IDEA Complaint Decision 13-038

On June 26, 2013, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Madison Metropolitan School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2012-13 school year:

  • Ensured that the parent was afforded the opportunity to participate in an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting;
  • Properly provided the parent notice of an IEP team meeting;
  • Properly determined extended school year (ESY) services;
  • Properly provided ESY services; and
  • Timely provided the parent a copy of the student’s IEP.

Notice to Parent of IEP Team Meeting and Parental Participation in IEP Team Meeting

The district must take steps to ensure that the parent of a child with a disability is present at each IEP team meeting or is afforded the opportunity to participate, including notifying the parent of the meetings early enough to ensure that there will be an opportunity to attend, and scheduling the meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place. Prior to an IEP team meeting, districts must provide notice to the parent of the purpose, time, and location of the IEP team meeting, and of who will be in attendance at the IEP team meeting.

The district held IEP team meetings on September 13, 2012; May 13, 2013; and June 7, 2013. On May 3, 2013, the student’s case manager contacted the parent through e-mail to schedule an IEP team meeting to determine ESY services. The parent e-mailed a response, and stated she could attend an IEP team meeting on May 6 or May 9. On May 6, the local educational agency (LEA) representative stated she could not attend the May 6 or May 9 meeting dates. On May 7 and May 10, the case manager attempted to reschedule the IEP team meeting, and the parent confirmed her availability for an IEP team meeting on May 13. The IEP team meeting was not unnecessarily delayed. The meeting was scheduled at a mutually agreed on time, and the meeting was held as soon as all of the required IEP team members could attend. The parent attended the IEP team meeting and was given the opportunity to participate in the meeting. The IEP team considered the parent’s concerns and input in developing the student’s IEP. The district properly provided the parent notice of the IEP team meeting and afforded the parent an opportunity to participate in the IEP team meeting.

Determination and Provision of ESY Services

ESY services are special education and related services required by the student’s IEP, and provided beyond the school term. A school district is required to provide ESY services to a student when the student requires such services to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). If the IEP team decides the child requires ESY services, the team must include a description of the necessary ESY services to be provided, including the amount, frequency, and the duration of the services in the student’s IEP. The ESY services must be tailored to the unique needs of the student and may not be based solely on the availability of services during the summer. At the May 13 and June 7 IEP team meetings, the IEP team developed ESY services of instruction and support in vocational skills for sixteen hours per week, including a one to one staff member sixteen hours per week and one hour per week of autism program support. The IEP team, including the parent, came to a consensus on the ESY services, including a specific autism program support teacher to provide services. The district properly determined ESY services at the May 13 and June 7 IEP team meetings.

The IEP team must work toward consensus, but the district has the ultimate authority and responsibility to determine and provide FAPE. If the IEP team cannot reach consensus, the district must provide the parents with prior written notice of the district’s proposals or refusals, or both, regarding the child’s educational program, and the parents have the right to seek resolution of any disagreements by seeking dispute resolution options such as mediation, an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) complaint, and/or impartial due process hearing. At the May 13 IEP team meeting, the parent requested speech and language services, and at the June 7 IEP team meeting, the parent requested speech and language services and occupational therapy services. At both meetings, the district determined the student’s unique needs could be met without speech and language or occupational therapy services. During the school year, the student did not have direct services for speech and language or occupational therapy, and the student maintained speech and language and occupational therapy-related skills. The IEP team determined the student would not regress without those services. However, the district did not provide the parent prior written notice of its refusal.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a corrective action plan to ensure district staff properly provide the parent with prior written notice of the district’s proposals or refusals, or both, regarding a child’s educational program.

A student’s IEP must be implemented as written, and the district is obligated to provide ESY services consistent with the student’s IEP. The student’s IEP specified ESY services of instruction and support in vocational skills for 16 hours per week and one hour per week of autism program support from June 17, 2013, to August 23, 2013. The district began, as required, the ESY services on June 17, 2013. The district properly provided the ESY services.

Timely Provided the Parent a Copy of the Student’s IEP

Following the development or revision of the IEP and prior to its implementation, parents must receive a copy of their child’s IEP and notice of placement a reasonable time prior to its implementation. The district hand-delivered a copy of the student’s IEP to the student’s home, pursuant to agreed-upon and established practice with the parent, within a week of the IEP team meeting and in a reasonable time prior to the IEP’s implementation on June 17, 2013. The district timely provided the parent a copy of the student’s IEP.

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 8/23/2013
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support

Dec/aam

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