From the HSLDA E-lert Service:
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Date:
From:
Subject:

4/3/2002 4:47:42 PM
Dewitt T. Black III, Esq., Senior Counsel of HSLDA
Georgia--Calls Needed on H.B. 1590

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 3, 2002

Dear Georgia Members and Friends,

Your calls to state senators are needed if Georgia is to enact
legislation that would entitle home school students to receive the
same special education services now provided to private school
students. Georgia House Bill 1590 passed the House of Representatives
on March 26, 2002, and is currently in the Senate State and Local
Government Committee. This committee must hold a hearing and vote on
H.B. 1590 in the next few days in order for the bill to have time to
be voted on by the full Senate before the 2002 legislative session
ends. Unless the members of the committee hear from home educators
this week, this bill will probably die without further consideration.

REQUESTED ACTION

Please call the chairman and members of the Senate State and Local
Government Committee, which are listed below, as well as your own
senator and give this message:

"Please vote for House Bill 1590 which will allow home school parents
with special needs children to obtain the same special education
services as private school students."

It is especially important to call if you have ever been refused
special education services from your local school, so that the
senators can see that there is a need for this legislation.

SENATE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE

Senator Nadine Thomas, Chairman - 404-656-0078
Senator Donzella James, Vice Chairman - 404-656-0049
Senator Horacena Tate - 404-463-8053
Senator Mike Beatty - 404-656-0057
Senator Jeff Mullis - 404-463-4514
Senator Rusty Paul - 404-656-7428

To get the name and telephone number of your state senator, use
HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at: http://www.hslda.org/toolbox.

BACKGROUND

Introduced by Representative Lynn Westmoreland, H.B. 1590 would add a
provision to state law that would entitle home school students to
receive the same special education services now provided to private
school students. The bill text is as follows:

"For the purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
20 U.S.C.A. Section 1400, et seq., students enrolled in home study
programs meeting the requirements of Code Section 20-2-690 shall be
deemed to be private school students and shall be provided with the
same special education and related services as students enrolled in
private schools."

The federal courts have left it up to the states to define what a
"private school" is. In Georgia, private schools are in a different
category than home study programs. H.B. 1590 would insure that
students in home study programs are treated the same as private
school students under federal IDEA.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) amendments of
1997 explicitly provide that the local school district must attempt
to locate, identify, and evaluate all children residing in its
district who are suspected of having disabilities. The school
district's obligation, however, is merely to make evaluations
available. If a parent does not consent to the evaluation, then there
is no legal obligation to submit his child to the school district's
testing. As with public school children, following the initial
evaluation, an eligibility determination must be made by a group of
qualified professionals and the child's parents, and this group must
determine whether the child is a "child with a disability" as defined
in IDEA. If a determination is made that the child needs special
education and related services, the general rule is that an
Individualized Education Plan (IEP) must be developed for the child.
Of course, if the parents make clear their intention to educate their
child at home and that they are not interested in a public school
program, the school district need not develop an IEP for the child.
The 1997 amendments to IDEA make clear that a school district is
obligated only to spend federal dollars in providing services to
private school students. A state may expend its own funds, but it is
not obligated to do so. The eligible private school students receive
what is called a "proportionate share" of the federal funding. The
proportionate share is the percentage of eligible private school
students among the school district's total population of eligible
students.

To view a copy of the bill, visit
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=390.

Very truly yours,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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