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IDEA Complaint Decision 11-041

On October 14, 2011 (form dated October 14, 2011), the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Waterford Graded J1 School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2011-12 school year, properly changed the student's placement.

On May 25, 2011, an individualized education program (IEP) annual team meeting was held to review and revise the student’s IEP and to begin discussion on changing the placement due to increased student behavioral incidents. The mother was present at the meeting. The May 25 notice of placement indicates the IEP team discussed changing placement and that discussion would continue into the next school year. At that time, no decision was made with regard to a change in placement.

Between September 13 and October 11, 2011, the student’s behavioral incidents increased in both intensity and frequency. On October 12, an IEP team meeting was held to determine changing the student’s placement. The mother and father were present at the IEP team meeting. The IEP team determined a change in placement was necessary because of the student’s needs related to behavior. The new placement provided the student smaller class size and more individualized attention. Other options, including the school the student would otherwise attend if nondisabled, were discussed and reasons were documented as to why they were rejected. Both parents were also provided an opportunity to tour possible new placements. The October 12 “Determination and Notice of Placement” form indicates the new placement began on October 24. The father requested that the date be changed to October 31, and this change was made. On October 31, the child started the new placement.

In Wisconsin, an IEP team must determine the special education placement for a student with a disability. The placement decision must be made based on the student’s IEP and individualized needs. In this case, the district properly changed the student’s placement through the IEP team process, and the determination was based on the unique needs of the student and the IEP.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing. You may contact Suzan Van Beaver, Special Education Team, at (608) 267-9168 if you have any questions about this decision or for technical assistance.

//signed CST 12/12/2011
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy