IDEA Complaint Decision 03-042

On October 16 and 17, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from the XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2003-2004 school year, implemented a child's individualized education program (IEP) requiring daily direct special education instruction in a resource setting.

 

On May 20, 2003, an IEP team meeting was held to determine eligibility, develop an IEP and determine placement for the child in this complaint. The IEP team determined that the child's placement would begin the following school year at a different elementary school in the district. The team determined that the child would receive special education for reading, math, language arts, spelling, science, social studies, health and guidance per district time allotments in the special education room. In addition the child would attend music, art, library, and physical education in regular education classes with adult monitoring by special education staff.

 

The district acknowledges in the response to this complaint that the child's IEP was not implemented as written between September 2, 2003 and October 21, 2003. The child participated in the general education curriculum in all regular education classes without an IEP team meeting to review and revise the child's IEP and placement. On October 21, 2003, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the child's IEP. The child's special education services were revised to: Emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBD) support on an as needed basis, per district time allotments in the EBD classroom. Attend music, art, library, and physical education with regular education class with support by special education staff, on an as needed basis, per district time allotments in regular education classes.

 

A local educational agency (LEA) meets its obligation to provide a free appropriate public education to a child, in part, by providing special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services in conformity with a proper IEP. The IEP must specify special education and supplementary aids and services that will be provided for the child to advance appropriately toward annual goals and be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children in regular classes, the general curriculum, and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities. The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members. The IEP team which met October 21, 2003, did not clearly specify the amount of, special education services or the circumstances under which the child will be educated with same-age peers in regular education. The terms "as needed" and "per district time allotments" do not clearly define the amount and location of special education services.

 

The district must hold an IEP team meeting to address the lack of specificity in the child's IEP. The IEP team also must determine if the child needs additional services due to the periods when the child's IEP was not implemented. The district must submit the child's revised IEP to the department by January 26, 2004. The district also must ensure that district staff are aware of the requirements for appropriate IEP statements to specify special education and supplementary aids and services that will be provided for the child to be educated and participate with nondisabled children in regular classes and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities. The district will advise the department of its proposed corrective actions within 30 days of receiving of this decision.

 

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. In addition, in response to this complaint, 03-024, the district has sent a memo to all principals and will discuss the need to implement IEPs as written at meetings with principals and assistant superintendents by January 30, 2004. Department staff will work closely with the district to assist in its implementation of CAPs.

 

This concludes our review of this complaint.

 

//signed CST 12/18/03
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