IDEA Complaint Decision 03-025

On May 23, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district implemented the individualized education program (IEP) of a child with a disability developed in April 2003 regarding staff support.

The child's April 15, 2003, IEP includes multiple supplementary aids and services regarding staff support. Between April 15 and May 14, 2003, these supplementary aids and services were provided by the special education teacher, special education classroom assistant and other available staff, with the exception of services related to the child's augmentative communication device. The device, Dynavox, was not moved from the child's special education classroom to other classrooms in which the child had classes as required by the IEP. Staff, other than the speech and language therapist, who worked with the child had minimal training on the use of the device and provided limited assistance to the child in its use. Staff support to the child to use the augmentative communication device was not sufficient to implement the child's IEP. On or about April 2, 2003, the child's Dynavox was broken. The Dynavox was not available for the child's assistive technology evaluation on April 9, 2003. An augmentative communication device was not provided to the child at school between April 9 and June 11, 2003, during the school year and between June 16 and July 24, 2003, during extended school year services.

In response to the complainant's allegation that staff support in the child's April 15, 2003, IEP were not provided, the district determined that there were some areas of information that were shared at the April 15, IEP team meeting that needed clarification. IEP team meetings were held on May 14 and June 19 to clarify the team's decisions made on April 15. The team agreed that an assistant needed to be hired immediately and that the team on April 15 agreed that an assistant be hired to provide one-on-one support to the child. On June 19, the IEP team also considered the child's need for an augmentative communication device and agreed to address this at a future time. The team also agreed to meet twice, by September 2, and within one month of the start of the 2003-2004 school year, to review and revise the child's IEP. A one-on-one assistant was not provided to the child between April 16 and June 11, 2003. Beginning June 16, 2003, a one-on-one educational assistant provided staff support to the child during extended school year. The district has assured the department that a one-on-one assistant will provide support to the child during the 2003-04 school year. The IEP team also must determine if the child needs additional services to compensate for the periods when the child's IEP was not implemented. The district must submit documentation of these child-specific corrective actions to the department by September 30, 2003.

On May 21, 2003, the department approved a district IDEA complaint corrective action plan (CAP) that includes activities to ensure that the district implements the IEPs of children with disabilities. The district is in the process of conducting these activities and submitting documentation to DPI to verify completion of the activities. Department staff will work closely with the district to assist in its implementation of the CAP.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 7/21/03
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