2010 Georgia Code
§ 20-2-152 - Special education services

O.C.G.A. 20-2-152 (2010)
20-2-152. Special education services

(a) All children and youth who are eligible for a general and career education program under Code Section 20-2-151 and who have special educational needs shall also be eligible for special education services. Children from birth through four years of age, whose disabling condition is so severe as to necessitate early education intervention, may be eligible for special education services through programs operated by state schools for the handicapped, the psychoeducational program, or through programs financed with local or federal funds or with funds specifically appropriated by the General Assembly for this purpose. Eligible children and youth are defined as those who have emotional, physical, communicative, or intellectual deviations, or a combination thereof, to the degree that there is interference with school achievements or adjustments or prevention of full academic attainment and who require modifications or alterations in their educational programs. Special education shall include children who are classified as intellectually gifted, mentally disabled, behavior disordered, specific learning disabled, orthopedically disabled, other health impaired, hearing impaired, speech-language disordered, visually impaired, severely emotionally disturbed, and deaf-blind and who have any other areas of special needs which may be identified. The State Board of Education shall adopt classification criteria for each area of special education to be served on a state-wide basis. The state board shall adopt the criteria used to determine eligibility of students for state funded special education programs. The state board shall adopt maximum class sizes by classification of special education pursuant to subsection (i) of Code Section 20-2-182 which are equal to or greater than the class sizes used to develop the program weights as set forth in subsection (b) of Code Section 20-2-161.

(a.1) The criteria adopted by the state board to determine the eligibility of students for state funded special education programs for the intellectually gifted, Category VI pursuant to paragraph (6) of subsection (d) of this Code section, shall authorize local boards of education to use:

(1) The criteria used on July 1, 1993, as amended by state board or state department regulation from time to time; and

(2) Multiple eligibility criteria which include:

(A) Evidence of student work product or performance;

(B) Data from teacher, parent, or peer observation; and

(C) Evidence of student performance on nationally normed standardized tests of mental ability, achievement, and creativity.

A student's eligibility may be determined under either paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection. The multiple eligibility criteria shall be implemented as appropriate staff development is completed, but not later than August 1, 1998. A student who has been determined before July 1, 1994, to be eligible for state funded special education programs for the intellectually gifted shall not be required to satisfy any additional eligibility criteria or information documentation as a result of this subsection.

(b) Local school systems shall, subject to any limitations specified in this Code section, provide special education programs for all eligible students with special needs who are residents of their local school systems, either by establishing and maintaining such educational facilities and employing such professional workers as are needed by these students or by contracting with other local school systems, regional educational service agencies, or other qualified public or private institutions for such services.
(c)(1) The State Board of Education shall provide for the funding which has been approved by the General Assembly for this purpose for special education programs for students with disabling conditions which are either of such low incidence or of such severity that it is unfeasible or impractical to provide needed educational services through programs offered by local school systems. The state board may provide such educational services with funds specifically approved by the General Assembly for this purpose by:

(A) Providing grants directly to regional educational service agencies for provision of services;

(B) Either directly contracting with or making grants to or authorizing local units of administration to contract with or make grants to suitable private or public institutions, inside or outside this state, for the provision of such services; provided, however, that the educational and related services of the child must be provided by professionals, such as teachers, school psychologists, speech therapists, physical and occupational therapists, and audiologists who meet the certification or licensing standards of their profession in the state in which the institution is located;

(C) Authorizing local units of administration to contract with suitable public agencies and departments, including institutions in which eligible children are confined and out-patient centers serving eligible children, inside and outside this state, for the provision of such services;

(D) Entering into reciprocal agreements with other states or political subdivisions thereof for the provision of such services; or

(E) Operating the Georgia School for the Deaf, the Georgia Academy for the Blind, the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, and other special schools as approved by the General Assembly.

(2) The state board may promulgate rules, regulations, and standards and establish the terms and conditions governing the provision of state aid provided for this purpose by the General Assembly under this subsection and perform any and all acts necessary or proper to carry out the provisions, intent, and purpose of this subsection.

(d) For purposes of funding under this article, the following special education categories are authorized for the local units of administration of this state:

(1) Category I: self-contained specific learning disabled and self-contained speech-language disordered;

(2) Category II: mildly mentally disabled;

(3) Category III: behavior disordered, moderately mentally disabled, severely mentally disabled, resourced specific learning disabled, resourced speech-language disordered, self-contained hearing impaired and deaf, self-contained orthopedically disabled, and self-contained other health impaired;

(4) Category IV: deaf-blind, profoundly mentally disabled, visually impaired and blind, resourced hearing impaired and deaf, resourced orthopedically disabled, and resourced other health impaired;

(5) Category V: those special education students classified as being in Categories I through IV, as defined in this subsection whose Individualized Educational Programs specify specially designed instruction or supplementary aids or services in alternative placements, in the least restrictive environment, including the regular classroom and who receive such services from personnel such as paraprofessionals, interpreters, job coaches, and other assistive personnel; and

(6) Category VI: intellectually gifted.

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