IDEA Complaint Decision 07-017

On February 26, 2007, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Genoa City J2 School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues, which relate to the 2006-2007 school year are listed below.

  • Whether the district applied proper eligibility criteria during an evaluation of a child to determine a need for special education services.

The parent alleges the district did not properly determine that their child does not have a speech and language disability. On October 16, 2006, the individualized education program (IEP) team determined the child did not have a speech and language disability. A district must follow the required procedures, apply the required standards, and reach a determination that is reasonably supported by child-specific data. The district reviewed existing data, including information provided by the child’s parent, and administered a variety of assessment tools to gather functional and developmental information. The district provided a final evaluation report which included an individual report for speech and language. The department concludes the district properly followed the required procedures and determined eligibility based on evidence that the child does not meet the definition of a child with a speech and language disability.

  • Whether the district properly responded to the parents’ request for an independent educational evaluation (IEE) for their child.

Upon receiving a request for an IEE, a district must inform parents of the agency's IEE criteria and where to obtain an IEE. Further, the district must file a due process hearing request to show that its evaluation is appropriate or ensure that an IEE is provided at public expense. If a parent requests an IEE, the district may ask for the parent’s reason why he or she objects to the district evaluation. However, a district may not require the parent to provide an explanation or clarification and may not unreasonably delay either providing the IEE at public expense or filing a due process hearing to defend the district evaluation.

On December 12, 2006, the parents requested an IEE for a speech and language evaluation for their daughter. On December 21, 2006, the district sent a written response to the parents. In this response, the district refused the IEE request.

The district stated it had "conducted a thorough and clear evaluation and the results of that evaluation found that the student's oral language communication skills fell within the average range and the determination at the IEP team meeting was not disputed by any person present." The letter also stated if the parents still believed an IEE should be conducted, they were to contact the district at which point the district would begin due process procedures to defend its evaluation.

Following the December 21, 2006, letter from the district, there was no further action by the district in providing the IEE, and the district did not initiate a due process hearing. The department concludes that the district did not properly respond to the parents’ request for an IEE for their child.

Within thirty days, the district must develop a corrective action plan (CAP) for submission to the department for approval. The CAP must ensure that district staff understand that upon receiving a request for an IEE, the district provides parents of students with disabilities with the required information, and either files a due process hearing request to show that its evaluation is appropriate or ensures an IEE is provided at public expense. Further, the district must, within ten days, send a copy of their IEE policy and list of examiners to the parents and either file a due process hearing request to show their evaluation is appropriate or ensure the IEE is provided at public expense.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 4/19/07
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/tag

For questions about this information, contact Patricia Williams (608) 267-3720