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IDEA Complaint Decision 07-076

On October 26, 2007, 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 regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district in October 2007 properly notified a parent of an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting.

On October 22, the student’s father was informed by phone that an IEP team meeting would be held October 23. The student’s father informed the district staff he would not be able to attend the meeting on such short notice, and it was agreed the IEP team meeting would be rescheduled for October 31. Nonetheless, on October 23 the district sent to the student’s father a written notice and informed him by phone that an IEP team meeting would be held on October 23. Later on October 23, the father was contacted again by phone and the date and time of the October 31 IEP team meeting was confirmed. On Monday, October 29, the student’s father was sent a written notice that an IEP team meeting would be held on Wednesday, October 31, to review and revise the child’s IEP, develop a transition statement, and determine continuing placement. The student’s parents did not attend the meeting. The student’s parents have difficulty receiving mail in a timely manner due to an unusually similar address in the neighborhood and stated they did not receive the October 29 notice before the October 31 meeting.

A district must provide parents a reasonable time prior to IEP team meetings notice which includes the purpose, time, and location of IEP team meetings, who is expected to attend, and the parent’s right to bring other persons with knowledge or expertise about the child. On October 22 and 23, by phone, the district staff informed the father of the date and time of the October 31 IEP team meeting, but did not discuss the other information required in the notice of IEP team meetings. A written notice containing the required information for the October 31 IEP team meeting was not sent by United States Postal Services until October 29. Two days prior to the meeting was not sufficient time to ensure delivery of the notice to the parent and the parent did not attend the meeting. On November 16, 2007, another IEP team meeting was held for this student. In this case the notice was delivered to the student’s home by an assistant principal on November 15 after a parent phone call. The student no longer attends the school, and no further student specific corrective action is required.

By January 18, 2008, the district must review and revise, if needed, special education procedures to ensure prior notice, which includes all required information is provided to parents a reasonable time before an IEP team meeting is held. All special education leadership liaisons, special services supervisors, and special education teachers must be provided training on the procedures to ensure notices are timely and provide all required information to parents. By February 15, 2008, the district must send to DPI a copy of the district procedures and a signed assurance that all identified staff has been provided training.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 12/19/07
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy