On September 27, 2017 (form dated September 11, 2017), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (parent) against the Racine Unified School District (district). This is the department’s decision regarding this complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2017-2018 school year, properly made changes to the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability.
IEP teams must meet at least annually to review the student’s IEP and determine placement. After the annual review meeting, school districts may make changes to the IEP of a student with a disability without convening an IEP team meeting if the student’s parent and the district agree. Following this agreement, the district may develop a written document to amend or modify the student’s current IEP.
The student who is the subject of this complaint has an IEP requiring specialized transportation as a related service. During the 2016-2017 school year, in order to minimize the time the student spent on the school bus, the student was last to be picked up on the way to school, and first to be dropped off at home at the end of the school day. Although this arrangement had been discussed at the student’s annual IEP team meeting on November 28, 2016, the details were not included in the student’s IEP. At the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year the student was not the last to be picked up on the way to school. The student’s parent was concerned the student was spending too much time on the school bus, causing the student physical discomfort upon arrival at school. The parent contacted the school to reinstate the arrangement of the previous school year.
On September 8, 2017, district staff added detail to the student’s IEP to clarify the student’s specific transportation needs. District records indicate the correction was to correct a clerical error. Although the district and the parent had been in communication regarding the student’s transportation situation, district staff did not contact the parent to secure agreement to make changes to the IEP outside of an IEP team meeting. As such, the district improperly changed the student’s IEP. The student’s transportation has since been rectified, and the student’s IEP team is in process of completing the student’s annual IEP at the time of this decision. No further student-specific correction is required. The district must develop and implement corrective actions to ensure at the student’s school, changes are made to student’s IEPs without meetings only after securing parent agreement. The department will verify the student’s school is in compliance with this requirement.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST 11/27/2017
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support