The New Jersey Department of Education recently issued a memorandum providing guidance to school districts, students, and parents/guardians of students with disabilities regarding implementation of P.L.2021, c.109, which allows schools to provide additional or compensatory special education and related services to eligible students with disabilities beyond the age of 21.
The law requires boards of education to offer up to one year of additional or compensatory special education and related services, including transition services, to students with disabilities if a determination is made by the student’s individualized education program team and the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) that the student requires such additional or compensatory special education and related services. As P.L.2021, c.109 went into effect in June 2021, this law impacts students with disabilities who exceed, or will exceed the current age of eligibility for special education and related services (21 years old) in the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years.
The law does not guarantee that all students exceeding their eligibility will receive additional or compensatory services. Rather, the law makes clear that it is the role of the student’s IEP team, which consists of the student, the student’s parent/guardian, the student’s teachers, related service providers and other representatives from the student’s school district, to determine if the student requires additional or compensatory special education and related services. The IEP team is responsible for determining the type, frequency and location of additional or compensatory special education and related services.
The memorandum provides additional information for local educational agencies, including deadlines that families must meet and the need for districts to discuss compensatory services for every student with a disability. The memorandum also includes insights on resolving disputes with parents and guardians and information on reimbursement.