Department guidance on annual review of IEPs

The Maine Unified Special Education Regulation (MUSER) requires that the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Team review a child’s IEP no less than annually.

The Maine DOE interprets this requirement to mean that the period during which an IEP is in effect must end no later than 364 days from the date of the IEP Team meeting at which the IEP was developed (the annual review). This is true even when the IEP is not scheduled to go into effect until some weeks or months after it is developed, even though that results in the effective period of the IEP being less than one full year.

If, for example, the IEP Team meets on May 1, 2014, develops an IEP and determines that it will go into effect on July 1, 2014, the term of that IEP would be from July 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015. If the term of the IEP were to run until June 30, 2015 instead, it would be possible for the school administrative unit to fail to hold the annual review by April 30, 2015 (within one year from the date the IEP was developed), yet the IEP would continue to remain in effect for two months without expiring. The Maine DOE does not believe that result is consistent with the importance placed by Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) on the requirement of an annual review.

Please note that the effective date of the IEP is to be determined by the IEP Team, whose determination must be recorded in the Written Notice. The effective date ordinarily cannot be less than seven days from the receipt by parents of the Written Notice. If parents agree to an earlier effective date, that agreement must also be recorded in the Written Notice.

The Maine DOE is committed to ensuring the effective and efficient delivery of services for learners with special needs and hopes this guidance supports districts in their efforts to do the same. For more information, please contact Maine DOE State Agency Client Coordinator Jonathan Braff at 207-624-6671 or jonathan.braff@maine.gov.