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IDEA Complaint Decision 21-043

On October 20, 2021, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from #### (parent) against #### (district). This is the department’s decision regarding the complaint. The issues identified are whether the district, during the 2020-21 school year:

  • Properly provided two students with disabilities a free, appropriate public education; and
  • Properly initiated a special education reevaluation for one student.

Whether the district properly provided two students with disabilities a free, appropriate public education.

A free appropriate public education (FAPE) consists of special education and related services that are provided in conformity with an individualized education program (IEP).

34 CFR § 300.17. A student’s IEP team must develop an educational program that meets the student’s unique needs and document that program in the student’s IEP. A school district must implement the program as articulated in the IEP. 34 CFR § 300.324. When there is an extended period of time in which the district is unable to implement the program as articulated in the IEP, districts must consider the impact of the failure to implement on the student's progress and performance and determine how to ensure the continued provision of FAPE in order for the student to continue to make progress in the general education curriculum and toward the annual goals in their IEP.

Student A’s IEP specifies door-to-door specialized transportation to and from school daily. The district did not provide transportation for a period of 10 days between September 13, 2021, and September 30, 2021. Student B’s IEP specifies door-to-door specialized transportation to and from school daily. The district did not provide the required transportation for a period of 16 days between September 1, 2021, and

October 1, 2021. On September 15, 2021, the district provided both students with computers to facilitate virtual instruction on days when transportation was not available. Both students had difficulty accessing instruction virtually, and neither student’s IEP was fully implemented. The district did not properly provide a FAPE to both students during the month of September.

Student A’s IEP team met on December 9 to discuss the effect of the failure to fully implement student A’s IEP during the period when transportation was not provided. The team did not complete its consideration of the issue, and the meeting was continued to a later date. On November 18, 2021, Student B’s IEP team met and discussed the effect of the failure to fully implement Student B’s IEP during the period when transportation was not provided. Student B’s IEP team determined the student would receive additional specialized instruction in reading and mathematics as compensation services for the non-implementation of the student’s IEP.

As corrective action, the district shall complete Student A’s IEP team meeting as soon as possible and provide the department a copy of Student A’s IEP documenting the compensatory services discussion within five days of the final meeting. No further corrective action will be required for Student B.

Whether the district properly initiated a special education reevaluation for one student.

A school district must ensure that a reevaluation of a student with a disability is conducted if the student’s parent requests a reevaluation. 34 CFR § 300.303(a)(2). A reevaluation must be completed within 60 days of receipt of parental consent to conduct the reevaluation. Wis. Stat. § 115.78(3)(a). The 60-day timeline may be extended where the student is being evaluated under the criteria of specific learning disability (SLD) if the parent agrees in writing to the extension to allow the district to complete required progress monitoring of educational interventions. 34 CFR § 300.309(c).

The parent requested Student B be evaluated by an outside agency for SLD eligibility on August 23, 2021. On August 27, 2021, the parent provided consent for the district to conduct a reevaluation to consider SLD eligibility. The district was unable to begin educational interventions in September due to the transportation issue, and the student was frequently absent for class periods when the interventions were scheduled during October. On October 26, 2021, the district sought the parent’s agreement to extend the evaluation timeline. On November 9, 2021, the parent provided written consent to extend the evaluation timeline. The district was able to work with the student on interventions on a number of occasions in November. The reevaluation remains incomplete, but the timeline extension has not expired. The district appropriately initiated the special education reevaluation for Student B.

This concludes our review of this complaint. All noncompliance identified above must be corrected within one year of the date of this decision. 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. For more information, visit the department’s website at http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/dispute-resolution.

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