On May 11, 2000 (letter dated May 10, 2000), a complaint was filed with the Department of Public Instruction by XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District. This complaint alleges a violation of special education law regarding the implementation of programs for children with disabilities.
Pursuant to 34 CFR 300.660-662 of the regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and 115.762(3)(g) and 115.90(1), Wis. Stats., the Department of Public Instruction investigated this complaint. In investigating a complaint, the department reviews a district's compliance with state and federal requirements. In investigating this complaint, department staff reviewed relevant portions of the child's pupil records and the district's written response to the complaint. Also department staff interviewed the complainant and the district elementary principal.
APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:
Section 115.76, Wisconsin Statutes
In this subchapter:
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(7) "Free appropriate public education" means special education and related services that are provided at public expense and under public supervision and direction, meet the standards of the department, include an appropriate preschool, elementary or secondary school education and are provided in conformity with an individualized education program.
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Section 115.77, Wisconsin Statutes
Local educational agency duties.
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(1m) A local educational agency shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the division that it does all of the following:
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(b) Makes available a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities as required by this subchapter and applicable state and federal law.
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Section 115.787, Wisconsin Statutes
Individualized education programs.
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(2) REQUIRED COMPONENTS. An individualized education program shall include all of the following:
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(c) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child * * * .
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34 CFR 300.347 Content of IEP.
(a) General. The IEP for each child with a disability must include--
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(6) The projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications described in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, and the anticipated frequency, location, and duration of those services and modifications * * * .
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ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS:
34 CFR Part 300, Appendix A, Questions 31 and 35
31. Must the public agency ensure that all services specified in a child's IEP are provided?
Yes. The public agency must ensure that all services set forth in the child's IEP are provided, consistent with the child's needs as identified in the IEP.
35. Must the IEP specify the amount of services or may it simply list the services to be provided?
The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP, so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members ( 300.347(a)(6)). The amount of time to be committed to each of the various services to be provided must be (1) appropriate to the specific service, and (2) stated in the IEP in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in both the development and implementation of the IEP.
The amount of a special education or related service to be provided to a child may be stated in the IEP as a range...only if the IEP team determines that stating the amount of services as a range is necessary to meet the unique needs of the child. For example, it would be appropriate for the IEP to specify, based upon the IEP team's determination of the student's unique needs, that particular services are needed only under specific circumstances, such as the occurrence of a seizure or of a particular behavior¿.
FINDINGS OF FACT:
The child whose education is the subject of this complaint is an eleven-year old child with a disability who attends an elementary school in the Racine Unified School District. On March 27, 2000, the district conducted an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting to review and revise the child's IEP and determine continuing placement. The child's grandparents, who are the child's legal guardians, participated in the meeting. The IEP developed by the team at that meeting covered the period March 27, 2000, to April 24, 2000. The statement of services describes the special education services to be provided to the child as: "(Student's name) will receive special education services/instruction in a homebound setting for 30 days, per doctor's orders." The amount and frequency of these services is noted to be "4 hours/week per parent and homebound teacher." The location is to be "per parent and homebound teacher," and the duration is "30 days." No related services are included in this IEP.
Between March 27, and April 24, 2000, the child was not provided special education services in a homebound setting. The district made a significant effort to find a teacher to provide the services but was unsuccessful in finding a teacher and beginning services before April 24. Between April 21, and May 1, 2000, the district was in recess for spring break. On May 1, 2000, the district conducted an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting to review and revise the child's IEP and determine continuing placement. The child's grandparents participated in the meeting. The IEP developed by the team at that meeting covered the period May 1, 2000, to May 1, 2001. The statement of services describes special education services to be provided to the child at his elementary school beginning May 1, 2000.
A district must provide each child with a disability a free appropriate (FAPE). A district meets its obligation to provide FAPE to a child, in part, by providing special education and related services consistent with the child's IEP. The child's IEP for the period March 27 to April 24, 2000, requires that the child receive special education services in a homebound setting 4 hours per week for 30 days. The district did not provide the special education services required by the child's IEP during this time period. The district failed to provide special education services consistent with the child's IEP. The complaint is substantiated.
The Racine Unified School District shall, within 30 days of receipt of this report, submit to the department a corrective action plan (CAP) ensuring that the district
- conducts an IEP team meeting to determine whether the child requires additional special education services to compensate for the period from March 27 to April 24, 2000; and
- provides services to children with disabilities in accordance with their IEPs.
The CAP shall include the activities the district will undertake to implement the directives, the personnel responsible for each activity, the date by which each activity will be completed, and the type of documentation that will be submitted to the department as evidence of completion of each activity. If a CAP requires the district to develop one or more products, the district may submit the product(s) as part of the corrective action plan. The CAP will be reviewed and the district will be informed if any revisions are required. The district will implement the CAP after it has been approved by the department.
This concludes our investigation of this complaint. This letter is not intended, and should not be construed, to cover any other issues regarding compliance with the IDEA or Chapter 115, Wisconsin Statutes, which may exist and which are not specifically discussed herein. Under the Wisconsin public records law, 19.31-19.39, Wisconsin Statutes, it may be necessary to release this document and related correspondence and records upon request.
Juanita S. Pawlisch, Ph.D., Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy