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IDEA Complaint Decision 21-058

On November 30, 2021 (form dated November 30, 2021), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from #### (complainant) against the ### (district). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, since November 30, 2020, properly implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability.

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 math, literacy, study skills, and speech and language therapy. Interviews with school staff indicate that all specially designed instruction was provided as was written in the student’s IEPs. The student’s IEP also includes many supplementary aids and services to be provided to the student in each of their classes, at all times, in the general education environment. These include shortening assignments, using multiple-choice questions when writing is not being assessed, reduced number of assignments, extended time to complete tests, and the use of visual aids, among others.

From November 20, 2020, through October 28, 2021, the student had three IEPs in effect, which, among many other supplementary aids and services, included an accommodation described as “modify assignments” with no specific information about how assignments were to be modified. The complainants raised concerns that the student’s assignments were not being modified, so the student’s IEP team met on October 28, 2021, to review the student’s IEP. The IEP team reviewed each of the student’s supplementary aids and services to determine if they were being provided in each general education class. The IEP team clarified the “modify assignments” item to include specific instructions to shorten reading passages or bring them to the student’s reading level. Given that the term “modify assignments” was not properly described prior to the October 28, 2021, IEP team meeting, this supplementary service was not clear to all those implementing the IEP. However, this service was clarified in the October 2021 IEP, and no further corrective action is required.

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. For more information, visit the department’s website at or contact the special education team at (608) 266-1781.