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Subject: State Performance Plan/Explanation of Missouri's "Determination"
Source: Heidi Atkins Lieberman, Assistant Commissioner

Intended Audience: Directors of Special Education, Special Education Contacts

Date: June 22, 2007

On June 20, 2007, I sent out a SELS message, informing you that Missouri received notification of its evaluation results from the U. S.
Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP).  As a result of media reports on June 21, 2007, I felt it important to send a brief explanation as there appears to be confusion by the media about the implications of the "Determination" label given Missouri.

While we did not receive the highest rating, and instead received the second highest rating, we were pleased with the results, especially given that the rating was based on data that is from previous years and given that we have improved considerably since then.

To summarize what has occurred:

The U. S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) used four categories for state determination:

* "Meets the Requirements" (9 states/territories received this determination)
* "Needs Assistance" (41 states/territories, including Missouri, received this determination)
* "Needs Intervention in Implementing the Requirements of Part B" (10 states/territories received this determination) and
* "Needs Substantial Intervention" (no state/territory in this category).

The determinations are used to evaluate state performance; but for this very first state determination, quality performance was not reviewed.
Rather, compliance with legal requirements was the focus. OSEP only looked at four of the twenty indicators of the State Performance Plan
(SPP): #12, #15, #16, and #17.

While we performed well on #12, #16, and #17, meeting all requirements, OSEP labeled us under category 2 (Needs Assistance) instead of category 1 (Meets the Requirements) because of our performance on indicator #15, based on 2004-05 data.

The Indicators can be viewed on our website, under the SPP button.  Indicator #15 is for "Noncompliance of school districts corrected within one year." 2004-05 data showed this occurred 32.3% of the time.

OSEP acknowledged in Missouri's Determination letter that at this time 95% of that prior noncompliance has been corrected. According to current data, Missouri school districts are doing a much better job of ensuring correction of noncompliance and we appreciate all your hard work. This will be reflected in the next round of OSEP determination letters next year.  We have been given no indication by OSEP that Missouri is in danger of losing federal funds.

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Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Division of Special Education
P.O. Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Email:  webreplyspe@dese.mo.gov
Phone: 573-751-5739   Fax:  573-526-4404


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