IDEA Complaint Decision 10-010

On February 9, 2010, 2010, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Madison Metropolitan School District. The issues are whether the district, during the 2009-2010 school year, implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) regarding assistance getting on/off the bus, contacting the parent, and provision of individualized speech and language services.

On April 16, 2009, the IEP team met and developed an IEP for the student. This IEP included a related service of “transportation, 5 days a week, transport to and from school,” program modifications or supports of “communication between staff and parents, 30 minutes per month in the regular education setting,” and specially designed instruction of “communication and language, 60 minutes per week to include direction from a team of teachers inclusive of special education in the regular education setting.”

According to interviews, the transportation listed on the student’s IEP was specialized transportation on a bus for special education students. In this case, the specialized transportation included staff supervision getting on and off the bus. In November of 2009, the district and parent agreed to change the student’s IEP, without a meeting, from specialized to regular transportation over the phone. However, the parent requested that staff continue to assist the student getting on and off the bus. Although there is evidence staff walked the student through the process of getting on and off the bus on at least one occasion, this assistance was not provided on a regular basis.

The parent complains that the district did not provide 30 minutes of communication per month. District staff described one parent teacher conference, various in person meetings, emails, and phone calls. During interviews, it was unclear who was responsible for ensuring that 30 minutes of communication occurred per month, and no one could confirm that the 30 minutes were provided. No child specific corrective action is required because the failure to provide assistance with getting on and off the bus and 30 minutes of communication with the parent did not result in a denial of a free appropriate public education.

Finally, the parent complains that the child was not receiving individualized speech and language services. The IEP does not specify one-on-one speech therapy. The IEP provides for 60 minutes of communication and language in the regular education setting. Interviews with district staff confirm that the student receives 60 minutes of services per week. Those services are directed towards the goals in the student’s IEP and are delivered in a small group within the regular education classroom. The district properly implemented the student’s IEP regarding the provision of speech and language services.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan to the department. The proposed corrective action plan must ensure that student IEP’s are implemented as written and if the IEP is revised the district documents the changes and sends an updated copy of the IEP to the parent.

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 3/30/10
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