On July 13, 2016, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of New Berlin. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2015-16 school year, properly conducted a special education evaluation in all areas related to the student’s suspected disabilities and properly developed an individualized education program (IEP) based upon the evaluation.
A district must reevaluate a student with a disability if the district determines the educational or related services needs of the student, including the student’s academic performance, warrant a reevaluation, or if the child’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation. The IEP team shall reevaluate a student no more frequently than once a year unless the student’s parent and district agree otherwise, and at least once every three years unless the student’s parent and district agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary. The evaluation must be sufficiently comprehensive to identify all of the child’s special education and related service needs. As part of any reevaluation, the IEP team, which includes the parent, must review existing evaluation data and identify what additional data, if any, are needed to determine whether the student continues to have a disability and the educational needs of the student. Within 15 business days of the notice of reevaluation, the district must send the student’s parent a request for consent for additional testing or notice that no additional testing is necessary. The IEP team must convene and determine eligibility within 60 days of receiving parental consent for reevaluation or notifying parents that no additional assessments are needed. Within 30 days after a reevaluation, the IEP team must review and revise the student’s IEP, as appropriate.
On March 11, 2016, the district notified the parent that the district had determined a reevaluation was needed to consider additional potential areas of educational need and special education eligibility. The parent participated in the review of existing data. Documentation from the review of existing data indicates additional information was needed to consider eligibility for intellectual disability (ID), specific learning disability (SLD) and speech and language impairment (SL). On March 22, 2016, the district requested the parent’s consent to administer additional assessments to collect data on intellectual functioning, adaptive behavior, academic achievement, and speech and language. The parent provided consent on March 23, 2016. The IEP team met on May 6, 2016, to conduct the evaluation and develop an IEP. At that time, the IEP reviewed existing data, information provided by the parent, and current assessments and observations. The IEP team considered eligibility for ID, SL and Other Health Impairment (OHI), but did not address SLD, even though it was an area to be considered. The IEP team met again on June 2, 2016, to develop the student’s annual IEP. The IEP developed on June 2, was based on the reevaluation.
The district has acknowledged it did not conduct a comprehensive evaluation on May 6, 2016, when it failed to consider SLD. The district has requested permission from the parent to conduct another reevaluation within one year. Subsequent to the request, the parent asked the district to consider whether the student has a visual impairment. The district will be adding this area to the reevaluation. The parent is also in the process of obtaining an independent educational evaluation (IEE). If the parent grants the district’s request for consent to conduct additional testing, the district will proceed with the comprehensive reevaluation. The district will convene an IEP team meeting to consider the new evaluation results, including information from the IEE, and review and revise, as appropriate, the student’s IEP. The district has agreed to consider the need for compensatory services should the reevaluation identify additional needs that were not addressed in the IEP developed on June 2, 2016. The district will provide the department with a copy of the reevaluation and revised IEP within 10 days of its completion including documentation of the consideration of the need for compensatory services. No further corrective action is required.
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 9/9/2016
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support