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IDEA Complaint Decision 10-032

On May 7, 2010, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, in May 2010, scheduled an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting at a mutually agreed-upon time.

On April 22, 2010, a special education teacher called the child’s parent to schedule a date and time for an IEP team meeting. The parent explained she was unavailable until after May 5. The special education teacher and the parent were unable to agree upon a date and time. Later in the day on April 22, a special education supervisor with the school social worker and special education teacher in the room, called the child’s parent to determine an agreeable time and date for an IEP team meeting. The special education supervisor explained to the parent the purpose of the IEP team meeting. In addition, the special education supervisor explained the meeting would need to be held without the parent if they were unable to agree upon a date and time. The special education supervisor and the parent were unable to agree upon a date and time.

On April 26, 30, and May 3 invitations to an IEP team meeting scheduled for May 10, 2010, were mailed to the child’s parent. The district invitation includes a statement that if for any reason the parent is unable to attend the meeting they offer the opportunity to participate by other means including but not limited to rescheduling the meeting if timelines allow, individual or conference telephone call, sending the parent an advance draft IEP for parent input, and scheduling a staff/parent conference prior to the IEP meeting for parent input. On May 4, the parent left a voice mail message and requested they change the May 10 meeting to an annual IEP meeting. On May 6 and May 7, the special education supervisor left messages on the parent’s home phone stating the IEP team meeting on May 10 would be changed to an annual meeting, as the parent requested. On May 7, a revised invitation to the IEP team meeting was sent to the parent in the mail, and a copy sent with the child’s homework. The purpose of the meeting was to develop an annual IEP. The child’s parent and a parent advocate attended the May 10 IEP team meeting.

The district must take steps to ensure the parents of a child are present at an IEP team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate. The district must notify the parents of the meeting early enough to ensure they have an opportunity to attend and schedule the meeting at a mutually agreed-upon time and place. If the child’s parents are not able to attend, the district must use other methods to ensure parent participation, including individual or conference telephone calls. The district made reasonable attempts to notify the parent, and it was early enough so the parent had the opportunity to either attend the meeting or request the meeting to be rescheduled if the date and/or time were not convenient. The parent was able to attend the IEP team meeting. The district took steps to schedule the child’s IEP team meeting at a mutually agreed upon time and properly notified the child’s parent of the IEP team meeting.

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

//signed CST 6/23/10
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy