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IDEA Complaint Decision 18-063

On August 8, 2018, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (parent) against the XXXXX (district). On August 27, 2018, the department suspended investigation of the complaint pending the resolution of a due process hearing request involving the same issues. On November 28, 2018, the department received notification the due process hearing had been dismissed at the request of the parent. This is the department’s decision regarding the complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the summer of 2018, properly developed the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability.

In developing each child’s IEP, the IEP team must consider the strengths of the child, the concerns of the parent for enhancing the child’s education, and the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child. (34 CFR § 300.324) The IEP should include a statement of the special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services that will enable the child to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals, to make progress in the general curriculum, and to be educated with other children in the school’s program. (34 CFR § 300.320)

The student is in second grade. The student has disability-related needs in reading and behavior, which result in the student often being off-task and having difficulty working independently. On occasion during the 2017-2018 school year, the student left the classroom when frustrated or angry, but this behavior has since subsided. The student participates in the regular education curriculum, and is educated in the regular education environment except for 30 minutes daily of special education instruction, 20 minutes weekly of occupational therapy, and 20 minutes bi‑weekly of counseling.

The IEP in effect during the summer of 2018 was developed in May 2018. During July 2018, the parent requested an IEP team meeting, noting the student had made great progress during extended school year (ESY) services where the student had received one-on-one assistance. The parent wished to discuss the possibility of designating a one-to-one educational assistant for the student in the coming school year. The IEP team met on August 1, 2018, to discuss the parent’s request. The team considered the parent’s request, but after reviewing the student’s current progress, determined the student’s needs in the area of safety and academic achievement could be met without provision of a one-to-one educational assistant through additional supports and services, including a daily check-in/check-out and a daily schedule, adding instruction in behavior and social skills, and adding additional occupational therapy. The team revised the student’s IEP to reflect these additional supports and services. The team also determined that an additional IEP team meeting would be appropriate before the start of the school year to further discuss the student’s needs and to allow for the participation of the student’s 2018-19 school year classroom staff in the IEP team meeting. The IEP team, including the 2018-19 classroom staff, met on August 27. The team again considered the parent’s request and concluded the student did not demonstrate the need for a one-to-one educational assistant. The district properly developed the IEP for the student.

The parent also expressed concerns that there were insufficient staff in the student’s classrooms to provide the services specified in the IEP. IEP teams do not make classroom staffing decisions, rather the IEP team determines the frequency and amount of special education services necessary to meet the student’s needs. It is then the responsibility of school district administrators to ensure staffing adequate to full implementation of the IEP. There is no evidence suggesting the services were not able to be provided.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing. This decision is final for the IDEA State Complaint process. 

//signed CST 12/20/2018
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support