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IDEA Complaint Decision 10-061

On September 9, 2010, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) 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 issues are whether the district, during the fall of 2010, provided transportation consistent with a student’s individualized education program (IEP) and, during the spring and fall of 2010, provided supervision pursuant to a student’s IEP.

At the beginning of each school year, each local education agency (LEA) must have an IEP in effect for each child with a disability, and special education and related services must be made available to the student in accordance with the student’s IEP. The district must inform all regular education teachers, special education teachers, related service providers and other service providers of the student of their specific responsibilities related to implementing the student’s IEP.

On September 25, 2009, and June 2 and 14, 2010, IEP team meetings were held for the student for the purpose of reviewing and revising the student’s IEP and determining continuing placement. The student’s mother attended the IEP team meetings. Each IEP included transportation for the student two times per day between home and school. Between September 1 and October 12, 2010, the student’s bus arrived late to school on 16 of 28 days. The student’s first class starts at 8:35 a.m. When the bus was late, the student arrived at school between 8:41 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Because the student was not provided transportation in accordance with his IEP between September 1 and October 12, 2010, the student’s IEP was not properly implemented.

The student’s IEPs, during the spring and fall of 2010, indicate the student navigates within the school building independently and has been independent with his bathroom needs since the 2008-2009 school year. The school’s practice is to provide the student adult supervision on days when the student leaves the school early. When the student leaves school at the regular dismissal time he independently navigates his scooter to the bus transportation loading area where there are approximately eight staff supervising all students. The student’s IEPs do not include specific individual supervision, thus individual supervision is not required.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan (CAP) to the department for approval prior to implementation. The CAP must ensure all children with disabilities attending the student’s high school of attendance are provided transportation in accordance with their IEPs, which includes timely arrival at school. The high school principal is currently working with the bus company to adjust the student’s transportation to ensure timely arrival at school. The district is in the process of developing a CAP for another recent complaint to ensure all staff in district high schools are informed of their specific responsibilities related to implementing IEPs. The school administration, with the special education leadership liaison (SELL) and special education supervisor are establishing a system of supervision to ensure IEPs are properly implemented. The district must conduct an IEP team meeting for the student to consider whether compensatory services are required due to transportation delays. The district must also review the IEPs for all students at the high school who require transportation as a related service, determine if the students regularly arrived at school timely and, if not, conduct an IEP team meeting for each student to determine whether additional services are required because of the untimely arrivals at school due to the failure to provide transportation as described in the IEP. The district must submit documentation of these determinations to the department by December 10, 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 11/5/10
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy