On June 4, 2018, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (parents) against the Racine Unified School District (district). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2017-2018 school year:
- Properly ensured the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability met at least annually to develop the student’s IEP;
- Properly responded to the student’s parents’ requests for an IEP team meeting; and
- Properly afforded the parents an opportunity to participate in a meeting of the student’s IEP team.
The district must take steps to ensure that the parent of a student with a disability is present at each IEP team meeting or is afforded the opportunity to participate, including notifying the parent of the meetings early enough to ensure that there will be an opportunity to attend, and scheduling the meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place. Prior to an IEP team meeting, a district must provide notice to the parent of the purpose, time, and location of the IEP team meeting, including a list of who will be in attendance at the IEP team meeting. The district must ensure the IEP team meets to review the student’s IEP at least annually. A parent may request an IEP team meeting at any time, and a district should grant any reasonable request. If the district denies the parent’s request for an IEP team meeting, the district must provide the parent with a notice of refusal, including an explanation of why the district has determined that conducting the meeting is not necessary.
The parents allege the district had not notified them of an IEP team meeting for the student since May 2016. Although the district’s electronic IEP system contains an IEP document modified June 6, 2017, for the student, the document was not developed by an IEP team at a meeting and the student’s parents were not provided a copy of the IEP. From September 2017 through May 2018, the student’s parents made multiple requests for an IEP team meeting by contacting several different district staff members including a regular education teacher, the student’s special education teacher, and a counselor. District staff did not contact the parents to arrange an IEP team meeting as a result of these requests, nor did district staff provide the parents prior written notice indicating an IEP team meeting was not necessary.
On May 23, 2018, district staff held an IEP team meeting to conduct an annual review of the student’s IEP, develop a transition plan, and determine the student’s continuing placement. The student’s special education teacher, regular education teacher, and a representative of the local education agency were in attendance. The parents were not included as part of the IEP team. The notice in the district’s electronic IEP system for this meeting was created on
May 23, the same day as the meeting. Three attempts to contact the student’s parents by telephone to arrange the date and time of the meeting are described on the cover page of the IEP; however contrary to typical district practice, the special education contact log does not indicate that any phone calls were made or any documents were sent to the parent during the 2017-2018 school year. The parents state they neither received a written invitation to the IEP team meeting, nor were any messages regarding the IEP team meeting left on their phones. The Determination and Notice of Placement erroneously indicates the student’s parents were provided a copy of the student’s IEP on May 23, 2018. The IEP was modified and locked in the electronic system on May 24, 2018. The district did not ensure the student’s IEP team met at least annually to develop the student’s IEP; did not properly respond to the parents’ requests for IEP team meetings; failed to properly afford the parents an opportunity to participate in a meeting of the student’s IEP team; and failed to provide the parent a copy of IEP documents created on June 6, 2017, and May 23, 2018. While the student was provided special education and related services during the 2017-2018 school year, these services were not provided in accordance with a properly developed IEP because an opportunity was not provided to the parents to participate in the IEP team meeting.
Within 30 days of this decision the district must conduct an IEP team meeting, with a properly constituted IEP team including the student’s parent(s), to complete an annual review of the student’s IEP, develop a transition plan and determine the student’s continuing placement. As part of this meeting, the IEP team must consider whether compensatory services are required to remedy any negative impact on the student’s receipt of FAPE caused by the district’s failure to ensure services provided to the student were in accordance with a properly developed IEP. The district must provide a copy of this IEP to the department within 10 days of the meeting.
Within 30 days of this decision, the district must develop a corrective action plan to ensure:
- IEPs for students with disabilities are developed at least annually by properly constituted IEP teams;
- District staff timely respond to parents’ requests for IEP team meetings;
- Parents are afforded an opportunity to participate in IEP team meeting by ensuring parents are notified of each meetings early enough to ensure an opportunity for the parents to attend, and each meeting is scheduled at a mutually agreed on time and place; and
- Parents are provided a Determination and Notice of Placement with a copy of the IEP each time an IEP is revised.
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.