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IDEA State Complaints

Dispute Resolution

Any individual or organization may file a complaint with the Department of Public Instruction if they believe a public agency has violated state requirements under Chapter 115, Wis. Stats., or PI 11 Wis. Admin. Code, or federal requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) when providing special education programs. The complainant must allege a violation that occurred not more than one year prior to the date that the complaint is received. The party filing the complaint must forward a copy of the complaint to the LEA serving the child at the same time the party files the complaint with DPI.

Complaints must be in writing and must be signed. They also must include:

  • A statement that a public agency has violated special education law.
  • The facts on which the statement is based.
  • The contact information for the complainant.
  • If the complaint alleges violations with respect to a specific child--
    • the name of the child;
    • the child's residence address;
    • the name of the school the child attends;
    • a description of the nature of the problem of the child, including facts relating to the problem; and
    • proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the party at the time the complaint is filed.

The department must provide the school district or other LEA with the opportunity to respond to the complaint by proposing a resolution of the complaint and by agreeing with the parent who filed the complaint to voluntarily engage in mediation.

The department must investigate a complaint and issue a written decision within 60 days of receiving it. The department can take longer than 60 days if exceptional circumstances exist, such as the parent and school district agreeing to an extension in order to participate in mediation. If as a result of its investigation of the complaint the department finds that the public agency has violated requirements relating to special education, the public agency will be required to develop and implement a plan to correct the violations.

The department has developed a model IDEA State Complaint form [English fillable Complaint Form / Formulario de queja sobre el programa IDEA a nivel estatale / xeev tsab cai IDEA daim foos tsis txaus siab] for complainants to use, though they are not required to use it.

Please send a copy of the signed complaint (if mailed, without staples) to:

Special Education Team
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
P. O. Box 7841
Madison, Wisconsin 53707-7841
FAX: (608) 267-3746

WI DPI Complaint Procedures

WI DPI Complaint Decisions