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Official Memorandum Issued 10/18/2010-Laws, R

Letter Head: Jack O'Connell, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education

October 18, 2010

Dear County and District Superintendents, Special Education Local Plan Area Directors, Special Education Administrators at County Offices, Charter School Administrators, Principals, and Nonpublic School Directors:


As you know, the Governor’s unconscionable cuts to mental health services to students under the provisions of AB 3632 have created a state of chaos. This message is to remind all special education local plan areas (SELPAs), county offices of education (COEs), and local educational agencies (LEAs) of their responsibility to provide mental health services to students with disabilities as required by Government Code sections 7570 et. seq.

In particular, Government Code Section 7573 states that “The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall ensure that local education agencies provide special education and those related services and designated instruction and services contained in a child's individualized education program that are necessary for the child to benefit educationally from his or her instructional program.”

Concerning reimbursement for services by noneducational public agencies—in this case, county mental health agencies—Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (34 CFR), Section 300.154 (b)(2) says “If a public agency other than an educational agency fails to provide or pay for the special education and related services…the LEA (or State agency responsible for developing the child's IEP) must provide or pay for these services to the child in a timely manner.”

Further, 34 CFR Section 300.154(b)(2) says “The LEA or State agency is authorized to claim reimbursement for the services from the noneducational public agency that failed to provide or pay for these services and that agency must reimburse the LEA or State agency in accordance with the terms of the interagency agreement or other mechanism described in paragraph (a) of this section.”

Serious action is contemplated to resolve the current situation; however, this will not be a quick fix. California Department of Education staff are meeting with legislative staff to determine the proper course of action for the short and the long term.

Please note that this information was also provided in two previous letters dated August 2, 2004, and March 5, 2010. These letters are still available on the California Department of Education Web site at

Similar information is also provided when grant funds for the provision of mental health services are sent to school districts.

If you have any general questions regarding this subject, while we work towards a more permanent solution, please contact Allison Smith, Special Education Consultant, Special Education Division, at or 916-327-3698. [Note, the preceding contact information is no longer valid and has been replaced by Stacey Wedin, Education Programs Consultant, Special Education Division, by phone at 916-327-0844 or by e-mail at]


Original signed by Fred Balcom. Hard copy of the signed document is available by contacting the Special Education Division's Director's Office at 916-445-4602.

Fred Balcom, Director
Special Education Division

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