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IDEA Complaint Decision 19-019

On March 12, 2019, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX (complainant) against the XXXXX (district). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2018-19 school year, properly conducted a reevaluation of a student with a disability.

The purpose of a reevaluation is to determine continuing eligibility for special education and to gather information to determine the nature and extent of the special education services that the student requires (34 CFR 300.15). A reevaluation must be conducted at least once every three years unless the parent and the district agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary. Districts must reevaluate a student with a disability if the educational or related services, needs of the child, including the child’s improved academic achievement and functional performance, warrant a reevaluation, or if the child’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation. A reevaluation may not occur more than once a year unless the district and parent agree otherwise (34 CFR 300.303). Within 15 business days of the notice of reevaluation, the district must send the student’s parent a request for consent for additional testing or notice that no additional testing is necessary. The individualized education program (IEP) team must convene and determine eligibility within 60 days of receiving parental consent for reevaluation or notifying parents that no additional assessments are needed (Wis. Stats. §§ 115.777-115.78). When an IEP team is unable to reach consensus, the district has the ultimate responsibility to make eligibility determinations about special education under the IDEA and the federal regulations. Case No. LEA 13-026, See Letter to Richards, 55 IDELR 107 (OSEP 2010).

The student is in kindergarten, and was identified for special education in the area of orthopedic impairment, and received speech and language therapy and physical therapy as related services. On December 17, 2018, the district provided the parents with a notice of reevaluation indicting that the last evaluation was completed on May 27, 2016, and a three-year reevaluation was due.  A reviewing of existing data was completed that included all required IEP team members, and it was determined that additional assessments were needed. On December 21, 2018, which was within the 15 required business days, the district sent the parents a request for their consent for the additional testing, which was provided on December 27, 2018. On February 13, 2019, the IEP team met to determine continuing eligibility for special education. As required, the meeting was held within 60 days from when the district received the parent’s consent for additional testing.

During the meeting, the IEP team reviewed information from a variety of sources that included existing data on academic achievement and functional performance, information provided by the parents, teachers, and related service providers, and additional assessments in the areas of speech and language, and fine and gross motor skills. With the exception of the parents, the IEP team determined that the student no longer qualified under orthopedic impairment because the impairment did not adversely impact her educational performance, and that she did not meet the eligibility criteria for a speech and language impairment. IEP team members considered the concerns of the parents but ultimately determined that the student no longer qualified for special education. A detailed prior written notice was provided to the parents explaining the reasons for this determination. The parents subsequently requested an independent educational evaluation, which is in the process of being conducted. The district properly conducted a reevaluation of a student with a disability.

This concludes our review of this complaint. This decision is final for the IDEA State Complaint process.

//signed BVH 5/9/2019
Barbara Van Haren, PhD
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support