A Representative of the School System

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Picture of a woman at a laptop, serving in the role of the representative of the school system.September 2010

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Every IEP team must include a “representative of the public agency” responsible for educating the child in question, according to IDEA. By “public agency,” we’re usually talking about the school system–the local educational agency, for example.

This person must be:

  • qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities;
  • knowledgeable about general education curriculum; and
  • knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency.

The phrase “qualified to provide specially designed instruction” is closely tied to the definition of special education, which begins, “The term special education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability…” [§300.39(a)(1)]

Thus, the representative from the public agency who is serving on the IEP Team must be qualified to provide special education or supervise its provision.

The last bullet is very important, too, as to this person’s qualifications. He or she “must be knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency.” It doesn’t do any good to sit and plan in a vacuum, wondering what type of help is available and if someone will actually commit that help on behalf of the child. The public agency representative must know what resources the school has available. This person must also have the power to commit the resources needed so that services can be provided as described in the child’s IEP and be able to ensure that whatever services are described in the IEP will actually be provided.

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Final Note

IDEA also states that the public agency may designate another public agency member of the IEP Team to also serve as the agency representative, as long as that person has the qualifications required for the public agency representative. Thus, it’s possible that the public agency representative may also be serving on the team in another role.

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Would you like to read about another member of the IEP Team?

If so, use these links to jump there quickly.

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NOTICE: The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) is no longer in operation. Our funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) ended on September 30, 2013. Our website and all its free resources will remain available until September 30, 2014.