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IDEA Complaint Decision 09-028

On April 15, 2009, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Kenosha Unified School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, in May 2008, properly obtained parental consent for initial provision of special education.

A school district must conduct a full and individual evaluation before the initial provision of special education and related services to a student with a disability. If, upon initial evaluation, the student is found eligible for special education, the student’s individual education program (IEP) team develops an IEP and placement for the student. Following development of the IEP, the school district must, after providing written notice, obtain informed consent from the student’s parent before initial special education placement.

On February 19, 2008, a school building team meeting was held to discuss the student’s needs and general education interventions to address the student’s needs. The meeting was not an IEP team meeting. The building team determined a special education referral was required. The student’s schedule was also adjusted so the student could receive support from a special education teacher in the resource room. The student began receiving special education support for a portion of the school day beginning on February 19, 2008. At the time, the student had not yet been found eligible for special education and no IEP had been developed. No parental consent was requested or provided prior to the initiation of special education services.

On March 3, 2008, the district initiated a special education referral. IEP team meetings were held on March 11, April 22, and May 1, 2008, to determine whether the student met initial eligibility criteria for special education and to develop the student’s IEP. Following concerns raised by the student’s parent, the special education support services the student had been receiving since February were stopped on April 22, 2008, because the district realized it did not have appropriate parental consent to provide special education.

On May 1, 2008, the student was found eligible for special education services, and an initial IEP and placement was developed. The parent provided written consent for placement on May 15, 2008, and the student’s IEP was implemented. The district improperly provided special education services to the student between February 19 and April 22, 2008.

The student is no longer enrolled in the district so there is no student specific corrective action. Within 30 days from the date of this decision, the district must submit to the department a corrective action plan to ensure the district obtains informed parental consent for each student with a disability before the initial provision of special education and related services to the student and after an IEP team has appropriately determined the student is an eligible student with a disability and has developed an IEP and placement.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 6/11/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy