Introduction

The Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) Administrators of California is an association of professional educators organized to present, review, and evaluate major special education issues. This document was prepared in response to questions regarding the unique organizational and program structure for special education in California. It is intended to identify the what, why and how of special education services in California. The information contained herein can be used with legislators, parents, agencies, and other educators as it provides broad descriptions of SELPAs. For more detail, contact your local SELPA listed in the final section.

Significant changes have occurred in services and programs provided for children with disabilities in the public schools of California. These changes have stemmed from new laws and regulations at both the state and national levels. New interpretations of existing laws by the courts have further modified and expanded the services required for students with disabilities. SELPAs work as an extension of the California Department of Education Special Education Division (CDE/SED) to ensure that the rights of students with disabilities are maintained at the local education agency (LEA) and school site levels. The spirit of fairness and equity that characterizes the public school system in America has also helped to enhance the inclusion of students with disabilities into our daily operations.