IEPs and School Transfers

New teen female studentIDEA provides guidelines for a child with a disability transferring to another school in or out of district within the same state or out of state. The guidelines are specific as to the child’s right to have a free appropriate public education with services that are comparable to those in the previous IEP. It is important that the parents get copies of school records for their files, check with the new and existing schools to be sure the transfer request is made, make sure all records related to special or related services are included, and follow up with both schools if the transfer is not completed in a timely manner.

Transferring within the same state

When it is necessary for a child with a disability to transfer to a different school in the same district or a school in a different district in the same state, the IDEA 2004 requires the following:

"In the case of a child with a disability who transfers school districts within the same academic year, who enrolls in a new school, and who had an IEP in effect in the same state, the LEA (school district) shall provide such child with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those described in the previously held IEP, in consultation with the parents, until such time as the school district adopts the previous IEP or develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP that is consistent with Federal and State law."

Note: If the child enrolls in a new school district in the same city, it is helpful if the child’s special education teacher can attend the IEP meeting in the new school. If the child’s evaluation is still current, it would not be necessary to do a new evaluation unless either the parent or the district believes it to be necessary.

Transferring to another state

When it is necessary for a child with a disability to transfer to a school in another state, the IDEA 2004 requires the following:

"In the case of a child with a disability who transfers school districts within the same academic year, who enrolls in a new school, and who had an IEP that was in effect in another state, the school district shall provide such child with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those described in the previous IEP, in consultation with the child's parents, until such time as the district conducts an evaluation, if determined to be necessary, and develops a new IEP, if appropriate, that is consistent with Federal and State law."

Note: An evaluation could be necessary in this situation since the child is now in a different state whose requirements for an evaluation may be different than those of the state in which the child lived previously. The IEP from the previous school district would remain in place until an evaluation could be completed.

Transfer of records

  • Before the student is transferred to the new school, it is very important for parents to get complete copies of all school records.
  • It is suggested that the parents check with the new school to make sure the record transfer request has been sent to the previous school and then call the previous school to make sure they received the request. The parents should ask for the date that the records were/will be sent to the new school.
  • The records must include the IEP and all other records necessary to provide special education or related services to the child.
  • If the student’s records have not been received by the new school within two weeks, the parents should call both schools and quickly get the record transfer completed to prevent any delay in services required by the student’s IEP.
  • The State may require that a local educational agency include in the records of a child with a disability a statement of any current or previous disciplinary action that has been taken against the child and transmit such statement to the same extent that such disciplinary information is included in, and transmitted with, the student records of nondisabled children.


  • Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition; Operating Standards, Ohio 2008.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, P.L. 108-446, 20 U.S.C. 613 (h)(2)(i)


  1. Dontay Tinsley says:

    I need help findin special iep learning center…. Any on programs in Chesterfield Va

  2. Ebenezer Prabha says:

    Where can I get a lesson plan for learning disability

  3. nowel amari says:

    my son is in 10th grade and going to 11 th grade. he was hit by a car by his school and was home schooling for a year. he can go back to school in septemebr but he refuses to go back to the same school. i don’t know what to do because its a really good school but i don’t want him to get frustrated every time he goes to that school, i am also afraid if he can’t adopt to the new one,of course if they let him transfer. please i need someone to help me with this issue.

  4. Roberta DeAngelo says:

    My son recently transferred schools within the same district and is currently in the third grade. We had an iep in place at the prior school but when I spoke to his teacher, he wasn’t aware of my son’s behaviors or needs. I was told that what they plan on doing is not what was in the iep. I am a little irritated and feel like he is once again lost on the system. Is this allowed when my child has am iep?

    • Teachers (regular Ed.) aren’t given anything but the sheet of the IEP that details accommodations. We aren’t allowed to know the the diagnosis due to privacy issues. They also donor allow us to look at their file to see what issues they may be having.
      It’s ridiculous.

      • You should be given the students’ profile sheets, which includes the plop, which has all of the information that you mentioned above, the accommodations, and it is also a good idea to give you the goals sheet. That way you will know what the targets are when you and the special educator are planning together. I’m not sure why you are not informed of the child’s needs if you are the regular educator for that child. You should know what category of disability the child is and what learning deficits they have in order to assist in addressing those needs. Your special education teacher should be sharing these things with you as you both address the student’s needs.

      • John Freel says:

        Miac- You are misinformed. ALL teachers of the student are entitled to access the entire IEP, at least in Ca., and I believe that, since Special Ed laws are primarily Federal, nationwide.

    • If this is the situation with your child, then his school is out of compliance. If the teachers deem that he needs additional assistance for intervention purposes or additional accommodations, then an IEP meeting needs to be held for the development of an addendum. However, they are required and it is mandated BY LAW that they follow your son’s IEP. You have due process and if you feel some injustice with your son’s services, you can take them to court. You also need to ask them for a copy of the Rights and Procedural Handbook that you are required to have. Your rights as a parent are provided in this book and will guide you through how to advocate for your child to make sure he is receiving all of his services.

      • Tabbitha Schenk says:

        My son goes to a small rural school that keeps refusing iep meeting until February mean while his report card states he’s not meeting iep goals.They also don’t have enough students to provide a resource room how do I get help for him.

  5. My son is in kindergarten he is autistic and the school he’s currently going to is beyond amazing and has detailed plans for him and he has progressed extremely well. Now we are moving to another city and district and the school is not good. What if they don’t follow the same iep plan can they transfer him to a better school within the same district?

    • Kourtne – we are going through the same situation. My son is Kinder and will be moving within the next couple of months, but the new school is not as great. I am doing research right now, so if I get any info, I will post.

  6. dale dempsey says:

    What if I transfer my specials needs child during the summer to a different state or school district during the summer? Since technically that’s not the same school year, even though I will already have an eval and IEP for the next school, how is the school required to handle that situation?

    Maybe I should transfer the child during the last week of school to keep the mandate.

  7. My son is in early childhood with an IEP. We moved out of district months ago but decided to keep the kids in the same school M till next school year. We notified school M of this and everything remained fine. Then school M called and said I need permission from the district we currently live (S) in to allow him to finish this year before transferring next year cause they (S) will have to reimburse School M for his IEP. A few days later school M called and said they got permission from School S. Today school M calls and says I have to transfer my son now to school S with one month left of school because they can not give him services for his IEP since we moved and can not write goals to transfer with him to School S either. There is a month left and I am getting the run around. Can they do this?

  8. June To says:

    Can I enrolled my son, who has an iep to a different school outside of the district? . He’ll start kindergarten next year, and he is assigned to the neighborhood elementary school which has more than 1300 students, and it’s not very good school. I’d like to enroll him to the small school near by my daughter’s middle school so it’s more convenient. My son is a very smart kid. He was diagnosed with autism. He can do fine academically but he is a little bit delay in fine motor skills. I am afraid they won’t accept him just because he has IEP

  9. the elementary school my daughter attended has been closed down, how would I go about getting copy of her IEP that was initiated from this school?

  10. AJ Williams says:

    Is there anyone on here now? I have a situation with my 10th grader. We just moved within the same state. She has an I.E.P. but with school just beginning today, the chaos was overwhelming and she had a melt down. I had to go pick her up. How can I insure that she gets her IEP in place immediately. The school was supposed to have called me today but they did not.

    • You can initiate a meeting with the SPED teacher and other members of the committee. Go down to the school and ask to talk with the special education teacher to discuss when a meeting can be held. Also, make sure you bring her FIE and previous IEP paperwork with you so they have something to go by. Any parent that transfers schools within the state has the right to this. Don’t worry about the school year when you transfer or move that is within the school year.

      “IEPs for children who transfer public agencies in the same State. If a child with a disability (who had an IEP that was in effect in a previous public agency in the same State) transfers to a new public agency in the same State, and enrolls in a new school within the same school year, the new public agency (in consultation with the parents) must provide FAPE to the child (including services comparable to those described in the child’s IEP from the previous public agency), until the new public agency either–
      (1) Adopts the child’s IEP from the previous public agency; or
      (2) Develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP that meets the applicable requirements in Sec. Sec. 300.320 through 300.324.”

  11. Karen Parker says:

    I have a foster child moving into a new district in the same state! all the paperwork is in,thou only a week before school. Child has a IEP the school district wont let him start the first day of school as all the other children until we have a meeting! He wants to go.I felt it would be easier to start with his peers! hes well adjusted I might even asked to be dropped to a 504! So DCF says send him and if school sends him back home they will write up on report! I’ve been told its a law they have to let him go?

  12. Hello,
    I am writing down simply.
    My daughter receiving iep, from the last half of school year one of the class mates who is a girl she kept buillied my daughter. Unfortunately, this year same class and she started again.

    I went to school so many times for reports about that last year, but I felt school not much work for my daughter, so the attaker keep doing it so far. And specific of special class which is the small class they can’t separate apart school said.

    The school counselor said they were fight and play each other while that time my daughter will learn how to social.(is it make sense?)
    But I don’t feel that environment is bad effect to my daughter’s emotion.
    My question is my daughter can move other district around near my town without real typical moving.

    Thank you in advance.

  13. Sorry for last wrong sentence.
    I feel that the environment is giving bad effect to my daughter’s emotion.

    • My daughter is being bullied and the school will Will not pay for her tuition and transportation to another district she’s in the 11th grade and has been bullied since the seventh grade in the school is doing nothing about it I have requested for them to pay tuition and transportation so I don’t have to move to that town where I want her to go to school what is my option and what can I do besides sue the school which I don’t have the money for I am getting no assistance from the school and the tourney says my only options to Sue I don’t want to do that I need options

  14. To all parents, it is very hard to deal with the schools in any situation.
    My son has IEP in place and just recently found out that The district can transfere the child to another district and if an Iep is in place they are to pay for transportation they don’t want to cause they loose money…. sad but true, each child and case is different DO NOT RELY ON THE SCHOOL if you are having issues and you cant make empty words…. Say what you want and demand it NO ONE will fight harder than the parent/ parents for the child/children education better than you the parent/caretaker… when it comes to IEP make sure its compliable to your child not the school…. you are the back support and voice and if you are uncomfortable with what school says take to the main office…. KEEP A PAPER TRAIL AND DO FOLLOW UPS…. my son was assaulted last year and none of the staff at school did anything it caused him a breakdown ….. the school has done nothing about the situation , now we have proof he can be productive in school we moved him out of the district he made honor roll…. sad to say we had to bring him back and he is failing not good …..

  15. Netsi pruitt says:

    My daughter is six and in the first grade. We transferred to a new school in a new state. She had an IEP at her previous school and the teachers were amazing. She has ADHD, ODD, OCD, sensory issues and aggression/impulse control issues. Most days are great some just aren’t. Today was her SECOND day in her new school. She had a melt down on the playground that continued into class. She used inappropriate words and threatened to “shoot her teacher with a bow and arrow”….we don’t even own one…she has never even seen one! She fought the principal, kicked the desk, etc. I understand all of these behaviors are unacceptable however they are out of character for her if she is medicated. I informed the principal it sounds to me like she spit her medicine out today. That has only happened twice since starting school, and each time these were the behaviors.

    The principal suspended her for TEN days. She is SIX. And has taken her out of the school and is sending her to the alternative school for an indefinite amount of time. !!!! She is SIX and it’s her SECOND day transitioning into a new school!!! I am beyond infuriated. My understanding is NONE of this is legal. She has an IEP and is a 504 student. I was NOT given an opportunity to meet with the teachers. It was the super intendient of the school system that supposedly made the call. Does any of this sound correct ??!!

  16. My daughter has an IEP and has been going through a lot at her school. She had many mental problems one is that she Hallucinations which is hearing voices. She takes meds for it so its not as bad. She had a problem at school today where she heard the voices telling her to get loud when she was trying to ask an administrator a question and now they are trying to put her out the school. Im waiting for the meeting to decided what there going to do. I dont know what to do and how to handle this. I talked to her psychiatrist and her life skill coach and there both saying they cant put her out for something she cant control. But i need help on who to contact and what to do. I been looking for another school for a while because this school allows kids to bull them and does nothing when we tell them about it. any help please

  17. Charter school did not accommodate the student IEP after a school transfer within the same state and city for the last 3 weeks of previous school year and 1 semester of this current school year. The Vice Superintendant is a Principal at one of 3 schools he is overseeing. He has immediate family personnel staff hired too. This teacher works within the schools exceptional student services. His continuous emails provide harassing statements with no factual statements in regards to the emails he previously received. No requested official school records regarding our child will he present to us. He perfers to deal with ignorant parents. Not parents that are already informed with the current State and Federal procedures. He truly has avoided all written emails and obviously has no care to the “Child stay put law”.
    I believe if we parents come together and let ARE voices be heard loud and clear we can change the loop holes that administrators tactfully use against students and parents to hide their footprints from harassment, lack of presenting records, description is specific procedures or safeguards and will not make statements regarding uniform attire dress code. The best one is the school staffs Non factual opinions and lack of researched based reasoning to write a True Individual IEP!

  18. My son has an IEP. I am confused in where to put him the school he is in now is a charter school. The services they gave is not for a child with learning disabilities. I am in need of some help. Can someone tell me what the next step or who can help me

  19. my child is in HS with an iep in nj We recently had to move because of home was foreclosed on we were homeless for over a week tried to find home for rent in district my son was enrolled now could not find rental in district so now they want my son to change schools this is putting him under a lot of stress and i am worried that he is having a breakdown

  20. I am very frustrated we moved two blocks away from my old address my son goes to a special education school in California and they stopped letting my son attend school until I re enroll him this is bogus I have complied with everything they asked for I have emailed and called this person whom is or was taking care of this situation she never confirmed or replied to my email regarding she has received the documents now a week waiting to see what is going on she states my son can’t start school until I get his immunization record I told her we have lost everything in my vehicle that whiche was a total fire loss she said they two districts have no file of his record excuse me that’s the first thing they ask for before accepting a child in a school how’s that they have no record of his immunization record I want to know what steps should I take she is literally pissing me off I have lost days of work to handle this situation and get the run around she is very disrespectful saying she apologies for not getting back to us after two weeks due to having high calumny of calls can anyone help I am new to this type of situations I would highly appreciate it

  21. I have twin children who are 8 years old and in the second grade. My children are on target academically but one twin within the last two months has been non-compliant with directives and has exhibited some non-positive emotional reactions to teachers and peers. My other twin only recently (within the last two weeks) has been reported to be requiring directives to be repeated in the classroom setting but has continued to exceed his academic markers. For my first child my husband and I agreed to allow a functional behavioral assessment to be completed to identify what is triggering his emotional reactions in the classroom that is often highly extreme to the event. The school has not even provided an completed FBA to our family to review and plan to support my child. Nevertheless, have recently presented the “need to make a request for an IEP evaluation. I am concerned that they are trying to loop both twins together incompetently. I am also concerned that there is no verified academic limitations that would warrant this level of assessment. We are highly involved parents. We even implemented our own classroom superhero reward system to encourage supports for the teachers and our sons without any interventions from the school. Since my children’s enrollment in Kindergarten I have had to write several letters and advocate for safety measures in the school with regard to supervision of all children because of the areas of need the school presented and risks the school placed my children in. I do not feel that the school just overall are able to provide the supports my children need at this time. The principal admitted that the teachers struggle with classroom management and are highly reactive. I feel it is in my children’s best interest to transfer schools as I feel the negative emotions these school officials are projecting onto our children will eventually begin to affect their academic standing. Nevertheless, the school district is giving us a hard way to go for an in district transfer. Stating that transportation will be on us which we cannot afford. My question is should we simply give in and allow for the IEP evaluation to be completed even though we know it is not warranted? What are our rights with regard to transferring schools if we know the current academic environment will eventually become debilitating?

Speak Your Mind