On May 12, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2004-2005 school year:
- Properly responded to the parent's request to review her child's education records prior to an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting;
- Properly responded to the parent's request that her child attend the IEP team meeting;
- Scheduled the meeting at a mutually agreeable time; and
- Properly conducted the meeting without the parent attending.
The parent requested to review her child's cumulative folder in preparation for her child's January 12, 2005, IEP team meeting. On the morning of the meeting, the parent requested the IEP team meeting be rescheduled because she had not received a copy of her child's cumulative folder prior to the meeting. The district rescheduled the IEP team meeting to January 19, 2005, but did not provide the cumulative folder for the parent to review prior to the meeting. The parent had insufficient time to review the file prior to discussing her child's IEP goals.
A school district must permit parents to inspect and review any education records relating to their children that are collected, maintained, or used by the agency. A district must comply with a request without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP. The district unnecessarily delayed responding to the parent's request to review her child's cumulative folder. The district is directed to submit a corrective action plan to the department by September 1, 2005, to ensure that the district responds without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP to a parent's request to inspect and review any education records relating to their children that are collected, maintained, or used by the agency.
The parent alleges her child, who would turn age 14 during the timeframe of his IEP, was denied the opportunity to attend an IEP team meeting for the purpose of discussing transition service needs. Documentation in the February 2, 2005, IEP indicates IEP meetings were scheduled for January 12 and 19, but were cancelled. There is no further documentation of these meetings. The district acknowledges there were no written notices to the parent regarding the January 12 or 19 IEP team meetings. The parent was invited by phone. There is no indication the child was invited to attend the January 12 or 19 IEP team meetings.
A school district must notify the parents of each IEP team meeting and indicate the purpose, time, and location of the meeting, and who will be in attendance. For children age 14, or younger, if appropriate, the notice to the parent must indicate that a purpose of the meeting will be the development of a statement of the transition services needs of the student and must inform the parents that the agency is inviting the student. The district is directed to submit a corrective action plan to the department by September 1, 2005, to ensure that the district properly provides notice to parents prior to conducting an IEP team meeting and invites a student with a disability of any age to attend his or her IEP meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of transition services needs.
The district scheduled the child's IEP team meeting for February 2, 2005, at 11:00 a.m. The parent requested the meeting be scheduled after 3:00 p.m. because of her work schedule. In an email to the parent dated January 26, 2005, the district stated that the meeting could not be scheduled at that time because members of the IEP team were not available. The parent was able to rearrange her work schedule to attend the meeting but on the day of the meeting was unable to attend due to a death in her family. The district phoned the parent and maintains the parent gave consent to proceed with the IEP team meeting in her absence. The parent does not recall giving this consent. The district has offered to meet with the parent to discuss any unresolved issues.
A school district must take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents of a child with a disability are present at each IEP meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate. The parent agreed to the IEP meeting time and date. The district may therefore proceed with the meeting. Following the meeting, the district offered to meet with the parent to go over the IEP and to reconvene another IEP meeting if needed. The district took steps to ensure the parent was afforded the opportunity to participate.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST/SJP 7/7/05
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advoca