Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of elementary and secondary education shall make an investigation and a study, subject to appropriation, to determine whether there are sufficient and appropriate services for low incidence students with disabilities and to identify opportunities for administrative efficiencies and cost savings by school districts.
There shall be an advisory group chaired by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education or his designee, which shall assist the department in conducting the investigation and study. Members of the advisory group shall include the commissioner of the department of public health or designee, the commissioner of the department of mental retardation or designee, the commissioner of the department of mental health or designee, a representative of the commission for the blind, a representative of the commission for the deaf and hard of hearing; and one person selected by each of the following organizations: the Massachusetts Administrators for Special Education, the Urban Superintendents Group, the Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives, the Massachusetts Association of 766 Approved Private Schools, the Massachusetts Advocates for Children, the Federation for Children with Special Needs, Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, the Massachusetts Head Injury Foundation. The commissioner of elementary and secondary education may appoint such other members as he deems necessary to assist the department in carrying out the investigation and study. The advisory group shall advise and assist the department by reviewing available data concerning low incidence students with disabilities; considering current special education program and service delivery structures and placements for low incidence students and their costs; examining programs and services provided by non-educational agencies that support students with disabilities; identifying needs and challenges in transitions from early intervention through post-secondary and adult service systems as well as student relocations from one district to another; identifying best practices for providing high quality and cost-effective services to low incidence students with disabilities; and determining the challenges and opportunities for ensuring coherent, appropriate and cost effective services for students across multiple agencies as they progress from early intervention services to pre-K-12 education and to postsecondary education and adult services, including, but not limited to examining the opportunity for funding to follow a child through the system.
The department shall file a report on the results of its investigation and study, and any recommendations relative thereto, with the joint committee on education no later than twenty-four months after enactment of this bill.
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