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IDEA Complaint Decision 09-072

On October 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 issues are whether the district, during the 2008-2009 school year, properly responded to pupil record requests and properly afforded the parent the opportunity to participate in individualized education program (IEP) team meetings.

A district must permit parents to inspect and review any education records relating to their children that are collected, maintained, or used by the district. The district must comply with a request without unnecessary delay before any meeting regarding an IEP and, in no case, more than 45 days after the request had been made. On June 9, 2009, the parent requested, in writing, copies of the student’s records from the district. The district did not respond to the parent’s request until October 29, 2009. On November 11, the parent had an hour phone conversation regarding the student’s records with the district coordinator of student support. During the conversation, the coordinator of student support informed the parent he had located a few more documents which would be mailed to her. On December 4, the parent stated the additional records had not been received. The district acknowledges it did not properly respond to the parent’s request for student records.

A school district must take steps to ensure one or both of the parents of a child with a disability are present at each IEP team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate by other means. On August 31, 2007, January 10, 2008, September 16, 2008, September 25, 2008, December 1, 2008, December 15, 2008, March 12, 2009, and May 5, 2009, the district held IEP team meetings with Waukesha county social workers and the Kenosha county foster parent, but did not provide notice of the IEP team meeting to the parent. The student is no longer enrolled in the district. The district acknowledges it did not properly afford the parent the opportunity to participate in IEP team meetings.

The district is directed to provide the parent, before December 17, copies of the student’s records, including the records located after records were mailed to the parent on October 29, 2009. By December 30, the district must provide the department a written assurance the parent was provided copies of all records requested. The district included, in a November 6 letter to the department, a corrective action plan to ensure the district properly responds to pupil record requests and properly affords parents, regardless of foster parent placement, opportunity to participate in IEP team meetings. This corrective action plan is approved, and documentation demonstrating completion of the corrective action plan activities must be sent to the department by March 1, 2010.

All noncompliance identified above must be corrected as soon as possible, but in no case more than one year from the date of this decision. This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 12/10/09
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy