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IDEA Complaint Decision 20-034

On March 23, 2020, 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 identified is whether the district, beginning March 23, 2019, properly developed the postsecondary transition plan of a student with a disability.

Beginning when the student is 14, and updated each year after, the individualized education program (IEP) must include a statement of appropriate, measurable postsecondary goals for the student based on age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills. (Wis. Stat. § 115.787[2][g]). The IEP must also include transition services including courses of study needed to assist the student in reaching those goals. (Wis. Stat. § 115.787[2][g]). In Wisconsin, the postsecondary goals, transition services, and course of study are documented together in a form called the postsecondary transition plan (PTP).

If there is an IEP team meeting scheduled to consider the student's postsecondary goals and the transition services needed to assist the student in reaching those goals, the district must invite the student to attend. (34 CFR § 300.321[b][1]). If the student does not attend, the district must take other steps to ensure that the student's preferences and interests are considered. (34 CFR § 300.321[b][1]). To the extent appropriate, with appropriate consent of the parents or student who has reached the age of majority, the district must invite a representative of any participating agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or funding transition services. (34 CFR § 300.321[b]). Any time a district proposes or refuses to initiate or change the postsecondary goals, transition services, and course of study of a student with a disability, the district must provide the parents prior written notice including, if applicable, a copy of the student’s IEP and PTP, a reasonable time before any proposed changes take effect. (34 CFR §§ 300.322[f] and 300.503).

The district has a practice to determine whether to invite outside agency staff to IEP team meetings. The district asks the family of each student with a disability if they are working with any other outside agencies prior to the IEP meeting where postsecondary transition will be discussed. In spring 2019, district staff reported emailing the parent, asking whether they were working with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), and that they did not receive a response. Therefore, district staff did not invite DVR to the student’s IEP meeting.

Before the IEP team meeting, district staff interviewed the student regarding postsecondary goals and completed a transition assessment. On May 15, 2019, the student completed a transition planning application at home with the support of the parent, who forwarded it to district staff for consideration at the IEP team meeting. Later that day, the student’s IEP team met to consider the student’s postsecondary goals and transition services. The student was invited to that meeting but did not attend. The IEP team used parts of the district-gathered interview, transition assessment, and the information provided by the student to develop measurable post-secondary goals in training and employment, develop transition services and a course of study, which district staff implemented the same day it was written. The parent did not receive a finalized copy of the IEP, including the PTP, prior to implementation.

Throughout the 2019-20 school year, district staff provided the transition services required by the student’s IEP. In spring 2020, the student’s parent had expressed interest in DVR services and the application process, therefore a representative from DVR was invited to the IEP team meeting. Prior to the meeting, district staff used distance learning to meet with the student and informally discuss the student’s future goals, but were unsuccessful in convincing the student to complete updated transition assessments.

On May 12, 2020, the student’s IEP team met to consider the student’s postsecondary goals and transition services. The adult student and a representative from DVR attended the meeting. After a lengthy meeting, the team agreed to reconvene the next day. On May 13, 2020, the team completed the student’s annual IEP and began to discuss the student’s postsecondary goals and transition services and develop the PTP. Members of the team had considerable discussion about whether the team had sufficient information to develop the student’s postsecondary goals, transition services, and complete the student’s PTP.

Given the requirement to update the transition plan annually, and the team’s awareness of the deadline of May 15, 2020, the team completed the student’s postsecondary transition plan with the input of the student and the information they had available to them at the time of the meeting. The team reviewed the student’s previous postsecondary goals and made revisions based on the student’s preferences. The team agreed to complete additional transition assessments and reconvene to review and revise the student’s IEP and PTP given the results of those assessments on May 22, 2020. The district properly developed the postsecondary transition plans of a student with a disability, but did not properly provide the parent with a copy of the PTP prior to its implementation in May 2019.

No student specific corrective action is required because a copy of PTP was ultimately provided to the parent. Within 30 days of this decision, the district must develop a corrective action plan to ensure that finalized copies of student IEPs, including PTPs, are provided to parents prior to their implementation.

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 the department's website at http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/dispute-resolution for more information.

Sincerely,

//digitally signed by BVH 5/21/2020
Barbara Van Haren, PhD
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support

For questions about this information, contact DPI Sped Team (608) 266-1781