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IDEA Complaint Decision 05-026

On April 25, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the department's decision for that complaint. The issue is whether the district failed to determine whether a child is a child with a disability within the required timeline following a parent's request for an evaluation in November 2004.

When a district receives a referral for a child, it must appoint an IEP team to evaluate the child. The IEP team must complete its evaluation, develop an IEP for the child, and notify the parent of the child's placement within 90 days of receipt of the referral, unless the parent agrees to an extension or the department grants one. The district acknowledges that it did not respond timely to the mother's request for an evaluation of her son. On November 16, 2004, the child's mother requested an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting to evaluate her son. Following receipt of the referral, district staff repeatedly attempted to obtain the parent's consent to administer tests and other evaluation materials as part of this child's initial evaluation. The district acknowledges that it did not request that the parent agree to an extension of the 90 day time limit to complete the evaluation until after the 90 days had elapsed on February 14, 2005. On February 23, 2005, the child's mother signed the parent consent form for evaluation and agreed to extend the timeline for completing the evaluation until March 24, 2005. On May 12 the child's mother was notified of the child's placement. On May 26 an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the child's IEP and determine compensatory services.

The special education leadership liaison (SELL) has met with the administrator at the school as well as members of the IEP team to ensure that in response to a parent request, the district evaluates a child with a disability in a timely manner. In addition the district is conducting a data analysis of all referrals and evaluations for which the SELL, building coordinator/school psychologist, or diagnostic teacher served on initial evaluation IEP teams during the past twelve months. The district must review the data and events in cases where evaluations were completed beyond the 90 days without an extension agreed to by the parent or granted by the department. By July 15, 2005, the district must submit to the department a written report of the findings identifying any problems or barriers to timely completion of evaluations. After the report is submitted the district, working with department staff, will develop a corrective action plan to address any problems and barriers found and conduct training or other activities. Because IEP team meetings were held on May 5, 12, and 26, 2005, for the purpose of completing the evaluation requested by the parent, developing an IEP and determining compensatory services due to the delay in providing services, additional child specific corrective action is not required.

This concludes our investigation of this complaint.

//signed 6/22/05
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy