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IDEA Complaint Decision 06-038

On August 8, 2006 (letter dated July 15), the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Wisconsin Rapids School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2005-2006 school year, properly ensured that a student’s parent and guardian, who is the student’s uncle, were involved in deciding whether additional data was needed to determine the student’s eligibility for special education services and participated in individualized education program (IEP) team meetings.

On September 15 and 16, 2005, the district met first with the child’s parent to discuss whether additional testing was needed to determine eligibility for special education services. The parent wanted additional testing. On October 11, the parent provided written consent for additional testing. The social worker scheduled meetings with the parent for November 3, 4 and 7, to obtain information needed for the evaluation but the parent did not attend. Between November 1 and 9, the school psychologist contacted the parent four times via phone; the parent did not return a response. The child last attended school on November 1. On November 9, the uncle, who became the child’s guardian, formally withdrew the child from the district to provide home schooling. After the child was withdrawn from school, the district did not contact the parent or guardian to complete the evaluation.

Local educational agencies must identify and evaluate children with disabilities residing in the district, including children who are being home schooled by their parents (receiving private home-based educational services). The district was required to complete the evaluation of the student unless the parent or guardian withdrew consent for evaluation prior to its completion. In this case, the parent and guardian want the evaluation completed even though they have withdrawn the child. The district recently met with the guardian in September, 2006, to discuss completion of the evaluation and to reconvene an IEP team to determine the child’s eligibility for special education services. The district must expedite the evaluation and complete it no later than 30 days from the date of this decision. If the child is determined to be a child with a disability the IEP team must determine whether the child requires additional services due to the delay in completing the evaluation. Within 30 days of receiving this decision, the district must submit propose corrective action to the department to ensure that special education evaluations are completed within required time limits.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 10/9/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy