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IDEA Complaint Decision 08-015

On February 1, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district in January 2008 properly determined a student’s placement.

On January 18, 2008, an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting was held to determine eligibility, develop an annual IEP, functional behavioral assessment, behavior intervention plan, determine compensatory services and determine placement. The child's mother and grandmother attended the IEP team meeting. The child's mother explained to the IEP team that her son was a fifth grade student. However, when he enrolled at the middle school on November 27 the computer records indicated he was a sixth grade student. In addition, because the child's mother did not respond to an offer of a three year special education reevaluation by October 31, 2007, the student was erroneously identified as a regular education student per computer records. The IEP team, including the child's mother, agreed to continue the student's sixth grade status. The IEP team also agreed that "there was a lapse of free and appropriate public education and there is no need for compensatory services." The student's placement continued at the middle school.

On January 25, 2008, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student's IEP, and determine placement. The child's mother and a parent advocate attended the IEP team meeting. The determination and notice of placement indicates the student's placement continued at the middle school. In addition, the other options considered indicate the IEP team was in agreement the student should be moved to fifth grade status and be placed in a different placement at an elementary school. The student's attendance record indicates the student continued to attend the middle school until after the February 8 IEP team meeting.

On February 8, 2008, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student's IEP, determine compensatory services and placement. The child's mother did not attend the IEP Team meeting. The IEP team determined the student's placement would be at an elementary school beginning February 13 and compensatory services will be provided during the summer of 2008. In addition, an IEP team will name a school placement for Fall 2008 at a K-8 school in a different placement. On February 13 the student began attending the elementary school.

In January and February 2008, the IEP team properly determined the student’s placement considering the unique needs of the child and a consensus was reached. Compensatory services were also determined. No further student specific corrective action is required. In addition, the district recognizes when a school receives a student with a disability, they must ensure that there is no interruption in the student’s special education and related services. Recent computer program changes at the district level have been made to ensure computer misidentification of student's status will not occur in the future. The department will continue to work with the district to ensure the efficacy of the computer program.

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

//signed CST 4/1/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy