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IDEA Complaint Decision 05-027

On April 28, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Kettle Moraine. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2004-2005 school year, properly determined a student's eligibility for special education and related services.

On September 27, 2004, the school district completed a referral form for special education and related services for the child. A local educational agency (LEA) must notify the parents of the child of any evaluation procedures the agency proposes to conduct, the qualifications of the individuals who will conduct the evaluation and their names, if known. On September 28, 2004, the district completed and sent a notice of receipt of referral and start of initial evaluation to the parents. This form indicated the school district participants appointed to the child's individualized education program (IEP) team, which included a school psychologist who also served as the LEA representative, an elementary education teacher, and a special education teacher licensed in the area of emotional behavioral disorders.

The local educational agency proposing to conduct an initial evaluation must obtain informed consent from the child's parent before administering tests or other evaluation materials. On September 28, 2004, a notice and consent regarding the need to conduct additional tests was sent to the parents stating the area to be evaluated was emotional functioning. On October 1, 2004, the mother gave written consent for the school district to administer tests and other evaluation materials as part of the initial evaluation.

On December 1, 2004, the IEP team meeting which included the mother was held to determine eligibility for the child in the area of emotional behavioral disability. When identifying if a child has an emotional behavioral disability, the IEP team must rely on a variety of sources of information, including systematic observations of the child in a variety of educational settings and must have reviewed prior, documented interventions. Documentation in the December 2004 IEP includes diagnostic information from a variety of sources, a description of observations by classroom teachers, and the diagnostician and attendance data. The IEP team reviewed prior interventions including support from staff for math and reading and behavioral interventions to assist the child's attendance at school. The IEP team administered tests and other evaluation materials needed to determine whether the child is a child with an emotional behavioral disability. The IEP team also discussed and completed an eligibility worksheet for emotional behavioral disability which addresses each element of state eligibility crieteria for this disability category. The IEP team concluded that the child is not a child with an emotional behavioral disability. The school district followed the required state and federal procedures in determining the child's eligibility for special education and related services.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed 6/27/05
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy