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IDEA Complaint Decision 16-005

On January 27, 2016 (forms dated January 22, and 25, 2016), 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 issue is whether the district, during the 2015-16 school year, provided the parent proper notice of who would be in attendance at a November 2015 IEP team meeting.

A district must ensure that the IEP team for each student with a disability includes the student’s parent, at least one regular education teacher of the student (if the student is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment), at least one special education teacher or provider of the student, and a local educational agency (LEA) representative, an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, and whenever appropriate, the student with a disability. At the discretion of the parent or the district, other individuals may be included who have knowledge or special expertise about the student. The determination of whether the individual has the required knowledge or expertise is made by the party who invited the individual to be a member of the IEP team.

The district must notify parents of the IEP team meeting early enough to ensure that they will have an opportunity to attend. The notice must indicate the purpose, time, and location of the IEP team meeting and who will be in attendance. In describing who will be in attendance, the name and position of the individual should be given.

The IEP team meeting invitation (dated November 11, 2015) included a list of individuals appointed as IEP team participants who would be in attendance at the November 23, 2015 meeting. The list included the name and title of each of the required IEP team participants, as well as the name of the district’s attorney. Neither state nor federal special education law prohibits attorneys from attending IEP team meetings, and a party may invite them, at their discretion. However, in the meeting notice, no title was provided.

For the child’s next IEP team meeting scheduled for February 19, 2016, the district again failed to identify the titles of two individuals listed as IEP team participants on the notice provided February 8, 2016. The district’s director of special education recognized this error upon review of the paperwork and immediately (the same day) issued a new notice that included the titles of the two individuals. The director of special education now reviews IEP team meeting invitations to ensure proper notification. The district has corrected their practice to ensure future invitations to IEP team meetings include proper notification. No further corrective action is required.

This concludes our review of this complaint. 

//signed CST 3/7/2016
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support