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IDEA Complaint Decision 09-055

On August 3, 2009 (form dated July 30), the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Melrose-Mindoro School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, in May 2009, properly documented the individualized education program (IEP) team decision regarding the provision of a special education aide, and properly responded to a parent request for an IEP team meeting in June 2009.

The parents allege the IEP team did not properly document in their child’s IEP the provision for a special education aide. On May 21, 2009, the parents sent an e-mail to the district requesting an aide be assigned full-time to their child. On May 22, 2009, an IEP team meeting was held to review the child’s current IEP. The parents requested an aide be assigned full-time to their child, and a discussion ensued. The IEP team determined the child continues to need adult assistance because of significant developmental delays.

Department staff interviewed the district special education director and special education teacher, each of whom indicated the IEP team, including the parents, discussed extensively the child’s need for aide assistance. The IEP team determined the child would need adult assistance during certain circumstances. Under supplemental aids and supports, the IEP stated the child “requires adult assistance for staying on task, safety and learning new skills when the student is not attending to or engaged during routines and instructional times. The classroom aide will be dedicated to the student during individual academic tasks.” At the close of the IEP meeting, the district staff understood a consensus was reached regarding the amount of adult assistance available to the child during the school day.

On June 2, the parents requested an IEP team meeting regarding their disagreement with the amount of aide time assigned to their child. On June 3, the special education director responded by offering IEP team meeting dates. The parents indicated their preference to meet with the school attorney or superintendent. During the week of June 8, the parents met with the superintendent and, following the meeting the administrator, believed the parents’ concerns were resolved. Changes were made to the IEP as agreed in this meeting and a revised copy of the IEP was sent to the parents. On June 17, the parents e-mailed the district stating not all corrections to the IEP were made. The parents subsequently filed an IDEA complaint. The district properly responded to the parents’ request for an IEP team meeting and properly documented the IEP team’s decision regarding the provision of a special education aide. The district offered meeting times, but the parents chose to address their concerns to the district administrator and did not request another IEP team meeting.

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

//signed CST 9/29/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy