On May 25, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools. The issues are whether the district properly responded to parent requests on May 12 and June 1, 2000, to have individualized education program (IEP) team meetings; included services in the December 7, 2000, IEP to meet the childs educational needs related to transportation; and properly conducted an IEP team meeting on December 7, 2000, to review, and, as appropriate, revise the child's IEP. This is the departments decision regarding that complaint.
On May 12, and June 1, 2000, the childs parent left letters at the childs school for the principal and the special services supervisor requesting an IEP team meeting to develop a plan for her sons 2000-2001 school year transportation. A local educational agency (LEA) should grant any reasonable parent request for an IEP team meeting. If the LEA refuses to convene an IEP team meeting, the LEA must provide written notice to the parents of the refusal, including an explanation of why the agency has determined that conducting the meeting is not necessary to ensure the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a student. The district did not schedule an IEP team meeting or respond in writing to the childs parent. The district will, within 30 days of receipt of this decision, submit to the department a plan to ensure that the district responds to parent requests for IEP team meetings by either scheduling meetings at mutually agreed on times or providing written notice to the parents of a refusal, including an explanation of why the agency has determined that conducting the meeting is not necessary.
On December 7, 2000, an IEP team meeting was held to determine continued eligibility, develop an IEP and determine continuing placement for the child. The IEP includes the related service of door-to-door transportation with a harness between school and home. During the meeting, the childs parents disagreed with the transportation and requested that an aide ride the bus with the child. The parent mentioned a doctors letter from 1998 recommending that the child have an aide on the school bus and in the classroom. The IEP team did not reach consensus on the transportation services to be included in the childs IEP. The IEP team should work toward consensus, but the LEA has the ultimate responsibility to ensure that the IEP includes the services that the child needs in order to receive FAPE. If the team cannot reach consensus, the LEA must provide the parents with written notice of the districts proposals or refusals and the parents have the right to seek resolution of any disagreements through mediation or by initiating a due process hearing. The district provided the required notice when it mailed a copy of the childs IEP with a notice of placement to the childs parents.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed MJT 6/29/01
Mike J. Thompson, Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy