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IDEA Complaint Decision 05-015

On April 1, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Eau Claire Area School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2004-2005 school year:

  • Ensured that the student's teachers were informed of their responsibilities for implementing the individualized education program (IEP); and
  • Implemented a student's IEP regarding use of books on tape and provision of a modified English course.

The parents allege a regular education teacher was not aware of her responsibilities for implementing portions of their child's 2004-2005 IEP. At the March 15, 2005, IEP team meeting, the parent states the regular education teacher told her she had not read the youth's 2004-2005 IEP. In response to this issue, the district maintains all teachers with IEP responsibilities are informed of their responsibilities through a written document provided to the teachers at the beginning of the school year and through informal meetings with the special education teacher. The district provided the department with copies of the 2004 and 2005 IEP notification document written to inform the youth's regular education teacher of her responsibilities. Included in these documents were the youth's disability, strengths and weaknesses, current goals, and a brief overview of how to accommodate him in the regular classroom. The department confirmed that the teacher received this form. The department concludes the district ensured staff responsible for implementing portions of the youth's IEP were properly informed of their responsibilities.

The parents contend their child did not consistently receive books on tape for the English course during the 2004-2005 school year. Three staff members indicate the books on tape were provided to the youth when appropriate and when he asked for them. The staff also state the books on tape were not provided when 1) material was read aloud in class, 2) the student did not request taped material, and 3) a book was ordered from another library. The 2004-2005 IEP includes a provision for books on tape, which states "X will ask for materials to be read aloud and for book on tape as needed." The department was not able to determine whether or not the books on tape were provided because the language of an IEP objective was not written with sufficient specificity to be clear to parents, IEP team members, and responsible district staff. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan to the department to ensure that special education staff understand how to write objectives with sufficient specificity. The district will also hold a new IEP team meeting before school begins in the fall to address this issue in this student's IEP.

The parents maintain their child did not receive a modified English course from the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year. On March 11, 2004, an IEP was written to include a modified English course for the duration of the 2004 spring semester. As indicated in the IEP, the district was not required to provide a modified English course to the student beginning in the fall of 2004-2005.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 5/31/05
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy