On September 17, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the departments decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2001-2002 school year:
- failed to allow the parent to participate in the most recent IEP team meeting;
- revised the childs IEP without holding an IEP team meeting; and
- failed to include in the IEP related services needed by the child.
An IEP team meeting for the annual review of the childs IEP was held on March 8, 2001. The district sent the parent two written notices of the meeting. Prior to March 8, the parent contacted district staff and informed them that she would be unable to attend the IEP team meeting. A district must take steps to ensure that the parent(s) of a child with a disability are present at IEP team meetings or are afforded the opportunity to participate. If a parent can not attend an IEP team meeting, the district should use other methods to ensure parent participation, including rescheduling the meeting or using individual or conference telephone calls. If an IEP team meeting is held without the parent in attendance, the district must have records of its attempts to involve the parent, such as detailed records of telephone calls and copies of correspondence sent to the parent.
Here, the district is unable to show that it afforded the parent the opportunity to participate in the March 8 IEP team meeting. On September 18, 2001, the district reconvened the IEP team, and the parent participated in that meeting to review and revise her childs IEP. Therefore, the department will not direct the district to take further child-specific corrective action regarding this issue. A recent complaint filed against the district, case #01-049, involved the same issue of affording parents the opportunity to participate by other methods in an IEP team meeting. In that complaint decision, the department directed the district to take corrective actions to ensure that if a parent does not attend an IEP team meeting, the district uses other methods to ensure parent participation. The department will ensure that the district corrects this problem through review of the corrective action plan for case #01-049 and its implementation. That corrective action plan is overdue, and the district must submit it promptly to the department for review and approval.
The parent also alleges that the district revised the childs IEP without holding an IEP team meeting. As stated earlier, IEP team meetings were held on March 8 and September 18, 2001, to review and revise the childs IEP. The district did not revise the childs IEP outside of an IEP team meeting.
At the March 8 IEP team meeting, the IEP team determined that the child did not need related services to benefit from special education. At the September 18 IEP team meeting, the childs parent requested that transportation be included as a related service in the IEP but did not request specialized transportation. The child had been riding and continues to ride the regular school bus. The IEP team determined that the child does not need transportation as a related service to benefit from special education. The IEP team determined that, due to some "recent events" affecting the child, she would benefit from psychological services for 30 minutes per week and included that as a related service in the IEP. The IEP team, including the parent, properly considered whether the child required related services to benefit from special education and included those services in the revised IEP.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
//signed by SJP 11/8/01
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy