On December 6, 2018, the department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (parent) against the XXXXX (district). This is the department’s decision regarding the complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2018-19 school year, properly implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability regarding the provision of occupational therapy, a one-to-one aide, supervised movement breaks, and sensory supports.
A school district meets its obligation to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to a student with a disability, in part, by providing special education and related services. Districts must provide FAPE to each student with a disability by developing a program based on the student’s unique needs that is reasonably calculated to enable the student to make progress appropriate in light of the student’s circumstances, documenting that program in the student’s IEP, and implementing the program as articulated in the IEP. IEP teams must include a representative of the local education agency (LEA) who is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction, is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum, and is knowledgeable about and authorized to commit district resources. (34 CFR §§ 300.320-300.324; Wis. Stats. § 115.78(2))
The student’s IEP in effect for the 2018-19 school year specified the student would receive occupational therapy one time per week for 20 minutes. The IEP also specified proactive breaks, reactive breaks, and modified passing times. The IEP does not specify that the student requires a one-to-one aide. The evidence reviewed by the department during the course of its investigation demonstrated that the student’s IEP was properly implemented regarding the provision of occupational therapy, supervised movement breaks, and sensory supports.
On November 30, 2018, the parent met with several school staff members to discuss the parent’s concerns about the student’s IEP. Neither the parent nor school staff considered the meeting to be an IEP team meeting. At the meeting the parent proposed the student be provided a one-to-one aide. The team decided an IEP team meeting was necessary to consider the parent’s request.
The student’s IEP team met on January 11, 2019, to review the student’s progress and discuss the parent’s concerns. The team included a district staff person who was designated as the LEA representative. Although the team discussed providing the student a one-on-one aide, the IEP team did not come to a decision. District staff members stated that the meeting was suspended because a special education supervisor was needed to authorize the provision of a one-on-one aide. As of January 23, no follow-up team meeting has been scheduled. The January 11 IEP team was not properly constituted because the LEA representative at the IEP team meeting was not fully authorized to commit district resources.
The district must conduct an IEP team meeting within 20 days from the date of this decision to consider the provision of a one-on-one aide, and provide documentation of this consideration to the department within ten days of the meeting. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must develop and send to the department a corrective action plan to ensure LEA representatives have proper authority to commit district resources, including a plan to train staff who serve as LEA representatives to ensure they are aware of this responsibility.
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.
Barbara Van Haren, PhD, Director