IDEA Complaint Decision 01-048

On June 6, 2001, a special education complaint was filed with the Department of Public Instruction by XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the departments decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district failed to:

  • have in effect a current IEP for a child after December 5, 2000;
  • implement, during the 2000-2001 school year, a childs individualized education program (IEP) with a beginning date of December 6, 1999, and ending date of December 5, 2000; and
  • have required participants attend March and May 2001 IEP team meetings held to develop an IEP and determine placement for the child.

In response to the complaint, the district provided the department with two IEPs for the child. The first IEP was effective from December 6, 1999, to December 5, 2000. The effective dates of the second IEP are March 12, 2001, to March 11, 2002. The district acknowledged to the department that it failed to have an IEP in effect for the child from December 5, 2000, until March 12, 2001.

The childs 1999-2000 IEP was developed at Riley Elementary School. District records indicate that the child transferred to Wheatley Elementary School on August 23, 2000. The special education supervisor informed the department that the child was placed in regular education when he transferred to Wheatley because staff did not receive an IEP from Riley for the child. The department concludes that from August 23 to December 5, 2000, the district failed to implement the childs 1999-2000 IEP at Wheatley Elementary.

Prior to the start of the 2001-2002 school year, the district must hold an IEP team meeting to determine whether the child needs additional special education services to compensate for the period when no services were provided to the child from August 23, 2000, to March 12, 2001. The district must submit documentation of this IEP team meeting to the department by August 31, 2001.

The district also must ensure that the IEPs for all children with disabilities who transfer from one school to another in the district are promptly sent to the receiving schools and that no interruption of services occurs. In addition, the district must ensure that all special education staff are aware that IEP teams must at least annually review and, as appropriate, revise the IEPs of children with disabilities. The district must advise the department of proposed corrective actions to address these issues within 30 days of the date of this decision.

The district held IEP team meetings to develop an IEP and determine placement for the child on March 12 and May 30, 2001. A school administrator, acting as the LEA representative, and a regular education teacher, among others, attended the IEP team meeting on March 12. The complainant alleges that an LEA representative and regular education teacher were not present at the May 30 IEP team meeting. A school administrator did not attend the May 30 IEP team meeting as the LEA representative. The special education supervisor informed the department that she stopped by the May 30 IEP team meeting, but did not participate in the meeting as the LEA representative. The supervisor also acknowledged that a regular education teacher did not attend the meeting, although the special education teacher and the parent did seek out the regular education teacher and spoke to her.

After the complaint was filed, the district convened an IEP team meeting for the child on June 8, 2001, and an LEA representative and regular education teacher participated in the meeting. Therefore, the department will not direct further child-specific corrective action regarding this issue.

In its 1999-2000 Onsite Monitoring Report, the department found a violation related to attendance of LEA representatives at IEP team meetings. The district undertook corrective activities to address this issue, including as recently as April 23, 2001, when training was provided to administrative staff. Because of continuing concerns, the department directed further corrective actions by the district in its 2001 Onsite Monitoring Report. In its CAP to address directive #3 of Part III of the 2001 Onsite Monitoring Report, the district must include activities to ensure that LEA representatives are aware of their required participation in IEP team meetings.

In addition, the district must ensure that special education staff and regular education teachers are aware of the requirements related to regular education teachers participation in IEP team meetings and advise the department of its proposed corrective actions to address this issue within 30 days of the date of this decision.

//signed 8/1/01
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

For questions about this information, contact Patricia Williams (608) 267-3720