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Modified Consent Decree

About the MCD

In 1993, a group of plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit in federal court on behalf of students with disabilities in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The lawsuit alleged that the District’s special education practices in the areas of child find, identification, tracking of student records, and placement were in violation of the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

As part of an interim settlement, consultants approved by both parties conducted a ten- month comprehensive review of the District’s special education program. The review found that LAUSD suffered from a “pervasive, substantial and systemic inability to deliver special education services in compliance with special education law.” Based on these findings, the District entered into a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs that was approved by the school board and signed by the court in April 1996. The settlement established a Consent Decree Administrators Office (CDA) responsible for developing a series of implementation plans to improve the district’s special education system.

In 2001, dissatisfaction with the results of the decree prompted the parties to resume negotiations in an effort to revise the settlement. In 2003, they reached agreement on a Modified Consent Decree. The revised consent decree replaced the implementation plans with a series of objective and quantifiable measures that the school district is expected to meet over the course of the next three years (i.e. June 2006). The majority of objectives were developed based on available baseline data from the 2001-2002 school year. The Independent Monitor will establish a number of additional objectives after reviewing available data and the findings of Monitor initiated research projects. In order to provide accurate data, the District is engaging in a comprehensive overhaul of its special education data collection systems. In April of each year the District must submit an annual plan on the steps that it intends to take to achieve these outcomes. After a period of public comment, the monitor can approve the annual plan or order revisions.

On June 30, 2006, the Independent Monitor shall determine which outcomes have been achieved by the District. Upon the Independent Monitor’s certification of outcome achievement and a determination by the Independent Monitor that the District’s special education program has no systemic problems that prevent substantial compliance with applicable federal special education laws and regulations the Modified Consent Decree shall terminate.

Office of the Independent Monitor, 2019