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IDEA Complaint Decision 08-076

On September 4, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from xxxxx against the School District of Beloit. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2008-2009 school year, properly determined placement of a child with a disability.

On January 8, 2008, an individualized education program (IEP) team determined the student’s placement. The IEP team documented the IEP would not be implemented in the school the student would otherwise attend, because needed related services were not available in the student’s attendance area school. In June 2008, the district contacted the parent by phone and informed her the district was planning to move the related service needed by the student from the school the student attended during 2007-2008 to another school in the district. Neither school was the school the child would otherwise attend if she was not a student with a disability. All parents whose children would be affected by the proposed change were contacted in this manner and were provided an opportunity to meet with district staff. The complainant was pleased with the proposed change and did not request a meeting. Other parents were not supportive and chose to meet with the district and share their concerns.

After receiving input from other parents, the district decided not to move the related services to a new location. As a result, the student’s placement would remain as written in the student’s current IEP. A district staff person contacted the parent by phone the last week in August and informed the parent of the district’s final decision. The parent did not approve and wanted the district to change the student’s school as proposed. A meeting was held with the parent on September 10, 2008, to discuss the district’s decision and the parent’s concerns. District administration explained the student needed to attend the school of placement in order to receive the related services prescribed in the student’s IEP. This meeting was not an IEP team meeting.

An IEP team meeting must be held before changing a student’s placement. In this case, the district proposed relocating needed related services to a new school; but in the end, no change was made. No IEP team meeting was held and none was required. The IEP team decision regarding the student’s placement was not changed. The district has scheduled an IEP team meeting to discuss the parent’s request to change the student’s placement.

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

//signed CST 10/9/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy