Finally, after ten years of discovery and complex pretrial litigation, the parties entered into negotiations and reached an agreement to settle the lawsuit in 2004.
The settlement agreement required an overhaul of the state’s systems for helping school districts comply with the IDEA’s inclusion mandates and then monitoring their compliance. It established tools for the Department of Education to monitor the quality of education for children with disabilities, require corrective action, and offer training for teachers and administrators. The agreement:
- Increased the state’s focus on districts with the worst records of inclusion, requiring corrective action plans
- Changed the complaint resolution process to increase parents’ rights
- Changed the approval process of districts’ special education programs
- Increased the state’s commitment to training and technical assistance
- Creatied of an Advisory Panel to guide and assess progress in implementing the agreement
- Other reforms in the state’s training, monitoring, and enforcement procedures