IDEA Complaint Decision 05-041

On September 16, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district after a spring 2005 individualized education program (IEP) team meeting and parent school choice request, properly determined the student's placement for the 2005-2006 school year.

On March 17, 2005, an IEP team met to develop the student's annual IEP, and determine continuing placement. The student's mother attended the meeting. The student's placement continued at the school he was attending. On April 20, an IEP team met to review and revise the student's IEP. The student's mother attended the IEP team meeting with a parent advocate. The student's April 20 IEP program summary and determination and notice of placement indicates the student's placement continued at the school he was attending. The student's mother received placement notices at the IEP team meetings. On June 1, 2005, the student's mother signed the school choice form, Student Assignment Form 1, requesting that her child attend a different named school for the fall semester 2005. The student's mother was verbally informed that the year-round school she selected had a seat available. On June 4, the student's mother confirmed by telephone with the school special service supervisor that she would accept placement at the selected school. On June 6, 2005, the special services supervisor at the student's school of attendance signed the Student Assignment Form. On June 14, a central office reviewer initialed the form, indicated that a seat was not available at the selected school and the district decision that the student would continue at his 2004-2005 school assignment. The school special services supervisor who signed the school choice form did not receive the school selection form until September 2005. There is no record of a district response to the parent regarding her school selection request. The district acknowledges that the parent did not receive a copy of the school selection form with the district's decision. The district has volunteered to modify the school selection form, Student Assignment Form 1, to document the district's written response to a parent's request for a change in school assignment.

The student did not attend school on August 1, 2005, the first day of student attendance for the year-round school selected by the parent. On August 29, September 2 and 8, the parent advocate sent e-mails to the district requesting help to determine a placement for the student. The student did not attend school on September 1, the first day of school for the child's assigned school. On September 7 and 9, the school social worker contacted the student's mother regarding the student's attendance. Both the student's mother and the parent advocate informed the school that the mother refused to send the student to the assigned school and wanted a year-round school assignment for the student. On September 21, 2005, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student's IEP and determine continuing placement. The team decided the student would be placed at the year-round school selected by the parent.

The district determined the student's placement for the 2005-2006 school year using proper placement procedures. The school staff promptly followed the district's No Show Procedures for the student when the student failed to attend the school in which he was enrolled.

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

//signed 11/8/05 by SJP
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