IDEA Complaint Decision 00-003

On February 2, 2000 (letters dated February 1 & 3, 2000), a complaint was filed with the Department of Public Instruction by XXXXX against the Crivitz 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 C 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. During this investigation, department staff reviewed documents submitted by the complainant, the district's response to the complaint, and relevant education records of the child. Department staff also spoke with the district's special education director.

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ISSUE:

During the 1999-2000 school year, did the district fail to conduct a timely three-year reevaluation of the child?

APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:

Section 115.77, Wisconsin Statutes
Local education agency duties.

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(1m) A local educational agency shall demostrate to the satisfaction of the division that it does all of the following:

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(1m)(b) Makes available a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities as required by this subchapter and applicable state and federal law.

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Section 115.78, Wisconsin Statutes
Individualized education program team; timeline.

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(2) DUTIES OF TEAM. The individualized education program team shall do all of the following:

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(b) Develop an individualized education program for the child under 115.787.
(c) Determine the special education placement for the child under 115.79.

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(3) TIMELINE. (a) The local educational agency shall notify the parents of the educational placement of their child within 90 days after the local educational agency receives a special education referral for the child under 115.777 or initiates a reevaluation of the child under 115.782 (4).

(b) Before the expiration of the 90-day period, if a local education agency needs an extension, it shall inform the child's parent of the need and reasons for an extension and request the child's parent to agree in writing to a specific extension of time beyond the 90-day period.

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Section 115.782, Wisconsin Statutes
Evaluations.

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

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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.

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Section 115.792, Wisconsin Statutes.
Procedural Safeguards.

(1) SAFEGUARDS ENSURED.

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(b) The local educational agency shall establish and maintain procedures to ensure that a child's parents are provided prior written notice whenever the local educational agency proposes to initiate or change, or refuses to initiate or change, the identification, evaluation or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child.

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FINDINGS OF FACT:

The youth whose education is the subject of this complaint is a child with a disability who attends middle school in the Crivitz School District.

The district has acknowledged that it did not complete a timely three-year reevaluation of the complainant's child by January 30, 2000, when the reevaluation was required to have been completed and a placement for the child determined. On November 3, 1999, the Crititz School District sent the parents a notice of reevaluation. On January 31, 2000, an IEP team meeting was scheduled, but cancelled at the parents' request. The district rescheduled another IEP team meeting for February 11, 2000, to complete the IEP process. On January 31, 2000, the district requested parental approval for an extension of the 90-day period to February 15, 2000, to complete the IEP team process. On February 3, 2000, the parents disapproved the request for an extension of the 90-day period. On February 8, 2000, the district sent a letter to the department requesting approval for an extension of the 90-day period until February 15, 2000. The district took 100 days to complete the reevaluation.

CONCLUSION AND DIRECTIVE:

As acknowledged by the district, the department concludes a violation occurred with regard to the issue. Because the district has now completed the reevaluation of the child, the district is not directed to take further corrective action specific to the child. With regard to conducting reevaluations of other children with disabilities in a timely manner, the Crivitz 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 completes the reevaluation process consistent with 115.78 (3), Wis. Stats.

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, 19.31-19.39, Wisconsin Statutes, it may be necessary to release this document and related correspondence and records upon request.

signed JSP
3/24/00
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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