Parent Resources

Click on the blue bar for information in each category.

For additional information about special education, call Freedom Acres School at (616) 527-2921.

Laws, Regulations, Rules

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, known as IDEA, is a federal law that requires schools throughout the nation to service children with disabilities who are eligible for special education and guide how the IDEA is carried out at the national, state and local levels.

 Under IDEA, parents and guardians are part of a school team that makes educational decisions about their children.  In each part of the special education process, parents have specific rights and protections that can be found in the Procedural Safeguards Notice.

The Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education, known as the MARSE, are State of Michigan special education rules used in addition to IDEA, that guide how schools in Michigan are to carry out the special education process.

If you have questions about the special education process, call your local district or public school academy special education contacts:

Local District Transportation 

  • Belding Area Schools: Jamie Segorski, Supervisor; Office - (616) 794-4970
  • Ionia Public Schools: Mike Avery, Supervisor; Office - (616) 527-9680
  • Lakewood Public Schools: Nancy Batdorff, Supervisor; Office - (616) 374-0759
  • Saranac Community Schools: Rob Richter, Supervisor; Office - (616) 642-1440
  • Portland Public Schools: Gerrit Bond, Supervisor; Office - (517) 647-2993

Ionia County Special Education Programs

  • Freedom Acres School: Angela Miller, Principal; Office - (616) 527-2921
  • Transition Services (The House, Stepping Forward, Transition Central, ASD Homebound): Mark Sly, Supervisor; Office - (616) 527-4900
  • Ionia Public Programs (MoCI Classrooms at Jefferson, Ionia Middle School, and Ionia High School): Mark Sly, Director; Office - (616) 527-4900
  • Ionia County ISD - Autism (ASD): Ben Woolston, Director; Office - (616) 527-4900

Special Education Directors

  • Belding Area Schools: Beth Hudson
  • Ionia Public Schools: James Nuse
  • Lakewood Public Schools: Jodi Duits
  • Saranac Community Schools: Sarah Dawson
  • Portland Public Schools: Sarah Milbratz


Organizations that Assist Parents and Guardians

Organizations that Assist Children and Youth with Disabilities

Special Education Parent Advisory Committee
Telephone: 231-767-7251

Mediation and Restorative Services
Telephone: 231-727-6001

Michigan Department of Education
Director of Special Education
      PO Box 30008
      Lansing, MI 48909
Telephone: 888-320-8384

Michigan Alliance for Families
Telephone: 800-552-4821

Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service
Telephone: 800-288-5923


Services for Parents and Students

Alternatives in Motion
Telephone: 616-493-2620

Department of Human Services
Telephone: 616-527-5200

Telephone: 616-754-9315
 Community Resource Directory 

McKinney-Vento Homeless Student Supports
Telephone: 616-225-6126
 Homeless Liaison - Angela Miller: 616-527-2921

Michigan 2-1-1
Telephone: 211 or 800-887-1107

Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) of Kent
Telephone: 616-242-6450

No More Sidelines
Telephone: 231-773-5355

Public Health - Ionia County Children's Special Health Care Services 
Telephone: 616-527-5341 ext. 442

Social Security Administration
Telephone: 866-763-2632

Youth Service Bureau - Ionia County
Telephone: 616-527-5332

Foster Care Liaison
 Angela Miller: 616-527-2921


Parent/Guardian Procedural Safeguards

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA, includes procedural safeguards that protect the rights of children and youth with disabilities and their parents/guardians.  Some of the rights in the procedural safeguards include the parent’s/guardian’s right to give or refuse permission (consent) to have their child evaluated, the right to receive written notice when the school proposes to change or refuses to change the identification, evaluation or placement of the child for special education and rights regarding school discipline of children who qualify for special education.  For all the rights contained in the procedural safeguards, go to the:

Special Education Parent Handbook

Letter from State of Michigan Special Education Director

Procedural Safeguards

Family Matters

Family Matters Procedural Safeguards Fact Sheet

It is very important that parents, guardians and age of majority students have a clear understanding of their rights in special education.  For more information on rights/procedural safeguards, contact your local district Special Education Office or contact the Ionia County ISD Assistant Superintendent Special Education at 616-527-4900.

Problem-Solving and Dispute Resolution

Schools and parents/guardians are encouraged to communicate with each other as soon as possible when concerns or problems arise regarding special education.  The first step for parents/guardians is to contact the child’s teacher and/or principal, as well as the school’s special education administrator, so the problem can be solved at the school level.  Schools and parents may, early on, want to establish regular communication times for working through concerns or problems.

When the child’s educational team is needed to solve a problem, either the school or parent/guardian can request that an IEP Team meeting be held, especially if changes are needed in the IEP.  A neutral facilitator may be a helpful team participant in working with both school and parents to sort out a disagreement.  IEP Team meeting facilitators are available to parents/guardians and schools at no cost through the Special Education Mediation Services office at 833-543-7178 or by using their online request form. 

Special Education Data

Data and information about IDEA Public Reporting is available on the MI School Data site.

GIMI Shelter

Gratiot, Isabella, Montcalm & Ionia Counties

The Central Michigan Local Planning Body’s Coordinated Entry Program is to assist those in need of housing and other community services.