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IDEA Complaint Decision 18-036

On April 3, 2018, 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 that complaint. The issues are whether the district since April 3, 2017:
  • Properly developed the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability;
  • Properly changed the student’s educational placement;
  • Properly implemented the student’s IEP;
  • Properly responded to a request from the student’s parent for an evaluation; and
  • Properly responded to the parent’s request for pupil records.

A school district must provide each child with a disability a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). A school district meets its obligation to provide FAPE to a child with a disability, in part, by providing the special education services specified in the student’s IEP. Staff responsible for implementing the student’s IEP must be informed of their specific responsibilities.

In Wisconsin, placements of students with disabilities must be determined by IEP teams in conformity with LRE requirements. The placement determination must be based on the child’s individual needs as specified in the IEP; be determined at least annually; be as close as possible to the student’s home; and, unless the student requires some other arrangement, in the school the student would attend if not disabled. Students with disabilities should not be removed from education in an age-appropriate regular education classroom solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum. Removal from the regular education environment should only occur if the nature or severity of a student’s disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Five IEP team meetings were conducted to determine IEP services including placement between April 3, 2017, and April 3, 2018. The IEP team meetings were conducted on February 2, 2017; May 11, 2017; September 6, 2017; January 11, 2018; and January 25, 2018. Each IEP team meeting had a properly constituted IEP team. The student’s parent attended the IEP team meetings held on May 11, 2017; September 6, 2017; January 11, 2018; and January 25, 2018. The IEP developed during each of these meetings included all required components. The district ensured the IEP team provided the student’s parent a notice of the student’s placement following each IEP team meeting and before any changes were implemented. Each placement was made with consideration and in conformity with LRE requirements. The district ensured IEP teams properly determined the student’s placement at IEP team meetings occurring between April 3, 2017 and April 3, 2018.

Between April 3, 2017, and May 11, 2017, the student’s IEP included the supplementary aid and service of a daily behavior sheet each day to track the student’s behavior and keep the student’s parents up to date on the student’s behavior within the school setting. A review of documents and interviews with district staff and the student’s parent indicate these behavior sheets were not provided to the parent each day between April 3, 2017, and May 11, 2017. At the student’s January 25, 2018, IEP team meeting the student’s parent requested progress reports be sent home weekly, and this was added as a supplementary aid and service. Interviews with district staff and documents show weekly progress reports were not provided to the parent as required by the IEP. The special education teacher is in the process of developing a communication system with the parent. The district did not properly implement the student’s IEP with regards to providing daily behavior sheets and weekly progress reports to the parent.

On January 25, 2018, at an IEP team meeting, the student’s parent requested the student be reevaluated due to academic and behavioral concerns. In conducting a reevaluation, the parent must first be provided with a notice of reevaluation. The notice explains the reevaluation process, informs the parents of the IEP team participants, and identifies the functions the IEP team will perform. After the parent receives notice of the reevaluation, IEP team members must conduct a review of existing data. On February 2, 2018, the parent was provided a notice of reevaluation. Between

February 8, 2018, and February 12, 2018, IEP team members, including the student’s parent, conducted a review of existing data. Following this review, the IEP team determined additional assessments were needed. On February 12, 2018, the parent was provided a form providing notice and requesting consent to conduct the additional assessments. On February 12, 2018, the parent gave written consent for the district to administer the assessments. On April 11, 2018, the district held an IEP team meeting to determine continuing eligibility and the needs of the child within 60 days from receiving the parent’s consent. The district properly responded to the parent’s request for a reevaluation.

A school district must permit parents to inspect and review any education records collected, maintained, or used by the district relating to the parent’s child. A school district must comply with a request for access to education records without unnecessary delay and before any IEP team meeting. In all cases, the school district must comply with a parent’s request within 45 days.

On February 28, 2018, via e-mail, the student’s parent contacted district staff to request educational records. On March 20, 2018, a district staff member informed the parent, via e-mail and telephone, the records were printed and ready to be picked up. On March 27, 2018, the parent picked up the records at the district office, but realized the records provided did not include all the information the parent wanted. The parent immediately clarified to a district staff member what other records the parent was seeking. The district is in the process of making copies and providing the additional information to the parent. On April 11, 2018, an IEP team meeting was held for the student who is the subject of this complaint. Although the district had ten business days between the date of the parent’s clarified request for records and the scheduled IEP team meeting, the district did not provide the requested records to the parent prior to the IEP team meeting. The district did not properly respond to the parent’s pupil record request.

Within 30 days of this decision, the district must develop a corrective action plan to ensure that the IEPs of all students with disabilities are implemented as written, and parents are provided access to education records requested without unnecessary delay and before any IEP team meeting. The district is in the process of establishing a weekly communication system with the student’s parent as stated in the student’s IEP and assembling the records the parent has requested. Within ten days of the date of this decision, the district must provide the parent weekly communications as stated in the student’s IEP and access to all records previously requested by the parent, and submit documentation to the department assuring that these actions have been taken. In addition, within 30 days of the date of this decision the district must provide the department an assurance that these student specific corrective actions have been completed.

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. This decision is final for the IDEA State Complaint process.

//signed by CST 5/31/18
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support
 
CST:jfd
For questions about this information, contact DPI Sped Team (608) 266-1781