Montana Administrative Register Notice 10-55-252 No. 14   07/30/2009    
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In the matter of the adoption of New Rule I pertaining to sign language interpreters





TO:  All Concerned Persons


            1.  On September 3, 2009, at 9:30 a.m., the Board of Public Education will hold a public hearing in the conference room of the Office of Public Instruction Building, at 1201 11th Avenue, Helena, Montana, to consider the proposed adoption of the above-stated rule.


2.  The Board of Public Education will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice.  If you require an accommodation, contact the Board of Public Education no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 27, 2009, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need.  Please contact Steve Meloy, P.O. Box 200601, Helena, Montana, 59620-0601, telephone (406) 444-6576; fax (406) 444-0847; or e-mail smeloy@mt.gov.


            3.  The rule as proposed to be adopted provides as follows:



            (1)  Effective July 1, 2011, and not withstanding (3), no licensed or classified employee of any school district, cooperative, or contracted service provider shall be regularly assigned to provide educational sign language interpreting for a student(s) unless the employee has demonstrated skills and knowledge, at a 3.5 level or higher, on the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) and passed the written portion of the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment.

            (2)  Substitute employees of any school district, cooperative, or contracted service provider temporarily assigned to provide educational sign language interpreting for a student(s) for a period longer than 35 consecutive teaching days shall meet the standard in (1).

            (3)  An employee who has not met the qualifications in (1), but who has demonstrated a competency level of 2.5 or higher on the EIPA and passed the written portion of the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment, may be assigned to provide educational sign language interpreting services.  Such individuals shall have three years, from date of initial assignment, or the effective date of this rule, to demonstrate competency as described in (1). 

            (4)  The employing entity (school district, cooperative, or contracting service provider) is responsible for providing appropriate assignment of personnel (directly) and/or use of appropriate technologies.

            (5)  Employees who have met the requirements in (1) and who seek to remain eligible to work as educational sign language interpreters are responsible for documenting a completion of 12 hours of professional development and/or renewal units per calendar year related to the improvement of educational interpreting, performance, and knowledge skills.  Such individuals will provide documentation of completion to their employing school district, cooperative, or contracting agency.

            (6)  For purposes of (5), approved providers of continuing educational opportunities shall include any entity approved by the Montana Office of Public Instruction or the Montana Board of Public Education.


AUTH:  20-2-121, MCA

IMP:      20-2-121, MCA


REASON: The proposed rule to establish standards for sign language interpreters who work in Montana schools originated from citizen initiative and legislative interest as expressed in hearings on House Bill 354 of the 2007 Montana Legislature.  Though House Bill 354 was not adopted by the 2007 Legislature, the Board of Public Education decided to proactively pursue acceptable language within its own rule making authority to establish standards for sign language interpreters who work in Montana Schools.


            4.  Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing.  Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to: Steve Meloy, Board of Public Education, P.O. Box 200601, Helena, MT  59620-0601; telephone (406) 444-6576; fax (406) 444-0847; or e-mail smeloy@mt.gov, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., September 3, 2009.


5.  Steve Meloy, Executive Secretary of the Board of Public Education has been designated to preside over and conduct this hearing.


6.  The board maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency.  Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name, e-mail, and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies for which program the person wishes to receive notices.  Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request.  Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the contact person in 4 above or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the board.


7.  An electronic copy of this Proposal Notice is available through the Secretary of State's web site at http://sos.mt.gov/ARM/Register.  The Secretary of State strives to make the electronic copy of the Notice conform to the official version of the Notice, as printed in the Montana Administrative Register, but advises all concerned persons that in the event of a discrepancy between the official printed text of the Notice and the electronic version of the Notice, only the official printed text will be considered.  In addition, although the Secretary of State works to keep its web site accessible at all times, concerned persons should be aware that the web site may be unavailable during some periods, due to system maintenance or technical problems.


8.  The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA,  do not apply.




/s/ Steve Meloy                                              /s/ Patty Myers          

Steve Meloy                                                   Patty Myers

Rule Reviewer                                               Chairperson

                                                                        Board of Public Education


Certified to the Secretary of State July 20, 2009.



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