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IDEA Complaint Decision 06-027

On May 17, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Johnson Creek School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2005-2006 school year, provided required special education services to a child with a disability utilizing properly licensed teaching staff.

The parents contend the district hired an individual to teach as their daughter’s special education teacher and individualized education program (IEP) case manager, but she did not have a proper license or an emergency license for the 2005-2006 school year. Each school board must ensure that every teacher, supervisor, administrator, and other professional staff member holds a valid certificate, license or permit issued by the department for the position for which he/she is employed before entering on duties for such a position.

The district maintains the teacher, who graduated from a Wisconsin university in May 2005, had applied for an initial license in the area of Learning Disabilities at the Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence level on June 16, 2005, and it was understood a license would be issued by the beginning of the school year. The teacher, however, was hired to teach at the high school level, which required an Early Adolescence to Adolescence level license. On November 7, 2005, the district and teacher submitted to the department a request for an emergency license in the area of Learning Disabilities at the Early Adolescent to Adolescence level. The district should have sought proper level licensure when the teacher was hired. However, following receipt of appropriate documentation, the department determined the teacher was eligible for an initial Learning Disabilities license at the Middle Childhood to Early Adolescence level effective July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2010. On May 18, 2006, the teacher was issued an emergency license for Learning Disabilities at the Early Adolescent to Adolescent level covering the time period of July 1, 2005, to June 30, 2006. The teacher was licensed to teach special education at the level of assignment. The district is cautioned to timely seek proper level licensure upon hiring staff.

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

//signed CST 7/17/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy