On November 21, 2022, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from #### (parent) against the #### School District (district). This is the department’s decision regarding the complaint. The issue is whether the district, beginning in November 2021, properly conducted a special education evaluation.
Upon receipt of a referral for a special education evaluation, the district must appoint an individualized education pogram (IEP) team, and the IEP team must conduct a review of existing data to determine what additional data, if any, are needed to complete the evaluation within 15 business days of the receipt of the referral. Wis. Stat. § 115.777(3). An IEP team meeting must be conducted to determine eligibility within 60 days of receiving parental consent for additional assessments. 34 CFR §300.301(c)(1). The IEP team must include not less than one regular education teacher of the student. 34 CFR §300.321(a).
The student was enrolled in the district’s 4K program for the 2021-22 school year. The student’s parents referred the student for an initial special education evaluation on May 6, 2022. The referral noted there were no concerns regarding the student’s academic achievement, but the student exhibited behaviors at school and home that were of concern, including physical and verbal aggression, difficulty interacting with peers, being off-task, and emotional dysregulation. The student had previously been independently diagnosed with unspecified neurodevelopment disorder and disruptive mood dysregulation disorder. The district sent the parent a notice of receipt of the referral on May 12, 2022. A review of existing data was conducted on May 13, 2022, and the district identified a need for additional assessments in the areas of speech and language functioning, adaptive behavior, health history, review of medical records, observations, early readiness skills, sensory processing, and fine motor functioning. The district notified the parent of the additional assessments it intended to conduct as part of the evaluation, and the parent provided consent for the assessments on May 17, 2022. The student’s IEP team met on June 23, 2022, to consider eligibility for special education. The IEP team included a regular education teacher normally assigned as an administrator. At the meeting, the team examined the criteria for educational autism and significant developmental delay. The team concluded the student did not meet the criteria for either of the disability categories considered. The student’s parents enrolled the student in a different school district for the 2022-23 school year.
The district did not properly conduct the student’s special education evaluation by failing to include a regular education teacher of the student on the student’s IEP team. No student-level corrective action is available for this noncompliance, as the student is no longer enrolled in the district. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district shall submit to the department a corrective action plan outlining the steps it will take to ensure that appropriate staff are appointed to IEP teams.
This concludes our review of this complaint. All identified noncompliance 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.