(a) To ensure a strong focus on outcomes for children with disabilities informs federal and state compliance and accountability requirements and to increase opportunities for special educators and related-services providers to focus on teaching children with disabilities, the commissioner must customize a streamlined, user-friendly statewide online system, with a single model online form, for effectively and efficiently collecting and reporting required special education-related data to individuals with a legitimate educational interest and who are authorized by law to access the data.
(b) The commissioner must consult with qualified experts, including information technology specialists, licensed special education teachers and directors of special education, related-services providers, third-party vendors, a designee of the commissioner of human services, parents of children with disabilities, representatives of advocacy groups representing children with disabilities, and representatives of school districts and special education cooperatives on integrating, field testing, customizing, and sustaining this simple, easily accessible, efficient, and effective online data system for uniform statewide reporting of required due process compliance data. Among other outcomes, the system must:
(1) reduce special education teachers' paperwork burden and thereby increase the teachers' opportunities to focus on teaching children;
(2) to the extent authorized by chapter 13 or other applicable state or federal law governing access to and dissemination of educational records, provide for efficiently and effectively transmitting the records of all transferring children with disabilities, including highly mobile and homeless children with disabilities, among others, and avoid fragmented service delivery;
(3) address language and other barriers and disparities that prevent parents from understanding and communicating information about the needs of their children with disabilities; and
(4) help continuously improve the interface among the online systems serving children with disabilities in order to maintain and reinforce the children's ability to learn.
(c) The commissioner must use the federal Office of Special Education Programs model forms for the (1) individualized education program, (2) notice of procedural safeguards, and (3) prior written notice that are consistent with Part B of IDEA to integrate and customize a state-sponsored universal special education online case management system, consistent with the requirements of state law and this section for customizing a statewide online reporting system. The commissioner must use a request for proposal process to contract for the technology and software needed for customizing the online system in order for the system to be fully functional, consistent with the requirements of this section. This online system must be made available to school districts without charge beginning in the 2016-2017 school year. For the 2016-2017 and later school years, school districts may use this online system or may contract with an outside vendor for compliance reporting.
(d) All data on individuals maintained in the statewide reporting system are classified as provided in chapter 13 or other applicable state or federal law. An authorized individual's ability to enter, update, or access data must be limited through the use of role-based access codes corresponding to that individual's official duties or training level, and the statutory authorization that grants access for a particular purpose. Any action in which data in the system are entered, updated, accessed, or shared or disseminated outside of the system must be recorded in an audit trail. The audit trail must identify the specific user responsible for the action, the date and time the action occurred, and the purpose for the action. Data contained in the audit trail maintain the same classification as the underlying data affected by the action, provided the responsible authority makes the data available to a student or the student's parent upon request, and the responsible authority may access the data to audit the system's user activity and security safeguards. Before entering data on a student, the responsible authority must provide the student or the student's parent written notice of the data practices rights and responsibilities required by this section and a reasonable opportunity to refuse consent to have the student's data included in the system. Upon receiving the student or the student's parent written refusal to consent, the school district must not enter data on that student into the system and must delete any existing data on that student currently in the system.
(e) Consistent with this section, the commissioner must establish a public Internet Web interface to provide information to educators, parents, and the public about the form and content of required special education reports, to respond to queries from educators, parents, and the public about specific aspects of special education reports and reporting, and to use the information garnered from the interface to streamline and revise special education reporting on the online system under this section. The public Internet Web interface must have a prominently linked page describing the rights and responsibilities of students and parents whose data are included in the statewide reporting system, and include information on the data practices rights of students and parents provided by this section and a form students or parents may use to refuse consent to have a student's data included in the system. The public Internet Web interface must not provide access to the educational records of any individual child.
(f) The commissioner annually by February 1 must submit to the legislature a report on the status, recent changes, and sustainability of the online system under this section.