On February 13, 2006, 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 departments decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2005-2006 school year, properly developed an individualized education program (IEP) and placement for a student with a disability and ensured that the student received required special education services.
On February 5, 2005, the students parents completed an open-enrollment application for their child to attend school in a nonresident school district. On April 7 the nonresident school district completed a notification denying the students application to attend because space was not available. On May 19 and 31, 2005, an IEP team met to develop the students annual IEP, transition statement and determine continuing placement. The students parents and a parent advocate attended the meetings. The students placement for the 2005-2006 school year continued at the students 2004-2005 school.
The student did not attend school on September 1, 2005, the first day of student attendance for the 2005-2006 school year, and remained out of school through March 2006. On September 20, the school social worker contacted the students mother regarding the students attendance. Between September 1 and December 20, the students attendance was excused due to serious medical conditions. At an October 24, 2005, IEP team meeting, the childs mother, who was accompanied by an advocate, requested that the child be placed at a school in a near-by district the parent applied for under open enrollment. The IEP team determined that the student would be reevaluated. On December 20, 2005, and February 7 and 16, 2006, IEP teams completed the evaluation including determination of continued eligibility, reviewed and revised the students IEP, determined a transition statement, and determined placement. The students parents attended the IEP team meetings. On December 20, 2005, and February 7, 2006, a parent advocate attended with the parents. One option considered to meet the students needs was Home and Hospital Services. Between December 21, 2005, and March 23, 2006, the students attendance was unexcused for 54 days. On January 6, the student was a habitual truant, absent from school without an acceptable excuse on part or all of 5 or more days on which school is held during a school semester. A district is required to notify the childs parent by registered or certified mail when the student initially becomes a habitual truant. On February 22, the students parents were notified by certified mail that their child was habitually truant. On February 16, the students placement was changed to a different district high school with a February 22 projected date of implementation. The students mother received placement notices at the IEP team meetings.
An IEP team met on March 24 to review and revise the students IEP, develop a transition statement, and determine continuing placement. The students parents and an attorney for the parent attended the meeting. The students placement was changed to Home and Hospital Services to be provided in the students home beginning the week of March 27, 2006.
The district properly developed an IEP and determined the students placement for the 2005-2006 school year. The school staff followed the districts No Show Procedures when the student did not attend school in September 2005, conducted IEP team meetings, and notified the students parents by certified mail that their child was habitually truant to ensure the student received required special education services.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
//signed CST 4/10/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy