IDEA Complaint Decision 07-085

On November 8, and December 7, 2007, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district:

  • during the 2007-2008 school year properly determined a student’s placement following a manifestation determination; and
  • provided required transportation consistent with a student’s individualized education program (IEP) between November 6 and November 26, 2007.

On April 17, 2007, the district held an IEP team meeting to develop an annual IEP and determine placement for the reminder of the 2006-2007 school year and to start the 2007-2008 school year. On September 25, 2007, the student brought a weapon to school. The student was suspended from school on September 26 for five days but was readmitted to school on September 27. On October 1, a district central office discipline hearing was held and the district did not pursue expulsion. On October 12, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student’s IEP, conduct a manifestation determination, and determine continuing placement. The student’s parent attended the IEP team meeting. The team determined the student’s behavior was a manifestation of his disability and the IEP should continue to be carried out at the student’s current school.

On November 6, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student’s IEP, conduct a functional behavioral assessment, develop a behavioral intervention plan, and determine continuing placement. The student’s parent attended the IEP team meeting. The IEP team determined the student’s IEP would be implemented at a different school with November 12, 2007, as the projected date of implementation.

In his December 7 letter, the complainant maintained that the local educational agency (LEA) representative for the October 12 and November 6 IEP team meetings did not have the authority to commit district resources. The school principal attended the October 12 and November 6 IEP team meetings as the LEA representative. The school principal is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education, is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum, and is knowledgeable about, and authorized by the district to commit, the available resources of the district. The IEP team determined the student needed an alternative school. The district office was contacted to learn which alternative schools had seats available for the student. The district properly determined the student’s placement on October 12 and November 6, 2007, following the October 12 manifestation determination.

The IEPs developed for the student during IEP team meetings held April 17, October 12, and November 6, 2007, require the related service of transportation by yellow bus door-to-door. A school district must ensure all services specified in a student’s IEP are provided. November 12 through November 26, when the student’s placement was changed to an alternative school, door-to-door transportation was not provided to the student. Between November 13 and November 26, the student’s parent and the parent’s advocate contacted a number of district staff requesting transportation for the student. On November 19, the student’s parent started transporting the student to school. The student was provided transportation home on November 26. District staff did not provide the parent or the advocate directions on who to contact to order the needed transportation or the district’s procedures to order the transportation for the student. The district’s electronic student information system (ESIS) records the student as truant on November 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16. However, transportation was not provided to the student on these days.

The district must ensure no interruption of IEP services occurs when children with disabilities transfer from one school to another in the district. The district must review its determination the student was truant on November 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 to consider whether the student was unable to attend school due to a lack of transportation services. If the student was not truant, the student’s attendance record must be corrected. The district is directed to conduct an IEP team meeting to determine whether compensatory services are required for days when the student was absent from school if the absence was due to lack of transportation services. By March 7, 2008, the district must provide the department a copy of the student’s IEP and attendance record documenting the IEP team’s consideration of compensatory services and the attendance determination. In addition, the district must review and revise, if necessary, district procedures regarding transportation as a special education related service including establishing what district staff are responsible to order the transportation and to ensure no interruption of services occurs when children with disabilities transfer from one school to another in the district. Further, the district will provide training to all the special education leadership liaisons (SELLs), special services supervisors, district staff who regularly serve as IEP team LEA representatives, and any other district staff responsible to order the transportation and ensure no interruption of services occurs when children with disabilities transfer from one school to another in the district. By March 7, the district must provide the department a copy of the procedures with documentation of training activities completed.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 2/4/08
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