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IDEA Complaint Decision 18-094

On December 12, 2018 (form dated December 9, 2018), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (parents) against the XXXXX (district). The issue is whether the district, since December 12, 2017, properly developed and implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. 

School districts must provide each student with a disability a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. A school district meets its obligation to provide FAPE to each student with a disability, in part, by developing and implementing each student’s IEP. The IEP must include a statement of the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. The IEP team must identify how the student's disability affects the student's involvement and progress in the general curriculum, develop measurable annual goals designed to meet the student's disability-related needs, and align special education services to enable the student to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals, make progress in the general curriculum and be educated with nondisabled students. The IEP must include clear descriptions of the amount, frequency, location, and duration of services so the school district’s commitment of resources is clear to the parent and all involved in developing and implementing the IEP. Staff responsible for implementing the student’s IEP must be informed of their specific responsibilities. (34 CFR §§§ 300.320, 300.323, 300.324; Wis. Stat. §115.787)

The IEP in effect for the student during the 2018-19 school year was developed on April 26, 2018. The purpose of the meeting was to determine continuing placement, develop the annual IEP, and develop a statement of transition goals and services. The IEP meeting was attended by both of the student’s parents. The IEP identified the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. Additionally, the IEP team identified how the student's disability affects the student's involvement and progress in the general curriculum, developed measurable annual goals designed to meet the student's disability-related needs, and aligned special education services to enable the student to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals, make progress in the general curriculum and be educated with nondisabled students. The IEP included clear descriptions of the amount, frequency, location, and duration of services. During the summer of 2018, the student was placed in a day treatment facility, which continued when the 2018-19 school year began. This was not a district placement. From the beginning of the school year until the beginning of October, the student attended the treatment facility in the morning, and arrived at school between 12:30pm and 1:00pm every day.

On September 10, 2018, the IEP team reconvened to review and revise the IEP due to the change in the student’s needs and circumstances. While the IEP team made revisions to parts of the student’s IEP, the IEP team did not revise the program summary to reflect the IEP team’s determinations. For example, the program summary provides for one study hall. However, during the IEP team meeting, the team determined that the student would have two study halls. Due to the internal inconsistencies in the IEP including an inaccurate program summary, the district did not properly develop the student’s IEP.

District staff acknowledged the student did not receive 60 minutes per week of speech/language services while the student was attending the day treatment program. The student’s parent was also concerned that the student’s behavioral intervention plan (BIP) was not implemented during the 2018-2019 school year.  Although the student had a BIP in effect for the 2018-2019 school year, staff interviews indicated that the BIP was not followed as written. District staff believed the BIP was not effective for the student, so other strategies were employed. A new BIP was drafted during the IEP team meeting on January 10, 2019, and it is currently being implemented. The district did not properly implement the student’s IEP.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must conduct an IEP meeting with the parent to determine whether compensatory services are required for the failure to implement the student’s BIP and provide 60 minutes per week of speech and language services. The district must send a copy of the IEP to the department within 10 days of the IEP team meeting. Additionally, within 30 days of this decision, the district must develop a corrective action plan to ensure when IEPs are revised, teams properly document revisions so that the student’s program and district’s commitment of resources are clear, and that IEPs are properly implemented.

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 BVH:pmw 2/6/2019
Barbara Van Haren, PhD, Director
Special Education Team
Division for Learning Support
BVH:mzm
For questions about this information, contact DPI Sped Team (608) 266-1781