provide federal financial assistance to state and local education agencies to guarantee special education and related services to eligible children with disabilities.
Eligibility Has or has had a physical or mental disability that substantially limits a major life activity. Can use medical documentation. Has one of the disabilities listed in the law and requires specially designed instruction to make reasonable progress. Determined through a multidisciplinary team evaluation.
Evaluations Conducted by people familiar with child and their condition. Parental participation is not included in regulations as requirement. Specific membership on evaluation team, depending upon suspected disability and including parents, is dictated by regulations.
Funding No additional funding for providing services. Districts receive additional funding from State Department of Education for eligible students.
Administrator 504 Coordinator appointed by district. Special Education Director
Responsibility General education but shared with special education. Special education but shared with regular education.
Service Tool Service Agreement Individualized Education Plan
FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education) Through accommodations and modifications student receives an education that is comparable to the education provided to non-disabled students. Through the use of specially designed instruction and related services as described in IEP, the program is designed to provide the student with educational benefit and allow them to make reasonable progress.
Special vs. General Ed. Regular education with support, as needed, from special education. Special and regular education should work collaboratively.
Enforcement Office of Civil Rights, regional office: Philadelphia. Must be filed, in writing, within 180 days of when the violation occurred. Division of Compliance, State Department of Education, Harrisburg A written report must be issued by DOC within 60 calendar days.
General Notice District must include notice of non-discrimination in its parent, student, and employee handbooks including the designated 504 coordinator(s). Requires distribution of parental rights at several points in the process.
Notice & Consent Requires written notice before any significant change in placement. Consent not required but if a disabling condition under IDEA is suspected, those regulations must be followed. Notice provisions are much more comprehensive and specify what information the notice must provide. Written notice is required before any change in placement . Consent for initial evaluations and placements is required.***
Childfind Notices and activities required in public and private schools Notices and activities required in public and private schools.
Mediation Not required but should always be suggested. Not required but should always be suggested.
Due Process Districts must arrange for impartial hearings through the Office of Dispute Resolution, 1-800-222-3353, 1-800-992-4334; TTY 1-800-654-5984, when there is a disagreement because of identification, evaluation or placement of student or the provision of FAPE. Either parents or districts may initiate hearings.
Parents have an opportunity to participate and be represented by legal counsel.
Pre-hearing may be requested to attempt to resolve issues prior to hearing.
Districts must arrange for impartial hearings through the Office of Dispute Resolution, 1-800-222-3353, 1-800-992-4334; TTY 1-800-654-5984, when there is a disagreement because of identification, evaluation or placement of student or the provision of FAPE. Either parents or districts may initiate hearings.
Parents have an opportunity to participate and be represented by legal counsel.
Exhaustion Administrative hearing is not required prior to court action. Administrative hearing and appeal must be completed prior to court action.
Enforcement Enforced by U.S. Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Part of the US. Department of Education. Regional office located in Philadelphia can be reached by calling: 215-656-8541
FAX: 215-656-8605
TDD: 215-656-8604
Email: OCR_Philadelphia@ed.gov
Enforced by U.S. Office of Special Education Programs. Compliance is monitored by PA Department of Education which must issue a written report of their investigation within 60 days of filing complaint. Call Consultline, 1-800-879-2301, to discuss your issue and request a complaint form.

The preceeding information describes the two main legal bases for students with disabilities. Whenever a student is evaluated for special education and found to be disabled but not needing specially designed instruction, a consideration of 504 eligibility should occur. In addition, 504 protections may be part of IEP's and should be discussed in IEP team meetings.

* http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/022/chapter15/chap15toc.html

** http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/022/chapter14/chap14toc.html

*** While a district can seek hearing officer's order to conduct an initial evaluation, it may not do so to order initial special education placement.

Prepared for PA Parents and Caregivers Resource Network by R. Landsman - Parents Exchange 6/03
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