Special Education Local Plan Area: Local PlanInstructions and required forms and documents.
Special Education Local Plan Area General Requirements | Local Educational Agency Requirements | County Office of Education Requirements | Local Plan: Governance and Administration | Annual Budget Plan | Annual Service Plan | FAQs | Contacts
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 20 United States Code (20 USC) Section 1400 et seq. and related federal regulations, require each special education local plan area (SELPA) to ensure a continuum of program options are available to meet the needs of students with disabilities for special education and related services.
The California Department of Education (CDE) has establish guidelines for the coordinated development and submission a local plan’s components—Section A: Contacts and Certifications, Section B: Governance and Administration, Section D: Annual Budget Plan, Section E: Annual Services Plan, and required Attachments I–VII. Regional SELPAs ensure access to special education and services for all students with disabilities residing within the geographic areas served by each plan. Beginning July 1, 2020, all SELPAs are required to submit a local plan, using CDE-adopted templates.
Forming a New Special Education Local Plan Area
An initial SELPA local plan, must include Section A–E and associated Attachments. The local plan packet must be submitted with sufficient time for the CDE to approve the plan prior to the beginning of a fiscal year.
If the CDE determines the proposed SELPA local plan has met all requirements of special education law, including requirements for sufficient size and scope, the local plan may be approved, and SELPA status obtained. Should a proposed SELPA not meet all requirements, a waiver and State Board of Education (SBE) hearing may be required. For additional information, please submit an email request for information to SELPALocalPlan@cde.ca.gov.
Local Plan Submission
To ensure all applicable sections, certifications, and attachments are included, please refer to the Local Plan Submission Checklist (PDF) for the required templates.
Electronically submit SELPA local plan sections to the CDE, Special Education Division, by email at SELPALocalPlan@cde.ca.gov.
- The local plan for special education must be developed and updated cooperatively by a committee of representative special and regular teachers and administrators selected by the groups they represent; and with the participation by parent members of the community advisory committee (CAC), or parents selected by the CAC. SELPAs are responsible for making certain there is adequate and effective participation and communication.
- Beginning July 1, 2020, a SELPA must review its local plan at least once every three years, and update the plan as needed to ensure information contained in the Governance and Administrative section remains relevant and accurate. (California Education Code [EC] Section 56195.9)
- Revisions to the local plan Governance and Administration (Section B) must be reviewed by the CAC, county office of education (COE), and must be adopted by each local educational agency's (LEA’s) governing board prior to being submitted to the CDE for approval consideration. (EC Section 56195.1) This requirement will not be construed as a prerequisite for submitting changes to the Annual Budget Plan (Section D), or Annual Services Plan (Section E), which are contained in the local plan, but are required on an annual basis. Section A–Contacts and Certifications must be completed and signed by the appropriate parties and submitted with each local plan, including revised local plans.
- SELPAs must complete Sections B, D, E and Attachments I–VII of the local plan, and Section A using the current CDE approved templates. Local plans completed in any format other than the current CDE approved templates will not be accepted for consideration of approval by the CDE.
- The CDE's approval of a local plan does not set aside any federal, or state laws or regulations. A SELPA may be required to amend the local plan any time a change is deemed necessary due to local changes, new legislative requirements, a new interpretation by the courts, or an official finding of noncompliance with federal law, state law, or regulations determined by the CDE. In such cases, a revised local plan must be submitted in accordance with CDE guidelines.
- SELPAs must ensure a continuum of special education service options are available to students with special needs.
- A local plan must not be implemented without the approval by the COE and/or the CDE. If a COE disapproves a local plan, a SELPA may file an appeal with the CDE to overrule the COE’s disapproval.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part C to Part B Interagency Agreements
SELPAs must facilitate interagency coordination of special education services provided to children with special needs ages birth to 3 years, and ensure a smooth and effective transition from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C early education services to Part B, serving eligible students ages 3–22 years.
SELPA Website Posting and Availability Requirements
A SELPA must post the current adopted local plan, including revisions to the Governance and Administration, Annual Budget Plan, and Annual Service Plan on its website.
A complete copy of the local plan—Governance and Administration, Annual Budget Plan, and Annual Service Plan, along with Section A must be held on file in the SELPA office and must be accessible to any interested party.
- LEAs must involve special and general education teachers and parents selected by respective peers in an active role.
- LEAs must cooperate with the COE and other LEAs in the geographic area in planning options for students with disabilities each fiscal year.
- LEAs must cooperate with the COE to assure the SELPA local plan is compatible with other local plans in the county, including adopted local control and accountability plans adopted for each LEA, county board of education, and any county plan of a contiguous county.
- LEAs must maintain a current copy of the SELPA local plan.
- LEAs should maintain a current copy of the SELPA local plan at each school site.
- Local plans must be posted on LEA websites.
- LEAs have authority over the programs directly maintained. Special education services and programs must be consistent with the SELPA local plan.
- LEAs participating in the SELPA must cooperatively assist with developing and updating a local plan by a committee of representatives of special and regular education teachers and administrators selected by the groups they represent, and with participation by parent members of the CAC, or parents selected by the CAC, to ensure adequate and effective participation and communication.
Intent to Elect an Alternative Local Plan
LEAs must notify the CDE, the impacted SELPA(s), and participating COE(s) of an intent to elect an alternative option for the provision of special education services from those specified in the current approved local plan, at least one year before the proposed effective date of the implementation of an alternative plan.
Pursuant to Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations (17 CCR) Section 52140, LEAs must develop and maintain local interagency agreements with regional centers.
- The responsibilities of each LEA and regional center for meeting the terms of the agreement;
- Procedures for coordination of child find activities with local public agencies and regional centers to identify infants and toddlers who may be eligible for early intervention services;
- Specific procedures for coordination of referrals for evaluation and assessment;
- Procedures for the assignment of a service coordinator;
- Interagency procedures for identifying the responsibilities of the regional center and LEA for completing the evaluation and assessment and determining eligibility within the time requirements contained in Section 52086 of these regulations, when an infant or toddler may receive services from both the regional center and LEA;
- Procedures for the timely exchange of information between regional centers and LEAs;
- Mechanisms for ensuring the availability of contacts at regional centers and LEAs at all times during the year;
- Procedures for interagency individualized family service plan (IFSP) development when infants and toddlers may be eligible for early intervention services from the regional center and the LEA or other state or local programs or services;
- Procedures to ensure the provision of services during periods of school vacations when services are required on the IFSP;
- Transition planning procedures which begin at least six months prior to a toddler's third birthday pursuant to EC Section 52112 of these regulations;
- Procedures for resolving disputes between regional centers and LEAs;
- Procedures for the training and assignment of surrogate parents; and
- Procedures for accepting transfers of infants or toddlers with existing IFSPs.
Local interagency agreements must be dated and signed by representatives of the regional center and LEA. Interagency agreements must be reviewed by both parties annually, revised as necessary, dated, and signed by both parties as needed.
LEA Website Posting and Availability Requirements (EC Section 56205.5)
Upon CDE approval of the SELPA local plan, including revisions and updates, the LEAs participating in the SELPA must post the current local plan on the internet website of each LEA, including Sections B, D, E, and Attachments, as well as Section A.
A complete copy of the local plan must be held on file at each participating LEA, and must be accessible to any interested party.
Pursuant to EC Section 56140, within 45 day of a SELPA submitting a local plan for consideration, the COE must either approve or disapprove by the LEA, or group of LEAs within the county or counties.
- If approved, the COE must submit the completed local plan with comments and recommendations using templates found herein to the CDE for the consideration of approval.
- If disapproved, the COE must return the local plan with comments and recommendations to the LEA. The LEA may immediately appeal to the CDE to overrule the COE’s disapproval. The CDE will make a decision on an appeal within 30 days of the receipt of the appeal.
COE Website Posting and Availability Requirements (EC Section 56205.5)
A county superintendent of schools must post on the internet website of the COE, current approved SELPA local plans, including Sections B, D, E, with Attachments; and any CDE approved updates or revisions to the plans for all SELPAs operating within county.
California Department of Education Local Plan Review (EC sections 56122, 56140, 56195 et. seq., and 56205)
The CDE’s approval of a SELPA local plan is based on the capacity of the LEA or LEAs to ensure that special education programs and services are provided to all students with disabilities within the SELPA’s identified geographic area and, whether the local plan adheres to the related provisions of special education law. Approval shall be based on the capacity of the SELPA to ensure special education programs and services are provided to all students with disabilities, and whether the local plan,
- adheres to the guidelines established pursuant to EC Section 56122 for the development of a local plan;
- includes all of the required components associated with a local plan as detailed in special education law; and
- meets requirements for size and scope.
SELPAs are not authorized to implement an initial local plan until the entire plan, including Sections B, D, E, and Attachments have been approved by the CDE.
Local Plan: Contacts and Certifications (Section A)
CDE Local Plan Template Information
IMPORTANT: Local plan template upgrades to Sections A–E, and Attachments are in the process of being finalized and will be available for use shortly. The templates included herein are provided to assist SELPAs with researching and preparing required content areas, but are considered DRAFT plans.” SELPAs will be notified when final local plan templates are posted to the website.”
Section A (PDF; 2MB) must be completed, including applicable signed certifications from participating COEs and LEAs, and submitted to the CDE for an initial proposed SELPA and for ALL subsequent revisions to local plan Sections B–E and attachments.
After an initial approval, a SELPA must review the local plan’s governance and administration at least once every three years, or when there are substantive changes to the provisions of the plan. If an amendment is necessary to accurately reflect the governance and administrative structure, revisions to Section B (PDF) of the local plan must be certified by the CAC, approved by each LEA’s governing board, approved and adopted at a public hearing held by the SELPA, approved by the COE, and approved by the CDE. Copies of all public hearing notices must be kept on file at the SELPA office and provided to the CDE upon request. Hearing dates must be documented on the appropriate certification included in Section A of the local plan packet.
Initial Submission Due Date
An initial SELPA local plan, including Sections B, D, E, Attachments, and applicable Certifications along with a completed Section A, must be submitted with sufficient time for the CDE to approve the plan prior to the beginning of a fiscal year.
SELPAs are not authorized to implement a proposed local plan until the entire plan, including the Sections B, D, E, Attachments, and Certifications have been approved by the CDE.
Governance and Administration Revisions
Substantive changes affecting the provisions of the Governance and Administration section of the local plan require an amendment to Section B. At a minimum, a SELPA must amend Section B when:
- Deemed necessary by the CDE in response to new legislative requirements, new interpretations by the courts, or an official finding of noncompliance with federal law, state law, or regulations determined by the CDE.
- Changes occur at the local level that affect the implementation of provisions of a previously approved local plan.
An amendment to Section B must be reviewed by the CAC, approved by all applicable parties, and must be adopted at a public hearing by all participating LEAs and the SELPA.
Governance and Administration Three Year Reviews
Every three years, each SELPA must review the previous CDE-approved local plan. If revisions are required to accurately reflect SELPA policies, procedures, and administrative functions; Sections A and B, including all applicable Attachments and Certifications, must be submitted with sufficient time for the CDE to approve the revised local plan prior to the beginning of the subsequent fiscal year (e.g., If a three year review is due during fiscal year 2023–24, revisions to the local plan must be submitted in 2023–24 with sufficient time for the CDE to approve by July 1, 2024.).
Governance and Administration Required Templates
For the initial or revised local plan Governance and Administration section of the local plan, the SELPA must complete CDE templates:
- Section A—Contacts and Certifications Template (PDF; 2MB)
- Section B—Governance and Administration Template (PDF)
- Attachments (PDF; 2MB)
- Certification 3 (PDF)
- Certification 4 (PDF)
- Certification 5 (PDF)
- Interagency Agreement(s) with IDEA Part C Service Providers
Governance and Administration Submission Prerequisites
Section B must be adopted in accordance with the SELPA’s regional policy making process at a public hearing prior to submitting the plan to the CDE for approval consideration.
Each SELPA must provide the CAC with 30 days to review and advise on Section B of the local plan prior to the submitting the final plan for approval.
After the CAC has reviewed the plan, each SELPA must:
- Ensure its member LEAs adopt Section B at a local public hearing.
- Submit Section B, with Section A, applicable Attachments, and Certifications to the COE for approval in accordance with the SELPA regional governance and administrative structure.
Governance and Administration Public Hearing Notices
Notice of the public hearings must be posted in each school participating in the local plan at least 15 days before LEA and SELPA hearings. Public hearing dates must be documented in Section A and submitted to the CDE with Section B.
Local Plan: Annual Budget and Service Plans
(Sections D and E)
EC Section 56205 requires the submission of Annual Budget and Service Plans adopted at public hearings held by the SELPA. After the initial submission of the local plan, each SELPA is required to submit an Annual Budget Plan and an Annual Service Plan by June 30th of each year.
Annual Plan Due Dates
On, or before June 30th of each fiscal year, including an initial submission, SELPAs must complete and submit an Annual Budget Plan (Section D Template) and Annual Service Plan (Section E Template) to the CDE for consideration of approval. Annual Plans must also include Section A, applicable Attachments and Certifications.
SELPAs must adopt Sections D and E of the local plan annually. Prior to submitting the annual plans to the CDE for approval, each plan must be adopted at a public hearing convened by the SELPA.
Annual Plan Submission Prerequisites
- Sections D and E must be adopted in accordance with the SELPA’s local plan at a public hearing prior to submitting the plan to the CDE for approval consideration.
- For initial submissions, the SELPA must submit Sections A, D, and E, Attachments I–VII, and Certifications 1–5 to the COE for approval in accordance with the SELPA regional governance and administrative structure.
Annual Plan Public Hearing Notices
Notice of the public hearings must be posted in each school participating in the local plan at least 15 days before the SELPA hearing(s) to adopt the annual plans. Public hearing dates must be documented by the SELPA in Section A and submitted to the CDE with Sections D and/or E.
Annual Plan Revisions
Annual plans may be revised at any time during a fiscal year according to the SELPA policymaking process in accordance with EC sections 56205 and 56195 et. seq.
The Annual Budget Plan, Section D (PDF), of a local plan must identify projected revenues and expenditures as allowed by IDEA for the provision of specially designed instruction and related services to students with disabilities. The responsible local agency, or administrative unit is the legal entity that receives the funds and is responsible for seeing that every eligible child receives appropriate services as determined by Individualized Education Plan teams. Projected revenue and expenditures must be identified at the SELPA level and for each participating LEA using CDE-approved templates.
Annual Budget Plan Required Templates
For the initial and annual submission of the local plan’s Annual Budget Plan, a SELPA must complete:
- Section A: Contacts and Certifications (PDF; 2MB)
NOTE: It is not necessary to submit Certifications 1, 4, or 5 with the annual plans
- Section D: Annual Budget Plan (PDF)
- Attachments (PDF; 2MB)
The Annual Service Plan, Section E (PDF; 2MB) must identify a full continuum of service options provided within the SELPA at the time of submission, assuring access to appropriate instruction and services for all students with disabilities from birth to 22 years of age, including children with low-incidence disabilities.
SELPAs may adopt service descriptions described in special education law. However, if service provisions differ from those defined in law, SELPAs must describe the specific related services provided.
IMPORTANT: Related services must be provided by qualified service providers as specified in Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 3051 et. seq. including, but not limited to,
- All providers of related services must meet the qualifications found in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations sections 300.156(b) and 3001(r) and the applicable portions of section 3051 et seq. and must be either
- employees of the LEA or COE;
- employed under contract pursuant to EC sections 56365–56366; or
- employees, vendors or contractors of the State Departments of Health Care Services or State Hospitals, or any designated local public health or mental health agency.
Annual Service Plan Required Templates
For the initial and annual submission of the local plan’s Annual Service Plan, a SELPA must complete:
- Section A: Contacts and Certifications (PDF; 2MB)
NOTE: It is not necessary to submit Certifications 1, 4, or 5 with the annual plans after the initial plan has been submitted.
- Section E: Annual Service Plan (PDF; 2MB)
- Attachments (PDF; 2MB)
Changes in LEA Membership
Question: What is the SELPA required to do when an LEA is added, or elects to separate from the local plan?
Answer: SELPA membership is considered a component of the Governance and Administration portion of the local plan. Changes to SELPA membership are considered an amendment to the Governance and Administration portion of the local plan, and are subject to the full approval process.
Some SELPAs experience a high volume of membership changes and have chosen to adopt a governance policy that designates the SELPA Governing Board or Superintendents Council as the approving body for membership-specific amendments that make no substantive changes to the language of Section B, removing the requirement that this type of amendment be adopted at all participating LEA member local governing boards. In cases such as this, the following is required:
- Section A, including all applicable certifications. NOTE: Certification 5 need only be completed for the new LEA(s).
- Section D, and applicable Attachments, if the changes in membership result in a net change to the funding.
- Section E, and applicable Attachments, if the changes in membership result in a change to the provision of services.
- Attachment I must be revised to accurately reflect the current membership.
All SELPA membership changes must be received no later than September 1 of the effective fiscal year in order to be included in data collection and allocation calculations for that year. There are no exceptions or flexible submission dates in this instance and any submissions received after October 1 will be effective the following fiscal year.
Associate Governmental Programs Analyst