How much time does a school have to provide parents with prior written notice (PWN)?

Published: June 24th, 2016

The regulations that implement the IDEA require a school to provide parents with written notice “a reasonable time before the public agency proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the child.” [34 C.F.R. § 300.503(a)(1)-(2)] “We do not believe that it is necessary to substitute a specific timeline to clarify what is meant by the requirement that the notice be provided within a reasonable period of time. [34 C.F.R. Part 300, Analysis of Comments and Changes, Subpart D–Evaluation, Eligibility Determinations, IEP, Educational Placement, Federal Register, Vol. 71, No. 156, p. 46657 and 46658 (August 2006)] In a nutshell, schools have to provide PWN after the IEP team makes a decision but before that decision is implemented. [A.A.C R7-2-401(I)(2)] “Providing prior written notice in advance of meetings could suggest, in some circumstances, that the [school’s] proposal was improperly arrived at before the meeting and without parent input.” [Federal Register, p. 46691 (August 2006)]