Parents have until August 1st to notify their school district
Yesterday, Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) posted the official form that parents of Pennsylvania youths aging out special education during the 2021-22 school year must use to enroll for the additional year of public school authorized under Act 55 (House Bill 1642 became Act 55 once signed by Governor Wolf into law). You can access the form here. Parents must complete the form and send it to their school district by no later than August 1, 2022.
PDE also posted guidance for parents and schools, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Many parents will be happy to learn that the Act 55 extension includes Extended School Year (ESY) for 2023, assuming that the student had ESY in their previous IEP. Some parents have reported that their school district had claimed that the final session of ESY was not guaranteed, even though they had always received ESY before. This is not true! Please let us know if your school district has made such a claim.
The FAQs affirm other important elements of the law. For example, the decision to take the additional year is made by the student/parent, not by the IEP team. All protections for the IEP also continue unchanged, including the right to FAPE. And we understand that the current IEP remains in place unless or until it is changed by the IEP team.