Operating Standards and Guidance

Operating Standards

The Department wants to ensure that educational agencies, parents and others have access to the revised sections of the Operating Standards for the Education of Children with disabilities. Below you will find the sections of the OAC all of which are in effect as of July 1, 2023 and links to the Ohio Administrative Code which reflect the July 1, 2023 language. This includes the following rules with the developmental disabilities expansion language that are currently in the rule revision process: Applicability of requirements and definitions, Child Find, Evaluations and Transportation
These four rules which are currently under the revision process are only under revision as it relates to the developmental delay expansion language in each rule (this means that all other parts of these four rules and their revisions are in effect). Please refer to the developmental delay guidance link for information regarding the developmental delay expansion language (Link), along with the four rules that are currently under revision. 
  • Applicability of requirements and definitions (3301-51-01)
  • Free Appropriate Public Education (3301-51-02)
  • Child Find (3301-51-03)
  • Confidentiality (3301-51-04)
  • Procedural Safeguards (3301-51-05)
  • Evaluations (3301-51-06)
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP)  (3301-51-07)
  • Parentally placed nonpublic school children (3301-51-08)
  • Delivery of services (3301-51-09)  
  • Transportation (3301-51-10)
  • Providing instructional material to children with visual impairments and others with print disabilities that are listed for sale by publishers with the superintendent of public instruction (3301-51-21)
The department is currently working to publish the updated Ohio Operating Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities in a printed format and a PDF format.

For additional questions please contact Specialedrules@education.ohio.gov.

A Guide to Parent Rights in Special Education  serves as the required parent notice of procedural safeguards.

The Ohio Operating Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities which are Ohio Administrative Code Rules 3301-51-01 to 09, 11* and 21, became effective on July 1, 2014. A broad overview of changes to the rules is provided in the Summary of Changes to the Operating Standards.

*Ohio Administrative Code 3301-51-11 Updated October 28, 2022

The Ohio Operating Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities identify the state requirements and federal Part B Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) requirements that apply to the implementation of special education and related services to students with disabilities by school districts, county boards of developmental disabilities and other educational agencies.

Office for Exceptional Children Law and Policy Memorandums

Below are communications distributed to Ohio educational agencies serving children with disabilities notifying them of important changes or clarifications to special education requirements.

Memorandum   Subject Date Issued
2023-1 Serving Students with Disabilities in Career Technical Pathways July 18,
2019-1 Addressing Shortages of School Psychologists  April 26, 2019 
2018-1 Observation Memorandum November 2, 2018
2017-1 Students in Separate Facilities January 13, 2017
2016-3 WIOA Section 511 Guidance December 8, 2016
2016-2 Service Provider Ratio and Workload Clarification February 3, 2016
2016-1 Serving Students with Disabilities in Community Corrections Facilities and Juvenile Detention Centers February 3, 2016
2015-1 Adding and Removing a Related Service to an IEP September 10, 2015


Prior Written Notice

December 20, 2013
2012-2 Parent Notification of Scholarship Programs  September 24, 2012
2012-1 Secondary Transition   September 6, 2012

Special Education Policies and Procedures

The Ohio Operating Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities requires traditional public schools and chartered community schools to adopt written policies and procedures regarding the education of children with disabilities (3301‐51‐02(A)). In addition, the Operating Standards allow districts to choose which method they will use to determine the existence of a specific learning disability and require districts to develop written procedures for the implementation of their chosen method (3301‐51‐06(H)(3)(f)). Districts may adopt the Special Education Model Policies and Procedures developed by the Ohio Department of Education or develop their own and submit for approval.

Required Notifications

This chart provides guidance on required notifications including parent invitations, consent and parent rights within specific steps of the special education process.

Joint Guidance on Project SEARCH

The Ohio Department of Education and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) have issued joint guidance on Project SEARCH job readiness training programs. The agencies are working collaboratively to: plan and coordinate quarterly Project SEARCH meetings; ensure OOD participation in transition planning and IEP meetings; develop tools to assist students and families in making informed decisions about services; and be involved in decisions regarding the development of new programs.
To read the full joint guidance letter issued by Director Kevin Miller and Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, please click here.

Requirements on the Use of Subminimum Wage to Youth with Disabilities under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Effective July 22, 2016, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) is a federal law that reauthorized the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, which includes the Rehabilitation Act.
Section 511 of Title IV of the WIOA implements new requirements on the payment of subminimum wage to individuals with disabilities by entities that hold a special wage certificate (also known as a 14(c) certificate) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The purpose of Section 511 is to ensure that individuals with disabilities, especially youth with disabilities, have a meaningful opportunity to prepare for, obtain, maintain, advance in, or regain competitive integrated employment, including supported or customized employment. See Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Section 397.1.
The documents WIOA Section 511 Guidance and WIOA Section 511 Documentation Coversheet explain the responsibilities of a school district under Section 511. They are a subset of the Employment First Taskforce Joint Guidance document with a focus on the following:

  • Responsibilities of a school district  to youth with disabilities ages 14-24 who are known to be seeking subminimum wage employment. 
  • Contracting limitations which the Ohio Department of Education and school districts must follow.

Questions about work experiences taking place in your school district?
School districts should review current school-sponsored paid and unpaid work programs to ensure that these experiences are in compliance with all applicable labor laws and regulations. School districts may direct specific questions to their legal counsel, or the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.

Please see the working document entitled Unpaid Work Experiences, Volunteering, and Internships  created for The State Employment Leadership Network to learn definitions and implementation considerations for volunteer work, internships, and unpaid job exploration opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

As the United States Department of Education issues additional operating guidance to State Educational Agencies regarding the implementation of these requirements, additional guidance will be provided to school districts. Please send general questions regarding this guidance to Exceptionalchildren@education.ohio.gov

Comprehensive Eye Exam State Requirement

Senate Bill (S.B.) 316 continues the requirement for students with disabilities to undergo a comprehensive eye examination within three months of receiving special education services for the first time. A new reporting requirement in S.B. 316 requires ODE to collect and report data about the implementation of this law.

Last Modified: 8/25/2023 8:09:16 AM