On October 25, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). The issues in this complaint are whether the district, on October 24, 2001, failed to:
- provide the parent advocate of a child with a disability, upon request, access to a childs educational records prior to an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting;
- inform the parent of a child with a disability of his right to be provided with additional time and a copy of the evaluation report at the beginning of the IEP team meeting; and
- properly change the placement for a child with a disability.
This is the departments decision regarding that complaint.
On October 24, 2001, a parent advocate asked to review the education records of a child before an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting for the child. The parent advocate had a release of records form signed by the childs father, giving the district permission to disclose all material about the child. The parent advocate was not allowed to review the childs education records before the IEP team meeting. The district now acknowledges that a representative of a parent has the right to inspect and review education records of a child providing the representative has a release of information signed by the childs parent. The district will follow records access requirements by providing parents and their advocates with access to childrens education records without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP, or hearing, and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made.
On July 30, 2001, an IEP team developed the annual IEP and determined placement for a child with a disability. On October 24, 2001, a Milwaukee County Wraparound plan of care meeting for the child was held. The meeting transitioned into an MPS IEP team meeting to review and revise the childs IEP and determine placement. The IEP cover sheet completed by the LEA representative for the October 24, IEP team meeting has an x in the box indicating that the childs parent had been informed of his right to additional time and a copy of the evaluation report at the beginning of the IEP team meeting. However, the LEA representative acknowledges that in the confusion of transitioning from a Wraparound plan of care meeting to an IEP team meeting staff failed to inform the parent of his right to be provided with additional time and a copy of the evaluation report at the beginning of the IEP team meeting. This failure was due to the unique circumstances of this meeting and does not appear to reflect district practice in this regard. The IEP team discussed placement options for the child, but did not change the placement during the meeting. Because neither the placement nor the childs program was changed, the LEA representative simply attached the new cover sheet to the previous IEP and gave the parent his own copy. This action properly documented that no changes in the IEP had resulted from the meeting.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy