IDEA Complaint Decision 08-052

On May 19, 2008, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Northern Ozaukee School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2007-2008 school year properly responded to a parent’s concerns during individualized education program (IEP) team meetings regarding the student’s reading needs and properly implemented the student’s IEP regarding special education instruction in reading.

The student has attended the district under open enrollment since August 28, 2007. The student’s IEP in effect at the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year identified reading needs, included a reading goal, and called for 42 minutes per day of specific learning disabilities reading services to address the student’s reading needs. The district did not implement these services because it did not have a reading program at the high school and did not have the materials specified in the student’s IEP goal.

The IEP team met on September 28, 2007, to review and revise the student’s IEP. The parent attended the meeting. The student’s reading needs were discussed. There is no evidence the IEP team determined the student no longer had disability-related reading needs. The team decided the student’s reading needs would be met by the parent at home. The district agreed to provide instructional materials to the parent. The revised IEP included the daily supplemental service of “parent will work on phonics instruction with consultation of the special education teacher.” There was no amount of service prescribed. No other special education services were included to address reading.

The district provided supplemental reading materials to the parent in October 2007. The parent refused to use the materials because she believed they were not at the appropriate level and did not address the student’s reading needs. The district offered other materials to the parent in December 2007. Again, the parent refused the materials because she felt they did not address the student’s identified reading needs.

On November 29, 2007, the student’s special education teacher, guidance counselor and parent met and revised the IEP without an IEP team meeting. There was discussion about the student’s reading needs. The parent and district disagreed about the needs and special education services. In response to the parent’s concerns, the district agreed to administer a reading assessment and documented this agreement on the revised IEP. A reading test was administered in January, and results were shared with the parent. On January 18, 2008, the parent informed the district she felt the assessment was inadequate and requested additional reading assessment. The district agreed and administered additional testing in March. The results were shared with the parent in a report dated March 13. The reading assessments were not considered to be part of a reevaluation.

The IEP team meeting was held on April 16, 2008, to review and revise the student’s IEP. The January and March test results were reviewed; however, there is no documentation of the assessment results in the IEP. The IEP was revised to add virtual conferencing with the special education teacher for 30 minutes twice weekly as a special education service to provide reading instruction. No reading goal was added. The virtual conferencing was never implemented because the student did not have access to needed equipment. The district held several IEP team meetings after the end of the 2007-2008 school year; to date, no further revision to the IEP has been made, and no reading services have been provided.

The district failed to properly respond to the parent’s concerns about the student’s reading needs and to appropriately develop and implement special education services in reading. The parent raised concerns about the student’s reading needs and services during the fall of 2007. On November 27, 2007, the district agreed to address the concern by collecting additional assessment information. It took the district until March 13, 2008, to complete the reading assessment and make recommendations. Reading needs were identified, but the IEP team did not reconvene until April 16, 2008, to address them. The district did not timely respond to the parent’s concerns. The student’s IEP in effect at the start of the year included special education reading instruction which was not provided. Expecting the parent to work with the student does not fulfill the district’s obligation to provide a free appropriate public education to the student. The April 2007 IEP, which included reading services to be provided by the special education teacher, was not implemented.

Within 30 days of receiving this decision, the district must submit proposed corrective actions to the department to ensure IEP teams appropriately identify the needs of students with disabilities and develop and implement special education and related services to address those needs. The district is further directed to reconvene the IEP team to review the student’s reading needs and, as appropriate, revise the IEP to include special education services to address those needs. The IEP team must also determine what additional services are necessary due to the district’s failure to provide needed special education reading services during the 2007-2008 school year. By October 24, 2008, the district must send the department documentation of the student specific corrective actions including a copy of the student’s IEP.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 9/24/08
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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