Murray, 012516 CTAGO, AGO 2016-1

Docket Nº:AGO 2016-1
Case Date:January 25, 2016
Morna A. Murray, Commissioner
AGO 2016-1
No. 2016-01
Connecticut Attorney General Opinions
Office of The Attorney General State of Connecticut
January 25, 2016
         Morna A. Murray, Commissioner          Connecticut Department of Developmental Services          460 Capitol A venue          Hartford, CT 06106          Dear Commissioner Murray:          In a memorandum from your agency's Director of Legal & Governmental Affairs, written on your behalf, you have inquired about the responsibility of local school districts to provide and pay for residential services when such residential services are necessary for a developmentally delayed, school aged student to receive an appropriate education if the student is receiving servicesfrom the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services ("DDS").          The answer to your question is found in the general policy determinations of our Legislature as reflected in our general statutes. Therefore, we review those statutes and the cases interpreting them as a way to address your question.          Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-76d codifies the legal obligations of school districts to provide and pay for the special education programming needed for disabled students in their respective public schools, subject to certain state statutmy reimbursements for paiticular programs and costs (see, e.g., Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-76g). This detailed statutory scheme, set forth in Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 10-76a through 10-76h, is consonant and compliant with the federal special education law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U .S.C. § 1400 et. seq. ("IDEA") and its underlying regulations, as reflected in the full approval status of Connecticut IDEA Part B plan by the United States Department of Education.[1]          Under Connecticut's statutory scheme, local school districts (referred to as "local education agencies" ("LEAs") under the IDEA; 20 U.S.C. § 1401(19)) bear the legal obligation to provide the necessary "special education" (specially designed instruction (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-76a(4)) and "related services" (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-76a(7)) to enable a child to attain educational progress. Collectively, this concept of necessary special education and possible related services designed to enable a child to obtain education benefit, is referred to as a "free and appropriate public education" ("FAPE"). 20 U.S.C. § 1401(9). LEA "planning and placement teams" ("PPTs"), whose makeup is mandated by law, must make individualized, fact based determinations as to whether a child is in need of special education (which may include related services (20 U.S.C. § 1401(26)), and if so, what those special education (e.g., modified instructional goals and strategies) and possible related services should be. A parent or...

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