IDEA Complaint Decision 04-003

On February 9, 2004, 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 during the 2003-2004 school year:

  • Ensured that staff responsible for implementing portions of the child's individualized education program (IEP) were informed of their specific responsibilities; and
  • Implemented the child's IEP regarding administering the child's medication, daily completion of a behavior log, and assigned seating for the child.

On February 28, 2003, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the child's IEP and determine continuing placement. The child's parents did not attend the meeting. The parents allege that the child's 2003-2004 regular fourth grade teacher did not know that the child had an IEP until after the parents informed her through phone calls, letters, and personal conversations during the fall semester. However on August 8, 2003, the child's special education teacher met with the regular education teacher and informed her of the child's special needs and services in the IEP. Staff responsible for implementing portions of the child's IEP were informed of their responsibilities.

The child's February 28, 2003, IEP does not include services regarding administering the child's medication or daily completion of a behavior log. The supplementary aids and services list "instructional assistance as needed in academic areas, adult monitoring, and preferential seating" without location, frequency, and amount information. Between September 2, 2003, and January 27, 2004, the child had a special seat assignment. 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 February 28, 2003, did not clearly specify the amount of supplementary aids and services or the circumstances under which the child will be educated with same-age peers in regular education. The term "as needed" does not clearly define the amount and location of services.

On December 17, 2003, a conference was held with the child's parent, fourth grade teacher, special education teacher, and principal attending. Verbal understandings were reached regarding the child's medication and a notebook or behavior log to be filled out daily. On January 21, 2004, an IEP team meeting was held to determine continuing eligibility, develop an IEP, and determine placement for the child. The child's parent attended the meeting. The IEP team's considerations included the three issues: administering the child's medication, daily completion of a behavior log, and assigned seating for the child. The special education and supplementary aids and services describe the services including location, frequency, and amount. The determination and notice of placement projected date of implementation was January 21, 2004. The child did not receive all of these services on January 21, 22, 23, 26, 2004. On January 27, the child was moved to a different regular education fourth grade classroom. Since January 27, the child has been receiving the special education and supplementary aids and services related to administering the child's medication, daily completion of a behavior log, and assigned seating.

The child's January 21, IEP team developed an IEP that states the amount of services to be provided in a manner that the level of the agency's commitment of resources are clear to parents and other IEP team members. The services are being provided and no child specific corrective action is required. The district is in the process of implementing procedures to ensure that IEPs are implemented for all children with disabilities. Department staff will continue to work closely with the district to assist with review, revision, and implementation of the IEP consolidated corrective action plan.

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

//signed CST 3/23/04
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