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IDEA Complaint Decision 09-035

On May 1, 2009, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Ripon Area School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district properly considered whether the student required extended school year (ESY) services during the summer of 2009.

ESY services are required special education and related services provided beyond the limits of the school term. These services are provided consistent with a child’s individualized education program (IEP) in order for a child to receive a free appropriate public education. Individualized determinations about each child’s need for ESY services are made through the IEP team process. The IEP team should consider all appropriate factors when determining whether ESY services are necessary.

On February 17, 2009, the IEP team met to conduct an annual review of the student’s IEP. At the meeting, district staff mentioned the possibility of summer school and other options to allow the student to continue her progress in meeting her IEP goals. On March 23, the parent and a district staff member had a phone conversation regarding the parent’s concerns about the student’s standardized test score. The district again suggested summer school and other options for work at home during the summer. On March 31, the parent requested an IEP meeting to discuss the possibility of ESY services.

An IEP team meeting was held on April 27 to determine continuing placement and discuss ESY services. The district presented an agenda which included “introductions, a review of the definitions of Summer School and Extended School Year, Regression/Recoupment Worksheet, and Team Decision.” The district also provided a packet of handouts including definitions of summer school and ESY services, a table comparing the student’s math objectives over summer and winter break, a comparison of the student’s report card grades from the fourth quarter to the first quarter over the past three school years, and the student’s class grades for the current school year with a notation designating breaks when school was not in session. All parties agree a detailed conversation about the student’s potential regression and recoupment was discussed, and the team determined ESY services were not needed for the student. The parent alleges the district failed to consider other factors such as screening and memory issues, standardized test scores, the amount of time it takes the student to meet her math objectives, and the student’s present level of performance when it considered ESY services. Interviews of district staff at the meeting confirm the concerns raised by the parents were addressed in the meeting. The district has a process to address and document parent concerns in IEP team meetings. Further, the parent’s concerns and the team’s decision regarding ESY services are properly documented in the student’s IEP. The district also provided prior written notice of its refusal to provide ESY services.

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

//signed CST 6/29/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy