Colorado Legislative Council Staff
NO FISCAL IMPACT
January 14, 1998
Janis Baron (866-3523)
TITLE: CONCERNING RIGHTS OF PARENTS TO DETERMINE ACCESS TO STUDENT EDUCATION RECORDS.
Summary of Assessment
The bill includes a number of provisions related to parents rights in determining access to student education records, as identified below:
“Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974” (FERPA)
• requires compliance with FERPA;
• prohibits school districts from releasing education records without first receiving written consent of the student’s parent or legal guardian;
• requires written consent of a parent or legal guardian before a survey, analysis, or evaluation intended to reveal information, is submitted to a student; and
• identifies those types of information (7) requiring written consent.
Other Pertinent Provisions
• allows a parent or legal guardian two weeks, after receiving written notice of a survey, analysis, or evaluation, to obtain written information about the survey, analysis, or evaluation, and provides that the parent or legal guardian may waive the two week notice;
• limits parental consent to one school year unless the consent is withdrawn or further limited by a parent, or the child withdraws from the course for which consent was granted;
• clarifies that general consent does not constitute valid consent;
• requires that notice of rights under the bill be sent annually to each student’s parent or legal guardian;
• clarifies that the section applies to all public schools in the state; and
• requires the State Board of Education to withhold accreditation for a violation of any provision of the section.
The bill is effective at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the ninety-day period after adjournment sine die of the General Assembly, or on the date of the official declaration of the vote of the people as proclaimed by the Governor, if a referendum petition is filed pursuant to Article V, Section 1 (3) of the State Constitution.
The requirements of the bill, relative to FERPA, are not new to school districts. All school districts in the state are subject to them because they receive federal funding. The Department of Education indicates that under current practice, school districts have parents sign a “general consent form” annually. The bill requires that parents be allowed a two-week review period after receiving written notice of a survey, analysis, or evaluation to obtain written information regarding: (1) for what purpose; (2) how it will be obtained; and (3) how it will be used. This requirement will necessitate changes in the current parental consent procedure, but is anticipated to create a minimal fiscal impact which can be absorbed with existing appropriations.