On September 23, 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 2019-20 school year, properly implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability regarding speech and language therapy.
School districts must provide each student with a disability a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. School districts meet their obligation to provide FAPE to each student with a disability, in part, by developing and implementing each student’s IEP. 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 § 300.323; Wis. Stat. § 115.787).
The student who is the subject of this complaint has an IEP that includes specially designed instruction in reading, math, and written language for 30 minutes per day in each area and 30 minutes six times per month in communication in receptive and expressive language. On August 19, 2019, the district was informed that the speech and language pathologist assigned to grades 6 through 12 would not be returning for the upcoming school year. The district sought out services from outside agencies as well as shifting assignment loads to the current staff while they attempted to fill the vacancy. The district was unable to fill the vacancy before the school year started. As a result, the student did not receive the speech and language services outlined in the IEP at the beginning of the school year. The student was assigned to another speech and language pathologist and began receiving services on September 30, 2019. The district did not properly implement the IEP of a student with a disability.
Within twenty days from the date of this decision, the IEP team must meet to determine compensatory services for the failure to implement the IEP in September. The district must provide the department with a copy of the revised IEP documenting the discussion and determination of compensatory services.
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. These issues may be addressed through other dispute resolutions, including mediation and due process hearings. Visit http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/dispute-resolution for more information.
//digitally signed by BVH 11/12/19
Barbara Van Haren, PhD
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support