On October 14, 2004, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the West Bend School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district properly responded to a request in April 2004 for a special education evaluation of a student.
In April 2004, a county social worker submitted a written request for a special education evaluation to staff at the school in the district which the student attended. In response to the letter, district staff contacted the parent to discuss the evaluation request. The parent indicated she would not consent to an evaluation. District teaching staff familiar with the student met to discuss his educational needs. They concluded that his school performance did not evidence a need for special education and decided not to proceed with an evaluation.
State law requires the district to appoint an individualized education program (IEP) team for each child referred for a special education evaluation to determine eligibility for special education. Despite the parent's first response regarding the evaluation, the district was required to send written notice to the parent that it had begun the evaluation. If the IEP team determined that testing was required, the district was required to seek written parent consent for testing. If the parent refused consent, the district could have pursued mediation or a due process hearing in response to the refusal. The child no longer is a resident of the district and was evaluated and found eligible for special education services by the district to which he has moved.
Within thirty days of this decision, the district must submit evidence demonstrating how they will ensure the appropriate staff members are informed that IEP teams must be appointed to determine eligibility for special education in response to written evaluation requests.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST 12/7/04
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy