On December 10, 2009, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Lancaster Community Schools. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues, which relate to the 2009-2010 school year, are addressed below:
- Whether the district provided special education services in a timely manner after staff was notified the student was enrolled in the district
The student enrolled in the school district on September 9, 2009, transferring to the district from a district in another state. If a student with a disability, who had an individualized education program (IEP) that was in effect in a previous public agency in another state, transfers to a public agency in a new state and enrolls in a new school, the new public agency (in consultation with the parents) must provide the student with special education and related services. The services must be comparable to those described in the student’s IEP from the previous public agency until the new public agency conducts an evaluation and/or develops, adopts, and implements a new IEP. On September 10, 2009, an IEP team meeting was held to develop the student’s IEP. The student began receiving special education services on September 14, 2009. The district provided special education services in a timely manner.
- Whether the district properly implemented the student’s IEP regarding the provision of interpreter services
Related services are services required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education. The IEP team must consider whether the student needs related services, and determine the amount and frequency of those services. The IEP completed on September 10, 2009, listed educational interpreting as a related service on the IEP, but there was no frequency and amount listed. No interpreter services were provided by the district until November 25, 2009. Limited services were provided between November 25th and January 6, 2010. The district failed to implement the student’s IEP regarding the provision of interpreter services. In addition, the amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP so the level of the district’s commitment of resources will be clear to all involved in both the development and implementation of the IEP. The student’s IEP lacked sufficient clarity because it failed to specify the amount and frequency of the interpreter services.
- Whether the district properly reduced the student’s schedule
In considering a reduced schedule, the IEP team must consider why the reduced schedule is necessary to meet the individual needs of the student and document the decision in the IEP. The IEP team discussed, because of the student’s needs, the student requires a shortened day. The September 10 IEP stated the student would begin on a half-day schedule with the goal of transition to a full-day schedule. The intent was the student would return to a full-day schedule as soon as possible. The half-day schedule began on September 14, 2009. The student began attending the school full days beginning October 12. The district properly reduced the student’s schedule.
- Whether the district properly notified the parents of an IEP team meeting
An IEP team meeting was held on November 4, 2009, for the purpose of reviewing and revising the IEP and determining continued placement. The complainant alleges and the district acknowledges, the parents were not provided proper notification of the November 4, 2009, meeting. The district did not properly notify the parents of an IEP team meeting.
Within 20 days of the date of this decision, the district is directed to schedule and conduct an IEP team meeting to revise the student’s IEP to include the amount, frequency, duration, and location of the educational interpreting services. By February 20, 2010, the district will submit a copy of the revised IEP. During the IEP team meeting, the district will also consider whether compensatory services are needed because of the district’s failure to implement the student’s IEP.
In addition, within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan (CAP) to ensure staff understands:
- All special education and related services in the IEP must include a clear statement of the amount, frequency, duration, and location of special education and related services to be provided.
- Parents must be properly notified of an IEP team meeting.
All noncompliance identified above must be corrected as soon as possible, but in no case more than one year from the date of this decision. This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST 2/3/10
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy