IDEA Complaint Decision 99-003

On January 11, 1999 (letter dated January 8, 1999), a complaint was filed with the Department of Public Instruction by XXXXX against the Edgerton School District. This complaint alleges a violation of special education law regarding the implementation of programs for children with disabilities.

Pursuant to 34 CFR 300.660-662 of the regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and ss. 115.762(3)(g) and 115.90(1), Wis. Stats., the Department of Public Instruction investigated this complaint. In investigating a complaint, the department reviews a district's compliance with state and federal requirements. As part of this investigation, department staff reviewed documents submitted by the district and relevant education records of the child.

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ISSUE:

Did the Edgerton School District apply for and receive state and federal funding for the special education of XXXXX, a non-resident of the school district, during the 1997-98 school year?

APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B 20 USC
Sec. 1411 Authorization; allotment; use of funds; authorization of appropriations (effective beginning with funds appropriated for fiscal year 1998).

(a) Grants to States--
(1) Purpose of grants--The Secretary shall make grants to States and the outlying areas, and provide funds to the Secretary of the Interior, to assist them to provide special education and related services to children with disabilities in accordance with this part.
(2) Maximum amounts--The maximum amount of the grant a State may receive under this section for any fiscal year is --
(A) the number of children with disabilities in the State who are receiving special education and related services --
(i) aged 3 through 5 if the State is eligible for a grant under section 1419; and
(ii) aged 6 through 21; multiplied by
(B) 40 percent of the average per-pupil expenditure in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States.

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Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B
20 USC Sec. 1418 Evaluation and program information (effective until July 1, 1998).

(a) The Secretary shall, directly or by grant, contract, or cooperative agreement, collect data and conduct studies, investigations, analyses, and evaluations --
(1) to assess progress in the implementation of this chapter;
(2) to assess the impact and effectiveness of State and local efforts, and efforts by the Secretary of the Interior, to provide --
(A) free appropriate public education to children and youth with disabilities; and
(B) early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities; and

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(b)(1) In carrying out subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary, on at least an annual basis * * * shall obtain data concerning programs and projects assisted under this Act * * * including --
(A) the number of infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities in each State receiving a free appropriate public education * * *

* * *

(C) the number of children and youth with disabilities exiting the educational system each year through program completion or otherwise, by disability category, for each year of age from age 14 through 21;

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ADMINISTRATIVE & JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS:

Department of Public Instruction, Instructions for PI-2197, IDEA Federal Student Data Reports, December 1, 1997 - SY 1997-98

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), requires the state educational agency to collect data regarding the implementation of the IDEA.

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The IDEA requires each state to report the number of eligible children with disabilities who are on membership rolls, attendance rolls, and receiving special education and related services on December 1st. The Child Count Report will be used to determine Wisconsin's allocation of IDEA Part B funds for FY 98 to be available for the 1998-99 school year.

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Each public agency that is responsible for providing FAPE (school district/state agency) is required to report to the SEA an unduplicated count of the number of eligible resident children with disabilities receiving special education and related services on membership and attendance rolls as of December 1, 1997.

* * *

The non-child count data reports required by OSEP are:
Exit Report: A report of children exiting special education . . . from 12/1/96 through 11/30/97.

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FINDINGS OF FACT:

The complainant is a 17-year-old youth who transferred into the Edgerton School District from Ethan Allen School, a Department of Corrections facility, on December 5, 1996. The district reviewed and implemented the youth's 1996-97 IEP that had been developed at Ethan Allen School and offered placement in a self-contained integrated program for emotional disturbance (ED). On May 5, 1997, the district developed the youth's 1997-98 IEP. At the beginning of the 1997-98 school year, he attended the first three days of school, in part, but did not attend school for the remainder of the school year.

On September 12, 1997, the youth's mother informed the district that the youth was a runaway. On September 30, 1997, the district referred the youth to the county for truancy. On November 12, 1997, the youth telephoned the district office and stated that he no longer lived in the district, but he did not provide a new address. On December 1, 1997, the district included the youth as a child eligible for funding in the PI-2197 Federal Student Data Report to the department. The youth had not received special education and related services from the district since August 1997. The district did not include him in the PI-2197 Exit Report to the department on December 1, 1997.

On April 27, 1998, the district received a letter from the youth's mother in which she stated that the child no longer attended school in Wisconsin and requested that the child be "removed from special education." On December 1, 1998, the district included the youth in the PI-2197 Exit Report to the department.

CONCLUSION:

The United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) requires the department to collect data regarding the implementation of IDEA. The department must report the number of eligible children with disabilities in Wisconsin who are on membership rolls, attendance rolls, and receiving special education and related services on December 1st. Consequently, the department requires each public school district in the state to file the PI-2197 Federal Student Data Report, which includes an unduplicated count of the number of eligible resident children with disabilities receiving special education and related services on membership and attendance rolls as of December 1st of each year. The Federal Student Data Report is used to determine Wisconsin's allocation of IDEA Part B funds for fiscal year 1998 to be available in large part to public school districts for the 1998-99 school year.

The district included the youth on the December 1, 1997, Federal Student Data Report filed with the department. The youth was not receiving special education and related services in the district on December 1, 1997. The complaint is substantiated.

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DIRECTIVE:

The Edgerton School District shall, within 30 days of receipt of this report, submit to the department a corrective action plan (CAP) that ensures that children who are reported as eligible on the PI-2197 Child Count Report filed by the district are receiving special education and related services on December 1st of the reporting year. The PI-2197 Child Count Report dated December 1, 1997, will be amended to delete one child for which the district is eligible to receive funding, and the allocation of funding to the district will be reduced accordingly.

The CAP shall include the activities the district will undertake to implement the directives, the personnel responsible for each activity, the date by which each activity will be completed, and the type of documentation that will be submitted to the department as evidence of completion of each activity. If a CAP requires the district to develop one or more products, the district may submit the product(s) as part of the corrective action plan. The CAP will be reviewed and the district will be informed if any revisions are required. The district will implement the CAP after it has been approved by the department.

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This concludes our investigation of this complaint. This letter is not intended, and should not be construed, to cover any other issues regarding compliance with the IDEA or Chapter 115, Wisconsin Statutes, which may exist and which are not specifically discussed herein. Under the Wisconsin public records law, ss. 19.31-19.39, Wisconsin Statutes, it may be necessary to release this document and related correspondence and records upon request.

Please be advised that under 34 CFR 300.661(d) either the school district or the complainant may request a review of these findings by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education. Requests for secretarial review should be submitted to:

Judith Heumann, Assistant Secretary
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
U. S. Department of Education
Switzer Building
330 C Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202

Signed JSP
3/10/99
_______________________________________________
Juanita S. Pawlisch, Ph.D., Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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