On April 12, 2022 (form dated March 1, 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 issues are identified below.
Whether the district properly implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a student with a disability regarding supplementary aids and services.
School districts must provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to each student with a disability by developing a program that meets the student's unique needs, documenting that program in the IEP, and implementing the program articulated in the IEP. The IEP must include a statement of the special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, including the projected date for the beginning of the services and the anticipated duration of the services. All services must be clearly stated in the IEP in a manner that can be understood by all involved in the development and implementation of the IEP. 34 CFR §§ 300.320(a)(4) and (a)(7).
The complainant raised concerns that supplementary aids and services were not provided in at least one of the student's classes. These concerns were partly because the complainant did not feel that the district responded timely after she asked the district to demonstrate that these aids and services were being provided. The district utilizes an internal system of control to verify services are provided to each student with an IEP. The district submitted information verifying that the supplementary aids and services were provided to the student as written in the IEP. The district properly implemented the student's IEP regarding supplementary aids and services.
Whether the district timely convened the student's IEP team to conduct an annual review of the student's IEP.
The IEP team must review a student's IEP periodically, but not less than annually, to determine whether the annual goals for the student are being achieved and revise the IEP, as appropriate, to address any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals and in the general education curriculum. 34 CFR § 300.324(b)(1).
The IEP team met on February 3, 2021, and developed an IEP with an end date of February 2, 2022. During the 2021-22 school year, the student's annual IEP team meeting occurred on February 16, 2022, with the revised IEP having a February 23, 2022, implementation date.
Through documentation and interviews, the district provided information that staff initially reached out to the student's parent in December 2021 and that there were communications between the parent and district staff in December 2021 and January 2022 regarding scheduling the IEP team meeting. Despite these communications, the district acknowledges that the IEP team meeting did not take place within 12 months of the previous IEP team meeting. The district did not timely convene the IEP team to conduct an annual review of the student's IEP. During the time that elapsed between the end date of the February 2021 IEP and the implementation date of the February 2022 IEP, the district continued to provide the student services. As such, no student-specific corrective action is required.
Whether the district properly developed the student's annual IEP, including regarding the development of a behavior intervention plan (BIP).
IDEA requires school districts to appoint an IEP team to develop an IEP for each student with a disability for whom they are responsible. The IEP team must identify how the student's disability affects the student's involvement and progress in the general curriculum, develop measurable annual goals designed to meet the student's disability-related needs, align special education services to enable the student to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals, make progress in the general curriculum, and be educated with nondisabled students. 34 CFR §§ 300.320 and 300.323. If a student's behavior adversely affects their learning or that of other students, the student's IEP team should consider positive behavior interventions and supports, and other strategies, to address that behavior. 34 CFR § 300.324(a)(2)(i).
The IEP team determined at the February 2022 IEP team meeting to meet in March 2022 for the purpose of developing a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) for the student. However, when the team met in March 2022, district staff had not yet gathered sufficient information to prepare the BIP resulting in the meeting having to be rescheduled. The BIP was completed at an IEP team meeting on April 8, 2022.
Waiting until the April IEP team meeting so that the district staff had sufficient time to collect additional information was reasonable under the circumstances. The student's behavioral needs were addressed in the IEP developed in February 2022, as this IEP contained positive behavioral supports and strategies to address the student's behavior. Some of these supports were also later included in the BIP developed in April 2022. The district properly developed the student's IEP regarding the development of a BIP.
Whether the district properly provided the parent notice of an IEP team meeting.
School districts must take steps to ensure that the parent of a student with a disability is present at each IEP team meeting or is afforded the opportunity to participate, including notifying the parent of the meetings early enough to ensure that there will be an opportunity to attend, and scheduling the meeting at a mutually agreed upon time and place. Prior to an IEP team meeting, a district must provide notice to the parent of the purpose, time, and location of the IEP team meeting, including a list of who will be in attendance at the IEP team meeting. 34 CFR § 300.322.
As noted above, the complainant is concerned because the district did not hold the student's annual IEP team in February 2022 in a timely manner. The complainant feels this delay occurred, in part, due to the district attempting to schedule the meeting in January 2022 but did not provide the complainant with enough notice to attend the meeting. The student's annual IEP team meeting was originally scheduled for February 1, 2022, and the parent was provided notice of the meeting on January 27, 2022. The parent informed the district that they would not be able to attend on such short notice, and the district responded by rescheduling the meeting to a later date. Because the district afforded the parent an opportunity to participate by rescheduling the meeting, no violation occurred.
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 http://dpi.wi.gov/sped/dispute-resolution or contact the special education team at (608) 266‑1781.