On September 19 and October 3, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the departments decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district failed to:
- provide the speech and language services required by the childs individualized education program (IEP) during the 2001-2002 school year;
- properly notify the parents of an IEP team meeting to be held in late September or early October 2001 and to schedule the meeting at a mutually agreed on time;
- provide the parents, prior to the IEP team meeting, with the childs recent assessment materials following their request;
- include in the childs IEP the frequency of the services to be provided; and
- consider the parents concerns for enhancing the education of their child.
The district acknowledged to the department that it failed to provide required speech and language services to the child for approximately the first three weeks of the current school year. The district convened an IEP team meeting on October 2, 2001, to determine if the child requires additional services to compensate for the delay in providing services at the beginning of the school year. The IEP team determined that the child does need additional services, and the district is now providing speech and language services in accordance with the childs October 2 IEP. Therefore, the department will not require additional corrective actions regarding this issue.
On September 21, 2001, the district called the parents and sent them an invitation for an IEP team meeting to be held on October 1, 2001. The parents declined that meeting date. On September 24, 2001, the speech pathologist sent the parents a letter requesting that they inform the district of an acceptable date for the IEP team meeting. On September 26, 2001, the district called the parents regarding rescheduling the IEP team meeting. On September 28, 2001, the speech pathologist sent the parents a letter making another attempt to reschedule the IEP team meeting, to be held on October 2, 2001, and indicating that the parents had declined that time. The letter requested that the parents let the district know as soon as possible what time would work for them. The parents did not contact the district about another time to hold the meeting. The IEP team meeting was held on October 2, 2001. Both parents arrived for the meeting, and the childs mother participated in the IEP team meeting. The department concludes that the parents were properly notified of the IEP team meeting, that the district repeatedly attempted to schedule the meeting at a mutually agreed upon time, and that a parent participated in the meeting.
On September 24, 2001, the childs father requested in writing that the district provide him with a "copy of all documentation which will be discussed at the 10/1/01" (sic). The parent informed the department that, by this request, he was asking to receive copies of his childs phonological analysis and progress report prepared by the speech pathologist. The district provided the parents with the two-page report at the beginning of the October 2 IEP team meeting. The IEP team discussed the childs progress, and the speech pathologist explained the phonological analysis to the team. The IEP indicates that the district informed the parent of the right to additional time, and the district stated that the parent did not request additional time to consider the two-page report.
A school district is required to provide parents of a child with a disability, on request, access to their childs education records without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP or a due process hearing and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made. Records include any information directly related to the student and maintained by an educational agency. Here, the district provided the requested records at the beginning of the IEP team meeting. The parent, along with the entire IEP team, had time to review the two-page report, received an explanation of it from the speech pathologist, and discussed it at the IEP team meeting. In addition, the district informed the parent of the right to request additional time before proceeding with the meeting. Based upon these circumstances, the district met the requirements to provide the requested information.
The childs October 2 IEP states that she will receive specialized instruction in speech intelligibility for 90 minutes per week in 2 to 3 timed sessions. The amount and frequency of services was discussed by the IEP team, including the parent, at the meeting. The department concludes that the childs IEP includes the amount and frequency of services to be provided by the district.
The October 2 IEP also includes information provided by the parent at the meeting regarding the childs present level of educational performance. The information relates to the childs strengths and the parents concerns about the childs education. The parents of a child with a disability are expected to be equal participants along with school staff in developing, reviewing, and revising their childs IEP. This is an active role in which the parents provide, among other things, information regarding their childs strengths and express their concerns for enhancing the education of their child. The department concludes that the district considered the parents concerns for enhancing the childs education and included that information in the childs IEP.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy