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IDEA Complaint Decision 17-083

On November 30, 2017 (form dated November 28, 2017), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the department. This is the department’s decision regarding the complaint. The issues are whether the department, on November 1, 2017, failed to issue a written decision regarding complaint 17-061 within 60 calendar days of receipt by the department, and provided the complainant with the opportunity to submit additional information, either orally or in writing, about the allegations in the complaint.

Under federal and state special education law, the department is responsible for issuing written complaint decisions within 60 calendar days of the receipt of the complaint. Department staff determined a clerical error was made when calculating the 60-day timeline for complaint 17-061. This led to the decision being issued 61 days after the department’s receipt of the complaint. The department acknowledges and apologizes for the error. We have reviewed and revised our internal procedures to ensure the clerical error does not reoccur. Since the error was clerical in nature and the decision did not identify noncompliance, no further corrective action is required.

Wisconsin Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) complaint procedures require department investigators to provide complainants an opportunity to submit additional information either orally or in writing about the allegations in the complaint. The department’s investigator reviewed the information submitted by the complainant in 17-061 and determined existing information was sufficient and did not contact the complainant by telephone as part of the investigation. The department apologizes and has reviewed this requirement with all complaint investigators to ensure that this opportunity is provided in every investigation. The department has also reviewed and revised its complaint investigation practices to ensure complainants and school districts are consistently advised early in the complaint process of their opportunity to present additional information regarding complaint allegations either orally or in writing.

The complainant also raises concerns in complaint 17-083 that the department has addressed in previous complaint decisions. Decisions issued in response to allegations raised in complaints are final for the IDEA State Complaint process. Wisconsin IDEA complaint procedures do not permit the appeal of complaint decisions. However, consistent with federal law, if a complainant disagrees with the department’s decision, the complainant may initiate alternative dispute resolutions such as mediation or due process, provided that the issue raised is a subject matter that can be heard by a hearing officer and is within the one year statute of limitation.


//signed CST 1/29/2018
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support
CST:mm