Item Coversheet

Action Items - Intermediate Unit - 9.

Title: Contract with Public Consulting Group LLC for Electronic Special Education Management System ($3,075,000)

Board of Education Meeting Date:

Action under consideration


The Administration recommends that the Board of Education, acting in its capacity as Board of Directors of Philadelphia Intermediate Unit No. 26 (IU 26), authorize IU 26, through the Executive Director or his designee, to execute and perform contracts, subject to funding, as follows:  


Public Consulting Group LLC


Maintaining the electronic special education compliance management systems known as EasyIEP and EasyTRAC (EasySystem) and the attendant consulting and support services, and to develop new components to improve and enhance existing services when required.

Start date:  7/1/2023

End date: 6/30/2026

Compensation not to exceed: $3,075,000

LocationAll Schools; Administrative Office(s); 

Renewal Options: Yes

Number of Options:

Three (3) 1-year annual renewals

Maximum compensation authorized per option period:

Each option at fixed amount of $1,025,000 or 110% of first or preceding year amount. 


Why is the contract needed? 

Out of the approximately 121,333 students enrolled in the School District of Philadelphia (District), approximately 23,332 are eligible for special education services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, 20, U.S.C. Sections 1400 et seq. (IDEA 04), federal regulations implementing IDEA 04, 34 CFR Parts 300 and 301, and Pennsylvania law and regulations implementing IDEA 04, including but not limited to 22 PA Code CH 14 (Chapter 14), along with the common law, prescribe the educational and related services that school districts need to provide to eligible special education students in order to receive federal and state IDEA 04 and Chapter 14 grant funding. This fiscal year, the Philadelphia Intermediate Unit received $43,839,585 in IDEA 04 and Chapter 14 grant funding. Continued grant funding through IDEA 04 and Chapter 14 is contingent upon the District and Philadelphia Intermediate Unit's compliance with these grant regulatory requirements. The engine that collects, maintains, reports out, and stores the student special education data needed to establish District IDEA regulatory compliance and secure state grant funding each year is the PCG electronic data management system, known as the EasySystem.

Since 2004, the District has successfully used the PCG EasySystem to ensure IDEA 04 grant compliance and to optimize grant funding. On December 1 of each year, the District, along with most other school districts in Pennsylvania, submit information on its special education students between the ages of 3 and 21 to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education (BSE), by entering the requested data into the Penn Data System. This is known as the December 1st - Penn Data child count. BSE submits this data to the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for determination regarding IDEA 04 compliance and the State's progress in reaching the goals of Pennsylvania's State Performance Plan. Over the last nineteen years the District has used the EasySystem to successfully capture the data needed by BSE, in the December 1st - Penn Data child count, thereby ensuring the District and Philadelphia Intermediate Unit IDEA 04 compliance and grant funding. For fiscal year 2023, the Philadelphia Intermediate Unit received $43,839,585 in IDEA 04 grant funding as determined by the December 1, 2022 Penn Data child count.

The EasySystem also provides the District with the student data and information it needs to obtain ACCESS reimbursement for Medicaid eligible students who have IEPs. The Pennsylvania School Based ACCESS Program (SBAP), administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education's vendor PCG, allows school districts to receive reimbursement through Medicaid for medical/mental health-related services that are provided by health care professionals (such as speech and occupational therapist) to students with an IEP who are enrolled in the PA Medical Assistance program. Over the past 5 fiscal years, the District used student direct health related service information stored in the EasySystem, to secure over $ 2.6 million reimbursement from Medicaid through the School Based ACCESS Program.

More importantly, and in addition to capturing data use to support federal and state grants and Medicaid reimbursement, the EasySystem greatly enhances the ability of District teachers, administrators, related services providers, and school psychologists to provide highly effective special education services to students, and to improve the delivery of accommodations and related services. The EasySystem is a process-based user interface tool that permits users to completely and systematically address all elements and requirements of IDEA 04 and Chapter 14 student special education evaluations and IEP development. Student special education evaluation reports and IEPs are prepared and updated on the EasySystem. By using EasySystem, teachers, related services providers, administrators, and school psychologists can schedule, plan, prepare, store, review, monitor, and manage all relevant aspects relating to students' special education eligibility and educational services in full compliance with IDEA 04 and Chapter 14. Moreover, the EasySystem provides District teachers, administrators and parents with a transparent tool to monitor student progress, and to gather and review information needed to implement best educational practices, and to plan effective specialized instruction and transitional services. To date, the EasySystem has over  6,769 trained users, which includes approximately 3,200 special education teachers, building principals, administrative office staff, and related services personnel. Lastly, the EasySystem contains special education records and information on over 117,964 students, and maintains over  21,208 presently active IEPs. 

Services under the future contract terms with PCG will:

  • Ensure compliance with all present and future State and Federal regulations, including the re-authorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004.
  • Support best practices in special education process management.
  • Provide unlimited access to reporting tools, enabling School District staff (schools and central office) to develop reports for compliance monitoring.
  • Provide historical record keeping for student documents utilized in The School District of Philadelphia specific to Pennsylvania Chapter 14 (special education), Chapter 15 (Section 504), and Chapter 16 (gifted education).
  • Electronically document medical related service tracking for Medicaid and ACCESS billing purposes that ensures consistency and integrity with state and federal regulations, and School District reimbursement of costs for student medical expenses when eligible.
  • Automatically translate standard texts and inputted information of pertinent special education documents entered and located within EasySystem into Albanian, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, French, Khmer, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese using the EDPLAN Dynamic Translation system developed at the request of the District.

How is this work connected to the District’s plan to achieve Goals & Guardrails?

The EasySystem is designed to support teachers and staff in preparing and implementing student IEPs, by sharing essential student educational information and data, planning and designing instruction, specialized services and accommodations, and by supporting the District to secure the maximum amount of IDEA Grant funding for the delivery of essential special education programs and services to eligible students. These essential functions enable District staff to plan and deliver effective and IDEA compliant instruction, related services, interventions, supports, and transition services to students with disabilities. These services connect directly to promote school-wide inclusive educational practices (Guardrail 1), expansion of student opportunities for increased participation in school, including extra- curricular activities (Guardrail 2), provides resources to support partnering with families (Guardrail 3), and supports the implementation of inclusive educational practices working towards equal access and opportunities for students (Guardrail 4).

How will the success of this contract be measured?

 The District ranks as one of the major urban districts nationwide to succeed in implementing a contemporary, fully electronic special education management system. The success of this initiative is measured by the nearly full reliance on the EasySystem to track all special education services, generate all special education documents electronically, and store ACCESS reimbursement records in compliance with federal, state and local special education law.

When applicable, is this an evidence-based strategy?  If so, what evidence exists to support this approach?

Beginning in February 2003, PCG and the District collaborated to develop and fine-tune the EasySystem to accommodate the unique needs of its students and to fully comply with the more than 500 specific regulations that are exclusive to Pennsylvania special education law. The resulting EasySystem is a comprehensive, state of the art, fully electronic web-based special education compliance management, maintenance, reporting and record-keeping system. The EasySystem enables approximately 4,600 District teachers and employees, and additional related services providers to enter and obtain student data and to prepare required forms, records, reports, student evaluations, and Individualized Education Programs (IEP) on standard formats that are designed to maximize student educational planning, and reporting requirements and opportunities. In addition, the EasySystem forms, protocols, calendar, and management processes are fully compliant with the requirements of federal and state special education law and regulations, IDEA 04 grant regulations and requirements, and District policies and protocols.

When applicable, was a larger community of District community members and/or stakeholders involved in this selection process? If so, what groups and how?

Consistent with the District’s competitive procurement process, the original selection and reselection of the Contractor included a committee of District staff with relevant special education, instructional, programmatic, organizational, information systems technology, and fiscal expertise who reviewed and evaluated Contractor’s RFP responses. The District originally selected PCG to perform its District-wide electronic special education compliance and data management system through a competitive RFP process in 2002. Competitive bids to contract for the continued maintenance, management and development of an electronic special education management system were again solicited and reviewed in the spring of 2012 by means of RFP 316 and in December 2022 through RFP NG10157. Each competitive selection process resulted in the selection of PCG.

Funding Source(s):

FY23-24 IDEA Grant

FY24-25 IDEA Grant

FY25-26 IDEA Grant

Office Originating Request: 
Academic Support

 Office Originating Request: Academic Support