Special Education - Laws


This page contains a description and links to various state and national laws, regulations and resources governing the provision of special education services:

  Act 117: An Act to Strengthen the Capacity of Vermont's Education System to Meet the Educational Needs of All Vermont Students
Act 117, passed in 2000, is intended to strengthen the capacity of Vermont's education system to meet the needs of all Vermont students in the general education environment. It added increased reporting and monitoring responsibilities to examine issues of cost effectiveness, consistency and capacity statewide. Act 117 emphasizes the requirements of educational support services (ESS) and educational support teams (EST) as outlined in Act 157 and increases a school's accountability for its ESS. More about Act 117

Act 156 of 2012

Meeting Minutes:

  Act 157: An Act Relating to a Comprehensive System of Education Services for All Students
In 1996 Act 230 was reauthorized as Act 157 and requires that schools develop a comprehensive educational support system (ESS) with the capacity to provide a range of social, academic and behavioral supports. Act 157 extends the focus beyond academics to include those factors that may have a detrimental impact on a student's school performance (i.e. nutrition, mental health, challenging life circumstances). IST's became educational support teams (EST's) to reflect the broader focus.
NOTE: Act 230, passed in 1990 by the Vermont Legislature, was the initial piece of legislation that required all schools to establish instructional support systems (ISSs) to ensure the early identification of students at risk and the capability of meeting their needs. It included an instructional support team (IST) for collaborative problem solving to assist teachers, and it provided grants for professional development activities to meet students' academic needs, to the extent possible, in the regular classroom. In 1996 Act 230 was reauthorized as Act 157.

Act 264: An Act Relating to the Creation of an Advisory Board and State and Local Interagency Teams to Assist in the Provision of Care for Children and Adolescents with Severe Emotional Disturbances
Act 264, passed in 1988, set into law Vermont's development of a comprehensive, integrated system of care for children and adolescents experiencing severe emotional disturbance and their families. It mandates and implements principles of interagency collaboration, coordination and parent involvement at all levels of decision making. In addition to providing a definition of severe emotional disturbance, it mandates state and local interagency teams and includes an advisory committee to advise the commissioners of the Agency of Education, the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities and the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services on the development of a comprehensive, integrated system of care.


Vermont State Board of Education Manual of Rules and Practices (Rule Series 2360)
This link will take you to the current version of the special education rules (effective September 17, 2007) on the Vermont State Board Manual of Rules and Practices Web page.

  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as PL 94-142 is now called, makes special education and related services (physical education, counseling, transportation, etc.) a federal entitlement for students with disabilities. It requires that these students be offered a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment and focuses on parent participation, procedural safeguards and confidentiality. Amendments have extended the entitlement for education to students three to five and addressed the needs of infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. States receiving federal education funds are required to identify and evaluate students with disabilities and offer them an individualized education plan (IEP) or, in the case of infants and toddlers, an individual family service plan (IFSP) of special education and related services.
  • Federal Law, Regulations & Policy Guidance
    View the text of the federal law regarding the education and rights of infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families and guidance to states on how to implement the federal law. NOTE: Use the left navigation for separate links to the law, regulations and policy guidance.
  • Changes to Part B IDEA 2004 Regulations (Effective 12/31/08)
    Field Memo #08-14 contains information regarding recent changes to federal regulations and the impact for schools and families in the areas of consent for services, hearing rights and the state's monitoring and enforcement authority. These regulations are effective December 31, 2008.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
This law protects people with disabilities from discrimination in any program or activity receiving federal funding. Students with disabilities that substantially limit a major life activity such as learning, working, hearing, speaking, etc. may require an individual accommodation plan or specific services to ensure access to education and school sponsored activities.

  Special Education Guide
Vermont's special education regulations and other pertinent regulations related to special education are contained in various sections of the Vermont State Board Manual of Rules and Practices. This guide brings all references to special education related rules together in a single document.

Page Last Updated on April 3, 2015