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Management Bulletin 06-04

Clarifies the circumstances under which special education students may be served in adult education programs and how to best meet the needs of special education students within the context of adult education.

Career and College Transition Division

Subject: Serving Special Education Students in Adult Education

Number: 06-04

Date: January 16, 2007

Authority: Education Code sections 52500.1, 52523, 56026 (a), 56026 (c) (4), 56300, 56301, 56340, 56345, 56346, 65342 California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 3042, 10524 Code of Federal Regulations, Title 34, sections 300.343(a), 300.350(a), 300.505, 300.517, 300.550-300.554

To: Adult Education Administrators


The purpose of this bulletin is to give guidance to adult school administrators in serving special education students in adult education.


This bulletin clarifies the circumstances under which special education students may be served in adult education programs and how to best meet the needs of special education students within the context of adult education.

General Terms, Regulatory and Statutory Language pertaining to Special Education Students

A special education student is a student who receives a specially designed instructional program, referred to as an individualized education program (IEP), to ensure access to the core curriculum so that the student may complete requirements for the high school diploma. Education Code (EC) Section 56340; EC Section 56345

An IEP is a description of supports and/or services provided the student by the district so the student may complete requirements for the high school diploma. EC Section 56345

Supports and/or services must be provided in the least restrictive environment possible. Districts are legally responsible for identifying and ensuring that special education students receive educational supports and/or services needed to graduate from high school. EC Section 56300; EC Section 56301; EC Section 56026(c)(4)

A special education student with an IEP is entitled to district supports and/or services until age twenty-two, unless the student: (1) receives a high school diploma (completes all courses and tests, including the California High School Exit Exam) EC Section 56026(c)(4); (2) no longer needs special education services (district must conduct an assessment); (3) refuses special education services (decision must be voluntary and knowingly made) 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 300.505; EC Section 56346; or (4) is no longer eligible for special education services (has aged out). EC Section 56300 It is recommended that a representative from the adult education program be included in any IEP meeting where placement of a special education student into adult education is being considered.

Should the student turn twenty-two prior to the end of the semester, the special education designation continues until the end of the semester. EC Section 56026

A parent has the right to make decisions regarding their child’s IEP. That right transfers to the child upon the child reaching eighteen years of age, unless the child is conserved. If conserved, the right transfers to the conservator. However, an adult special education student may appoint another adult to act in his/her interest should the student be unable to effectively participate in the IEP process. 34 CFR Section 300.517

Serving Special Education Students in Adult Education Programs

A regularly enrolled high school student with an IEP may attend the adult school as a concurrently enrolled student so long as the IEP supports it and the student meets all requirements for concurrent enrollment in the adult school. EC Section 52500; EC Section 52500.1; EC Section 52523; Title 5 California Code of Regulations (CCR) Section 10524

Placement of eighteen to twenty-two year old special education students into adult education from the regular high school program is considered a change in placement and such a change must be supported by the student’s IEP. CCR Section 3042; EC Section 65342

Special education students may voluntarily leave the high school at age eighteen and enroll in adult education if the student and the rest of the individualized education program IEP team members agree to the change. EC Section 56342; 34 CFR sections 300.550-300.554

These students attend the adult school with the full range of entitlements and required district supports and/or services specified in their IEP. EC sections 56300 and 56300.1; 34 CFR sections 300.550-300.554; EC Section 56345

No student may be required to forfeit special education supports/and or services as a condition of enrolling in adult education. An adult special education student has the right to voluntarily refuse services (the services cannot be provided without a signed consent). 34 CFR Section 300.505; EC Section 56346. However, no student should be encouraged to decline IEP supports and/or services, especially if the local educational agency knows that the student is an individual with exceptional needs.

An eighteen to twenty-two year old special education student may elect to leave the high school and enter the adult school as a regularly enrolled student by knowingly refusing special education supports and/or services or by the district assessing and determining the student no longer needs such services. 34 CFR Section 300.505; EC Section 65342

Statutory Requirement

California EC sections 52500.1; 52523; 56026(A); 56026(c)(4); 56300; 56301; 56345; 56346; and 65342; 56340

Regulatory Requirement

CFR, Title 34, sections 300.343(a); 300.350(a)(1); 300.505; 300.517; 300.550-300.554
CCR, Title 5, sections 3042; 10524.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your assigned regional consultant at the California Department of Education, Adult Education Office, at 916-322-2175.

Questions:   Adult Education Office | adulteducation | 916-322-2175
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, June 28, 2022