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IDEA Complaint Decision 09-046

On June 11, 2009, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law against the School District of Black River Falls. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district during the 2008-2009 properly conducted full and complete special education evaluations.

Under federal special education law, complaints must allege a violation that occurred not more than one year prior to the date the complaint is received. Consequently, the department’s review was limited to evaluations conducted June 11, 2008, through June 11, 2009. In conducting its review, the department reviewed evaluations of students named in the complaint and interviewed staff regarding district practices.

The department determined, during this time period, reevaluations were not properly conducted for four students named in the complaint. As part of an initial evaluation and as part of any reevaluation, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team must review existing evaluation data on the child, and on the basis of that review and input from the child’s parents, identify what additional data, if any, are needed to determine whether the child continues to have a disability and the educational needs of the child. District staff acknowledged review of existing data was not consistently part of the district’s reevaluation process. District staff stated additional testing might be conducted if requested by the parent, but there was no individualized review of data. District staff stated rather it was “predetermined” that no additional testing was required. As corrective action, within 30 days from the date of decision, the district will conduct reevaluations for four students named in the complaint. The district must provide the department copies of the reevaluations. The district will also review all reevaluations conducted during the 2008-2009 school year to determine if a review of existing data was properly conducted, and, if not, conduct a reevaluation. This review must be conducted by October 30, 2009, and the district must provide the department documentation of the results of this review. Department staff will also conduct training for all special education staff regarding evaluation procedures.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 8/10/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy