Under Sections 612(a)(23)(A) and 674 (e)(4) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA), the United States Secretary of Education established the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS). NIMAS is a technical specification developed to promote the development of high quality and consistent source files to be used to create specialized formats for students with print disabilities. The purpose for this standard is to help increase the availability and timely delivery of print instructional materials in accessible formats to blind or other persons with print disabilities in elementary and secondary schools.
The Act also establishes the National Instructional Materials Access Center (NIMAC) at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) to serve as the national repository for NIMAS file sets. Publishers of instructional materials are required by the Act to provide accessible electronic files for all print instructional materials newly published after July 19, 2006, which will allow for production of alternative formats of instructional materials such as Braille, large print, or other accessible formats.
In the federal fiscal year (ffy) 2006 Title VI-Part B application, each state education agency (SEA) had to choose to coordinate with the NIMAC or, alternatively, to accept full responsibility for producing and delivering specialized formats to students with print disabilities in a timely manner. The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), Special Education Unit chose to coordinate with the NIMAC in the delivery of these materials.
Likewise, to be eligible for continued receipt of Title VI-B funds, each local education agency (LEA) must either opt to coordinate with the SEA and the NIMAC or, alternatively, agree to produce and deliver instructional materials in specialized formats individually [Sec.613(a)(6)]. LEAs must make this decision by December 3, 2006. [34 Code of Federal Regulations §300.210(a)] It is strongly recommended that LEAs opt to work with the SEA to ensure the timely delivery of print instructional materials in accessible formats.
Each LEA must complete the attached form to provide the SEA with a written assurance and agreement as to the option it will employ. The completed form must be returned by December 3, 2006, by fax to Tom Hicks at 501-682-4216. The original signed copy of the form should then be mailed to Tom Hicks, Arkansas Department of Education, 1401 West Capitol Suite 450, Little Rock, AR 72201.
Direct questions regarding this federal requirement to Tom Hicks at 682-4221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.