IDEA Complaint Decision 08-044

On April 30, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2007-2008 school year, properly responded to a request for a student’s records when the student transferred to another district.

On or about January 10, 2008, the Fond du Lac School District sent, by fax, a written request for the student’s immunization records and a letter for pupil records to the student’s MPS middle school. On January 14, 2008, the student enrolled in the Fond du Lac School District and district staff met with the student’s mother to review his MPS individualized education program (IEP). After receiving the student’s IEP and immunization records from MPS, Fond du Lac School District staff made multiple phone calls to MPS to locate the student’s complete cumulative records. The MPS middle school the student was attending before he transferred to the Fond du Lac School District did not have the student’s cumulative record. On March 25, the Fond du Lac School District sent, by fax, a written request for records to a private school the student attended prior to the MPS middle school. The private school sent the student’s grades but did not have the student’s cumulative record.

On or about April 8, 2008, the child’s mother and a parent advocate called DPI and requested assistance in locating the student’s cumulative record. The student’s records were located by MPS staff at another MPS school the student had previously attended. On April 9, after receiving another written request, MPS sent the student’s records to the Fond du Lac School District. On June 4, 2008, the student withdrew from the Fond du Lac School District. Fond du Lac School District has not received a request for the student’s records from the parent or another school district.

A school district must transfer to another school or school district all pupil records relating to a specific student if it has received written notice from an adult student or the student’s parent or guardian, if the student is a minor, that the student intends to enroll in the other school or school district or written records notice from the other school or school district that the student has enrolled. The district must send the records within five working days of receipt of the written request. In this case, when MPS received a written January 2008 requests for pupil records, the student’s IEP and immunization records were sent to the new school district. MPS staff informed the Fond du Lac School District staff, through phone conversations, they could not locate the student’s cumulative record. In April 2008, with renewed search efforts, MPS located the student’s cumulative record and responded to an April written request for the student’s records. The district must develop and send to DPI by July 21 a corrective action plan to ensure students’ cumulative records are available to both MPS staff in a student’s school of attendance and available to send to schools a student may transfer to within five working days of receipt of a written request.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 6/23/08
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