IDEA Complaint Decision 12-031

On June 5, 2012, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Appleton Area School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2011-12 school year:

  • Properly obtained parent consent to conduct an initial evaluation,
  • Properly provided the parent notice of who will be in attendance at the individualized education program (IEP) team meeting, and
  • Properly provided additional time to permit meaningful parental participation at IEP team meetings.

The district received a referral on March 13, 2012, and the district contacted the parent and discussed the referral, notice, and the initial evaluation process. The IEP team reviewed existing data and determined that assessments were needed. The district sent the parent a request for consent regarding the need to conduct assessments. The district contacted the parent several times using different methods to attempt to receive consent for assessment. The district also discussed with the parent the need to conduct an IEP team meeting, scheduled the date, and sent a notice of the IEP team meeting to the parent. The parent did not provide consent for assessments, and the district ended the evaluation process. The district received a written denial of consent for testing, and the district has not conducted testing. Consequently, the IEP team meeting did not occur. The district properly attempted to obtain consent from the parent prior to conducting assessments as part of an initial evaluation. However, the parent denied consent in writing. The district, therefore, did not proceed with the evaluation.

Prior to an IEP team meeting, districts must provide notice to the parent of who will be in attendance. In addition, public agencies must indicate the purpose, time, and location of the IEP team meeting. Prior to obtaining the parent’s written denial of consent for the evaluation, the district in which the student is enrolled sent the parent an invitation to an IEP team meeting that named the special education director from the student’s resident district as an IEP team member, among other individuals. If the child attends a public school in a nonresident school district through open enrollment, at least one person designated by the school board of the child's school district of residence who has knowledge or special expertise about the child is a required member of the student’s IEP team. This person was included on the invitation to the IEP team meeting, and the parent was provided prior notice. The district properly provided the parent notice that an administrator from the student’s resident district would be in attendance. Finally, the parent states she was not informed of her right to ask for additional time to permit meaningful parental participation during the IEP team meeting. In this case, an IEP team did not occur because the parent did not provide consent for the initial evaluation.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing. You may contact Allison Markoski, Special Education Team, at (608) 266-3126 if you have any questions about this decision or for technical assistance.

//signed CST 7/27/2012
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support

Dec/aam

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