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IDEA Complaint Decision 09-071

On November 3, 2009, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district on September 10, 2009, properly included the student’s regular education teacher at an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting.

Special education law requires the district to ensure the IEP team for each student with a disability includes the parent of the child; not less than one regular education teacher of the student (if the student is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment); not less than one special education teacher of the student; and a representative of the local education agency (LEA). A member of the IEP team may be excused from attending an IEP team meeting, in whole or in part, when the meeting involves a modification to, or discussion of, the member’s area of the curriculum or related services if the parent, in writing, and the district agree to the excusal, and the IEP team member submits, in writing to the parent and the IEP team, input into the development of the IEP prior to the meeting.

Although the student did not currently have a regular education teacher, the student may participate in the regular education environment, and the district recognized the obligation to include a regular education teacher. On September 10, 2009, the special services supervisor acted as both the representative of the LEA and the regular education teacher. The special services supervisor has a secondary regular education license and is knowledgeable about age appropriate development and curriculum for a student in this age group. In this case, because the student did not have a regular education teacher, the special services supervisor can serve in both roles. The district properly included a regular education teacher at the September 10, 2009, IEP team meeting.

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

//signed CST 12/17/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy