A free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be available to all children residing in the State between the ages of 3 and 21, inclusive, including children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school, as provided for in 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 300.530(d). See 20 U.S.C. 1412(a) (1) (A); 34 C.F.R. § 300.101(a); Arkansas Code Annotated (A.C.A.) 6-41-201, et seq.
Arkansas Code Annotated § 6-18-202 states: Age and residence for attending public schools.
(a.) The public schools of any school district in this state shall be open and free through completion of the secondary program to all persons in this state between the ages of five (5) and twenty-one (21) years whose parents, legal guardians, or other persons having lawful control of the person under an order of a court reside within the school district and to all persons between those ages who have been legally transferred to the district for education purposes.
Arkansas Attorney General’s Opinion No. 98-185 makes the following statement:
"Although local school districts have wide discretion in establishing their own internal policies . . . they cannot establish policies that contradict state law. The requirement of A.C.A. § 6-18-202(a) that school districts be open to persons through age twenty-one is stated in mandatory terms. Moreover, it does not state any exceptions or conditions.”
The Pulaski County Special School District (hereafter, the District) adheres to requirements set forth in the IDEA and its implementing regulations that an eligible child with a disability between the ages of 3 and 21, inclusive, shall have available a free appropriate public education (FAPE), including children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school, as provided for in 34 C.F.R. § 300.530(d). The age range for making FAPE available is consistent with Arkansas state law addressing public school attendance.
For purposes of this policy, the following definition applies:
1. Free appropriate public education or FAPE means special education and related services that-
a. Are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;
b. Meet the standards of the State Education Agency, including the requirements of IDEA;
c. Include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the District; and
d. Are provided in conformity with a child’s individualized education program (IEP) that meets the requirements of IDEA as noted in 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.320 through 300.324. [Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1401(9)]
A child’s right to FAPE under the IDEA is terminated when the child’s eligibility ends due to graduation from secondary school with a regular diploma or due to exceeding the age eligibility for FAPE under State law. [34 C.F.R. §300.305 (e)(2)]
20 United States Code (U.S.C.) 1412 (a)(1)
34 Code of Federal Regulation (C.F.R.), Sections 300.103 - 300.107
Arkansas Code Annotated (A.C.A.) 6-41-201, et seq.
Arkansas Department of Education Special Education Procedural Regulations, Section 5.00
Date Adopted: 09/21/16