On February 16, 2022, 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, during the 2021-22 school year, properly implemented the individualized education program (IEP) for a student with a disability regarding tutoring services and specialized transportation as a related service.
School districts must provide each student with a disability with 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 to 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).
As a result of the department’s decision in IDEA complaint 21-024 (issued August 13, 2021), the district was required to convene this student’s IEP team and determine the compensatory services the student required due to the department’s decision regarding the implementation of the student’s IEP during the 2020-21 school year. The IEP team was also directed to consider whether the student requires specialized transportation to benefit from services provided in person. The IEP team met on September 16, 2021, and determined that the student would receive 2 hours of additional in-home tutoring services per week through an out-of-district private tutoring service paid for by the district. These services would last through May of 2022. Specialized transportation was not considered as the tutoring services were intended to occur in person, in the student’s home. At that time, the student was receiving specialized transportation as a related service to and from school.
At the end of October, the complainant requested that the tutoring contract be amended to allow the student to receive services on-site at the tutoring facility. The district agreed and changed the contract so that services in the future would be provided in person. The complainant did not request transportation at that time, so the issue of whether the student required transportation as part of this contract change was not addressed.
The IEP team met on December 6, 2021, but did not discuss transportation to the tutoring facility. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss other items, and neither party raised the issue.
On February 9, 2022, through an email from a county advocate, the complainant requested that the district provide transportation to the tutoring facility. The complainant could no longer provide transportation to the tutoring facility, and this was causing the student to miss tutoring sessions. The district responded via email on February 16, 2022, indicating that they would not provide transportation and gave three alternative options for the student to continue to receive tutoring services. Two of these options would allow the student to continue receiving services from the private tutoring service. This information was reiterated in a Notice of Response to an Activity Requested by a Parent form (sample form M-1) sent on February 21, 2022. On April 1, 2022, district staff contacted the complainant to attempt to schedule an IEP team meeting with the complainant. The district properly implemented the student’s IEP regarding tutoring services. Additionally, the district did not improperly implement the student’s IEP regarding transportation since the student’s IEP never included transportation for the student to benefit from the tutoring services.
This concludes our review of this complaint. This decision is final for the IDEA State Complaint process. Other dispute resolutions may address these issues, including mediation and due process hearings. For more information, visit the department’s website at http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/dispute-resolution or contact the special education team at (608) 266-1781.