On October 26, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Green Bay Area School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues relate to the 2005-2006 school year and are identified below:
- Whether the district properly included the parent in all individualized education program (IEP) team meetings.
The parent alleges the district convened an IEP team meeting on November 8, 2005, without her knowledge and has not disclosed the content of that meeting to her. An IEP team meeting was held on October 25, 2005, for the purpose of an annual IEP review, development of a transition statement, and determination of placement. This meeting could not be concluded in one session and was scheduled to continue on November 8, 2005. An invitation was sent to the parent for the November 8, 2005, IEP team meeting. On November 7, 2005, the parent asked that the IEP team meeting be rescheduled because she would not be able to attend. With the parent’s agreement, the second part of the IEP team meeting was rescheduled for November 15, 2005. The parent attended the meetings on October 25, 2005, and November 15, 2005. The parent tape-recorded each meeting. The district contends that no IEP team meeting occurred on November 8, 2005, and that references to this date on IEP documents were clerical errors because of the change in meeting dates. There is no other evidence that a November 8, 2005, meeting occurred and the district’s explanation is credible. Therefore, the department finds that no IEP team meeting occurred on November 8, 2005.
Another meeting was held on December 7, 2005, to discuss work experience issues. No documentation was submitted by either party to indicate that this was an IEP team meeting. The parent attended the meeting. An IEP team meeting was held on March 30, 2006, for the purpose of an IEP review. Specifically the IEP team meeting was held to address the work experience components of the IEP for the 2006-2007 school year. An invitation to the IEP team meeting was sent. The parent attended the meeting. Both the parent and the district tape-recorded the meeting. The district properly included the parent in all IEP team meetings during the 2005-2006 school year.
- Whether the district provided the required hours of instruction while releasing the student early at the end of each day.
The parent alleges that during the 2005-2006 school year the student was denied 28 minutes of education each school day, as he was released from class at 2:30 pm instead of 2:58 pm. A related issue was addressed in an earlier complaint decision. The department determined in that complaint the student’s IEP did not properly document that the student was to be released 10-15 minutes before other students.
State law requires districts to schedule direct student instruction for at least 1137 hours each year for students in grades 7-12. Scheduled hours include recess and time for students to transfer between classes but do not include the lunch period. In this case, the student’s IEP requires proximal adult support in the cafeteria. This does not meet the requirement of direct student instruction. Consequently, the district provided 1124 hours of direct student instruction for the 2005-2006 school year. The district did not provide the required hours of instruction during the 2005-2006 school year while releasing the student early at the end of the school day consistent with state requirements for direct student instruction. The district stated that beginning with the 2006-2007 school year adjustments have been made with the contracted transportation carrier for a safe dismissal of the student at the regular time.
Within 45 days of receiving this decision the district must conduct an IEP team meeting to determine whether the student requires additional service due to the reduction in direct student instruction.
- Whether the district properly considered whether the student required extended school year services during the summer of 2006.
The parent alleges that the district failed to invite necessary participants to extended school year (ESY) IEP team meetings. When the IEP team met on March 30, 2006, it was for the purpose of an IEP review, developing a transition plan, and determining continuing placement. Specifically, the meeting was to address the work experience components of the IEP for 2006-2007 school year. The issue of extended school year was not raised by either the parent or any other member of the IEP team at this meeting or at any other IEP team meeting during the 2005-2006 school year. The parent was present and the meeting was tape-recorded by both the parent and the district.
In May 2006, in response to parent inquiries, the district attempted to schedule an IEP team meeting to address the student’s eligibility for extended school year services. Email correspondence was exchanged between the district and the parent in an effort by the district to schedule the IEP team meeting to allow for parent participation. The parent indicated that she did not feel the need to be at the meeting if the purpose was to determine eligibility for extended school year services. An IEP team meeting was never scheduled to address ESY.
Extended school year services are special education and related services provided beyond the limits of the school term consistent with a child's individualized education program. A district is not required to consider extended school year services for each child at an IEP team meeting unless raised by a parent or another IEP team meeting participant. If the issue is raised, the IEP team must meet to determine whether the child requires extended school year services in order to receive a free appropriate public education. The district did not properly consider whether the student required extended school year services during the summer of 2006.
Within 45 days of receiving this decision, the district must conduct an IEP team meeting to determine whether the student needs additional services as a result of the district’s not having considered ESY services in response to the parent bringing up the issue for the summer of 2006. The district must also submit proposed corrective action for appropriate district staff, to ensure that if the issue is raised, the IEP team must meet to determine whether the child requires extended school year services in order to receive a free appropriate public education.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy