IDEA Complaint Decision 01-064

On August 23, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the South Milwaukee School District. The issue was whether the district failed to implement the provisions of the youths individualized education program (IEP) at the beginning of the 2001-2002 school year. This is the departments decision for that complaint.

During the 1999-2000 school year, the youth whose education is the subject of this complaint attended the South Milwaukee School District and received special education services. For the 2000-2001 school year, the youth was placed at the Ethan Allen School, a school operating under the authority of the Department of Corrections. While there, the youth received special education services and an IEP was written for May 9, 2001 to May 8, 2002.

During the first part of August, 2001, the student was released from the Ethan Allen School. The youths parent went to the South Milwaukee School District office and the high school to enroll the youth in the district during the week of August 20, 2001. The parent provided the district with a copy of the youths current IEP. The principal refused to enroll the youth due to a misunderstanding regarding payment of special education services for an alternative placement. When the special education director learned of the situation, she convened an IEP team meeting to review and revise the existing IEP. The IEP team met on August 29, 2001 and placed the student at a nearby private school which the youth began attending on August 31, 2001. The official beginning of the school year for the South Milwaukee school district was August 29, 2001.

In its response to the complaint, the district acknowledged to the department that it did not implement the IEP developed by the previous district when the student transferred into the district resulting in a brief interruption of service. While the district took prompt action to review and revise the youths current IEP and develop a placement during the first week of the school year, the department concludes that the district did not provide special education services to the youth for 2 days at the beginning of the 2001-2002 school year. The district agreed to inform school principals of the legal requirements related to transfer students with disabilities and programs in effect at the beginning of the school year. The district must send the department documentation of the corrective activities by December 22, 2001.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 11/21/01
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

dec/svb

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