IDEA Complaint Decision 02-060

On October 30, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district:

  • improperly failed to provide educational records related to complainants' child prior to an IEP team meeting held on October 16, 2002;
  • improperly failed to provide educational records related to complainants' child by directing complainants to obtain records from different sites; and
  • improperly failed to provide educational records related to complainants' child by failing to provide a complete copy of the 10/02/01 individualized education program (IEP), the invitation to the 10/02/01 meeting and the "shared notes" from that meeting.
On October 16, 2002, an IEP team meeting was held for the complaints' child. On November 13, 2002, MPS staff met with the child's father and provided him with all MPS records regarding his child. In a letter to the father dated November 13, 2002, MPS indicates "you have now been provided with copies of each document known to exist by Milwaukee Public Schools that is part of your child's record." The district informed the father and department that it has now provided the complainants with all of the child's educational records maintained by the district. The department concludes that the district failed to provide the complainants with copies of all of their child's educational records in a timely manner before the October 16, 2002, IEP team meeting. Because the complainants have now received copies of all of their child's educational records maintained by the district, the department will not require child-specific corrective action.

A letter dated August 22, 2002, from the MPS equitable educational opportunities liaison to the complainants regarding the location of records informed them of where their child's records might be maintained. It was not the liaison's intention to direct them to contact different sites to obtain records. MPS staff obtained records from the different locations. On November 13, 2002, MPS staff met with the father and provided him with all MPS records regarding his child. An invitation to an October 2, 2001, IEP team meeting was not included with the records because such a document was not written. Regarding "shared notes," it is unclear whether notes from the October 2, 2001, IEP team meeting were shared with district staff not at the meeting, either orally or in writing. However, any pupil records from the October 2, 2001, IEP team meeting maintained by MPS have been provided to the complainants.

The district completed corrective activities to ensure that special education and school administrative staff are aware of the requirement to provide parents of a child with a disability, on request, access to their child's educational 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. Between September 26, 2002, and October 11, 2002, the district distributed the district's Disabilities Digest to all special education services staff and school administrative staff. The department will not require any further district corrective action at this time.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed 12/20/02
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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