IDEA Complaint Decision 99-021

On March 15, 1999 (letter dated February 23, 1999), a complaint was filed with the Department of Public Instruction by XXXXX against the Racine Unified School District (RUSD). 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. In investigating this complaint, department staff reviewed relevant portions of the child's education records and a written statement from a district's special education supervisor. Department staff contacted by telephone the complainant and a district's special education supervisor.

===========================

ISSUE:

Did the district fail to conduct a timely special education reevaluation of the complainant's son?

APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:

Wisconsin Statutes, Section 115.782
Evaluations.

* * *

(4) Reevaluations. (a) A local educational agency shall ensure that the individualized education program team does all of the following:

* * *

2. Reevaluates a child with a disability in accordance with this section if the local educational agency determines that conditions warrant a reevaluation or if the child's parent or teacher requests a reevaluation, but at least once every 3 years.

* * *

FINDINGS OF FACT:

During the 1998-99 school year, the complainant's son is a ninth grade student who is classified as a child with an emotional disturbance. The child has a current individualized education program (IEP) with a beginning date of August 31, 1998. On February 21, 1996, the child was evaluated by a multidisciplinary team (M-Team) in his former district. On February 21, 1996, a director of special education for the child's local education agency (LEA) approved the M-team evaluation report for the child. On August 19, 1996, the child transferred to the Racine Unified School District.

In early February 1999 the child's parent contacted the school principal regarding the child's reevaluation. By notice dated February 15, 1999, the LEA informed the child's parent of its intent to conduct a reevaluation of the child. On March 3, 1999, the district sent the child's parent notice that an evaluation team meeting would be held on March 15, 1999. This meeting was rescheduled and held on March 17, 1999. The child and his mother attended the meeting. The team determined that the child continued to be a child with a disability.

CONCLUSION:

At least every three years, a school district must complete a reevaluation of a child with a disability. In order for the reevaluation to be completed timely it must be completed within three years of the date of the child's last evaluation.

On February 21, 1996, the child was evaluated by an M-team to determine if the child had a need for special education. On March 17, 1999, the LEA completed a reevaluation of the child. The district failed to complete a reevaluation of the complainant's son within three years of his previous evaluation. The complaint is substantiated.

________________

DIRECTIVE:

The Racine Unified School District shall, within 30 days of receipt of this report, submit to the department a corrective action plan (CAP) to ensure that the district timely reevaluates each child with a disability.

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.

________________

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.

signed JSP/PTH
5/13/99
_______________________________________________
Juanita S. Pawlisch, Ph.D., Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

jfd

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