On October 2, 2015, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the River Valley School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether, on August 20, 2015, the district properly determined extended school year (ESY) services, and whether the district, during the 2015-16 school year, properly provided prior written notice in response to the parent’s request for ESY services.
ESY services are special education and related services required by the student’s individualized education program (IEP), and provided beyond the school term. A school district is required to provide ESY services to a student when the student requires such services to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). In determining whether ESY services are required, the IEP team should consider multiple factors, including the likelihood of regression and the recovery time from this regression. The primary issue is whether the progress the student made during the regular school year will be significantly jeopardized if the student does not receive ESY services during the summer. The ESY services must be tailored to the unique needs of the student and may not be based solely on the availability of services during the summer.
An IEP team must work toward consensus, but the district has the ultimate authority and responsibility to determine and provide FAPE to students with disabilities. If the IEP team cannot reach consensus, the district must provide the parent with prior written notice of the district’s proposals or refusals, or both, regarding the child’s educational program, and the parent has the right to seek resolution of any disagreements using dispute resolution options.
In early August 2015, the district provided the parent data from math and reading assessments, including a summary of the data. The summary contained an explanation of the data within the context of the student’s potential for regression and recoupment following school breaks. The summary also contained an explanation of the student’s performance in relation to the student’s peers with disabilities, as well as peers without disabilities. Finally, the summary addressed the student’s progress towards meeting the annual IEP goals. The student’s parent reviewed the data and corresponding summary.
On August 20, 2015, the student’s IEP team met to consider whether the student required ESY services. Based on an audio recording of the meeting, the IEP team considered the student’s history of skill regression and recoupment following school breaks and discussed student-specific academic data. The IEP team determined that the student’s progress made during the regular school year was not significantly jeopardized following summer breaks, and the student did not require ESY services. The student’s parent did not agree with the IEP team’s determination. The IEP team properly determined extended school year services.
Following the meeting, the district provided the parent a written explanation of why the IEP team determined the student did not require ESY services. The explanation contained a description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, and report the district used as a basis for the determination, a statement that the parent has protection under the procedural safeguards of special education law, the means by which a copy of a description of the procedural safeguards can be obtained, and the department’s contact information. The district properly provided prior written notice in response to the parent’s request for ESY services.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST 12/1/2015
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support