On September 25, 2017 (form dated September 20, 2017), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (parent) against Milwaukee Public Schools (district). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2017-2018 school year, properly determined whether a student with a disability requires specialized transportation as a related service.
The district is required to determine whether a child with a disability needs related services including transportation in order to benefit from special education. The individualized education program (IEP) team must consider how the child's disability affects the child's need for transportation, including determining whether the student's disability prevents him/her from using the same transportation as nondisabled peers, or from getting to school in the same manner as nondisabled peers. If required, related services must be included in the student’s IEP.
August 22, 2017, the district contacted the parent to schedule an annual IEP. On September 5, the district contacted the parent again and informed them that they received the student’s records, including the student’s current IEP, and did not need to hold an annual IEP meeting. On September 7, the parent contacted the district requesting door to door transportation. The district staff member explained to the parent that the student lived outside the school’s neighborhood boundaries and that transportation could not be provided to the school. The parent was upset and ended the phone call. On September 8, the district contacted the parent to set up an IEP meeting to discuss adding transportation to the student’s IEP. The IEP team met on September 13 to address the parent’s concerns and determine whether the student needed transportation to benefit from special education. The parent attended the meeting and stated concerns about the student’s academic progress and behavioral needs. The IEP team considered the parent’s concerns and present level of academic, functional, and behavioral information. Based on the student’s individualized disability related needs, the IEP team determined that the student would require transportation in order to benefit from special education. However, on September 18, a district staff member informed the parent that transportation could not be provided to the residence due to the location and capacity of the buses. The parent responded by stating that transportation was a required IEP service. On September 22, the district informed the parent that transportation was set up, and door to door transportation would begin on September 26. Although the district properly determined that the student required specialized transportation as a related service, the district did not properly implement the IEP because the projected implementation date was September 18, and the transportation services did not begin until September 26.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST 11/21/2017