IDEA Complaint Decision 00-056

On September 6, 2000 (letter dated September 1, 2000), a complaint was filed with the Department of Public Instruction by XXXXX against the Marinette 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 §§ 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 relevant education records of the child, materials submitted by the complainant, and the district's response to the complaint. Department staff spoke by telephone with the complainant, the director of student services, and the school psychologist. This complaint deals with 13 issues. For organizational reasons, some of the issues will be addressed in the decision out of numerical order.

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ISSUE #1:

Did the district, during the 1999-2000 school year, fail to implement provisions of the child's individualized education program (IEP) requiring individual occupational therapy?

APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:

Section 115.76, Wisconsin Statutes
Definitions.

In this subchapter:

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(7) "Free appropriate public education" means special education and related services that are provided at public expense and under public supervision and direction, meet the standards of the department, include an appropriate preschool, elementary or secondary school education and are provided in conformity with an individualized education program.

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Section 115.77, Wisconsin Statutes
Local educational agency duties.

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

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(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 115.787, Wisconsin Statutes
Individualized education programs.

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(2) REQUIRED COMPONENTS. An individualized education program shall include all of the following:

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(c) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child,

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ADMINISTRATIVE & JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS:

34 CFR Part 300, Appendix A, Questions 31 and 35.

31. Must the public agency ensure that all services specified in a child's IEP are provided?

Yes. The public agency must ensure that all services set forth in the child's IEP are provided, consistent with the child's needs as identified in the IEP.

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35. Must the IEP specify the amount of services or may it simply list the services to be provided?

The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP, so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members (§ 300.347(a)(6)). The amount of time to be committed to each of the various services to be provided must be (1) appropriate to the specific service, and (2) stated in the IEP in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in both the development and implementation of the IEP.

The amount of a special education or related service to be provided to a child may be stated in the IEP as a range...only if the IEP team determines that stating the amount of services as a range is necessary to meet the unique needs of the child. For example, it would be appropriate for the IEP to specify, based upon the IEP team's determination of the student's unique needs, that particular services are needed only under specific circumstances, such as the occurrence of a seizure or of a particular behavior * * * .

FINDINGS OF FACT:

The complainants have alleged that, during the 1999-2000 school year, the district failed to provide their child with individualized occupational therapy (OT) sessions as required by his IEP. The child's 1999-2000 IEP, developed on April 20, 1999, required that he receive OT as a related service. The IEP does not specify whether OT is to be provided individually to the child or in a group setting. The IEP does not state the amount, frequency, and location of OT.

In its response to the complaint, the district stated that the child received OT "one time per week in an individual session and one time per week in a small group session for the 1999-2000 School Year; as outlined in his IEP."

CONCLUSION:

A local educational agency (LEA) must provide each child with a disability a free appropriate public education (FAPE). A district meets its obligation to provide FAPE to a child, in part, by providing special education and related services in conformity with a proper IEP. The IEP must specify special education and related services to meet the child's needs, including the amount, frequency, and location of the services. The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members.

The child's 1999-2000 IEP does not require that the child receive individualized OT. Therefore, the district was not required to provide individualized OT to the child. The IEP does not state the amount, frequency, and location of OT to be provided to the child, as required by law. There is a violation in this regard.

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ISSUE #9:

Did the district fail to provide the complainants, following their request, with a copy of their child's education records in a timely manner?

APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:

Section 118.125, Wisconsin Statutes
Pupil records.

(1) DEFINITIONS. In this section:

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(d) "Pupil records" means all records relating to individual pupils maintained by a school but does not include notes or records maintained for personal use by a teacher or other person who is required by the state superintendent under § 115.28 (7) to hold a certificate, license or permit if such records and notes are not available to others, nor does it include records necessary for, and available only to persons involved in, the psychological treatment of a pupil.

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(2) CONFIDENTIALITY.

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(a) A pupil, or the parent or guardian of a minor pupil, shall, upon request, be shown and provided with a copy of the pupil's progress records.
(b) An adult pupil or the parent or guardian of a minor pupil shall, upon request, be shown, in the presence of a person qualified to explain and interpret the records, the pupil's behavioral records. Such pupil or parent or guardian shall, upon request, be provided with a copy of the behavioral records.

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34 CFR 99.3 What definitions apply to these regulations?

The following definitions apply to this part:

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"Education records"
(a) The term means those records that are:
(1) Directly related to a student; and
(2) Maintained by an educational agency or institution or by a party acting for the agency or institution.

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34 CFR 300.560 Definitions.

As used in §§ 300.560--300.577--

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(b) Education records means the type of records covered under the definition of "education records" in 34 CFR part 99 (the regulations implementing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974).

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34 CFR 300.501 Opportunity to examine records; * * *.

(a) General. The parents of a child with a disability shall be afforded, in accordance with the procedures of §§ 300.562-300.569, an opportunity to--
(1) Inspect and review all education records with respect to---
(i) The identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child; and
(ii) The provision of FAPE to the child * * *

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34 CFR 300.562 Access rights.

(a) Each participating agency shall permit parents to inspect and review any education records relating to their children that are collected, maintained, or used by the agency under this part. The agency shall comply with a request without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP, or any hearing pursuant to §§ 300.507 and 300.521-300.528, and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made.

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ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS:

45 CFR Part 121a, Appendix A–Analysis of Final Regulation, §121a.562, August 23, 1977, (42 FR 42505) [Predecessor to current 34 CFR 300.562.]

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Language has been added to make it clear that an agency must comply with a request for access before any meeting regarding an individualized education program. This will help insure that interested parents are able to familiarize themselves with their child's records prior to any meeting and be able to participate more knowledgeably.

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FINDINGS OF FACT:

By letter dated April 17, 2000, the complainants requested that the district provide them with copies of their child's education records prior to the IEP team meeting scheduled for April 27, 2000. The April 27 meeting was rescheduled, per the complainants' request, to May 30, 2000. According to the complainants, the child's grandmother picked up some of the child's education records at school on April 26, 2000. The district informed the department that the district superintendent and the director of student services personally visited the complainants' home on April 28, 2000, and hand-delivered all requested records to the child's mother.

On May 2, 2000, the complainants sent another letter to the district requesting copies of their child's education records, as well as "an official documented response from the district in order that the matter can be appealed . . ." In their complaint, the complainants alleged that the district did not provide a written response to their May 2 letter.

CONCLUSION:

An LEA is required to provide parents of a child with disability, on request, access to their child's education records without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP or a due process hearing and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made. Education records include any information directly related to the student and maintained by an educational agency.

The district provided the complainants with the child's education records on April 26 and 28, 2000, in response to a written request made on April 17, 2000. The district provided the records within 45 days of the request. The district was not obligated by law to provide a written response to the complainants' May 2 letter. There is no violation with regard to issue #9.

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ISSUE #2:

Did the district fail to have the proper participants attend an IEP team meeting on May 30, 2000, by not ensuring the attendance of a local education agency (LEA) representative and a regular education teacher of the child?

ISSUE #3:

Did the district improperly determine at the May 30, 2000, IEP team meeting that the child does not require physical therapy services?

ISSUE #4:

Did the district fail to include a proper statement of needed transition services in the child's IEP developed on May 30, 2000?

ISSUE #5:

Did the district fail to include in the child's current IEP the amount of special education services to be provided to the child?

ISSUE #6:

Did the district fail to include in the child's current IEP a proper explanation of the extent to which the child will not participate in the general curriculum and with nondisabled children in the regular class?

ISSUE #7:

Did the district improperly deny the complainants' request for extended school year services for the child during the summer of 2000?

ISSUE #8:

Did the district fail to include the complainants in the child's placement determination during the May 30, 2000, IEP team meeting and fail to provide the complainants with proper notice of placement?

ISSUE #10:

Did the district complete pages 5 and 6 of the child's current IEP prior to the IEP team meeting without the participation of the IEP team?

ISSUE #11:

Did the district fail to include in the child's current IEP a proper statement of the child's present level of educational performance on page 5 that relates to the annual goal on page 6?

ISSUE #12:

Did the district fail to attach a document by M. LaPierre to the child's current IEP as stated on page 5 of the IEP?

ISSUE #13:

On the cover page of the child's current IEP, did the district fail to indicate that the IEP team would develop a transition statement and incorrectly stated the child's grade level?

APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:

Section 115.76, Wisconsin Statutes
Definitions.

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(7) "Free appropriate public education" means special education and related services that are provided at public expense and under public supervision and direction, meet the standards of the department, include an appropriate preschool, elementary or secondary school education and are provided in conformity with an individualized education program.

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Section 115.77, Wisconsin Statutes
Local educational agency duties.

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

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(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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(lm) APPOINTMENT OF TEAM. The local educational agency shall appoint an individualized education program team for each child referred to it under § 115.777. Each team shall consist of all of the following:

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(b) At least one regular education teacher of the child if the child is, or may be, participating in a regular educational environment.
(d) A representative of the local educational agency who is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, special education, is knowledgeable about the general curriculum and is knowledgeable about and authorized to commit the available resources of the local educational agency.

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(2) DUTIES OF TEAM. The individualized education program team shall do all of the following:
(a) Evaluate the child under § 115.782 to determine the child's eligibility or continued eligibility for special education and related services and the educational needs of the child.
(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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Section 115.787, Wisconsin Statutes
Individualized education programs.

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(2) REQUIRED COMPONENTS. An individualized education program shall include all of the following:
(a) A statement of the child's present level of educational performance, including how the child's disability affects the child's involvement and progress in the general curriculum or, for a preschool child, as appropriate, how the disability affects the child's participation in appropriate activities.
(b) A statement of measurable annual goals for the child, including benchmarks or short-term objectives, related to meeting the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum, and to meeting each of the child's other educational needs that result from the child's disability.
(c) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child to do all of the following:
1. Advance appropriately toward the annual goals.
2. Be involved and progress in the general curriculum in accordance with par. (a) and participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities.
3. Be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children in the activities described in this subsection.
(d) An explanation of the extent to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in regular classes, in the general curriculum and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities.

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(f) The projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications described in par. (c) and the anticipated frequency, location and duration of those services and modifications.
(g) 1. Beginning when the child attains the age of 14, and annually thereafter until the child is no longer eligible for special education and related services, a statement identifying the courses of study needed to prepare the child for a successful transition to his or her goals for life after secondary school, such as participation in advanced placement courses or a vocational education program.

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Section 115.792, Wisconsin Statutes
Procedural Safeguards.

(1) SAFEGUARDS ENSURED. (a) The local educational agency shall establish and maintain procedures to ensure all of the following:
1. That the parents of a child may examine all records relating to the child and may participate in meetings about the identification, evaluation and educational placement of the child, and the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child, and may obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child.

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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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(2) NOTICE. The notice required under sub. (1) (b) shall be in the native language of the child's parents unless the local educational agency determines that it clearly is not feasible to do so and shall include all of the following:
(a) A description of the action proposed or refused by the local educational agency.
(b) An explanation of why the local educational agency proposes or refuses to take the action.
(c) A description of any other options that the local educational agency considered and the reasons why it rejected those options.
(d) A description of each evaluative procedure, test, record or report that the local educational agency used as a basis for the proposed or refused action.
(e) If the notice proposes to evaluate or reevaluate the child, the qualifications of the evaluators and their names, if known.
(f) A description of any other factors that are relevant to the local educational agency's proposal or refusal.
(g) A statement that the parents of a child with a disability have procedural safeguards under this section and, if this notice is not an initial referral for evaluation, or reevaluation, or a notice of an individualized education program meeting, the way in which the parents may obtain a description of the procedural safeguards under sub. (3).
(h) Sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding this subchapter.
(i) The rights specified in s. 115.78 (4).

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PI 11.24, Wisconsin Administrative Code
Related service: physical and occupational therapy.

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(2) IEP TEAM. If a child is suspected to need occupational therapy or physical therapy or both, the IEP team for that child shall include an appropriate therapist.

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ADMINISTRATIVE & JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS:

34 CFR Part 300, Appendix A, Questions 9, 11, 22, 30, 32 and 35

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9. What is a public agency's responsibility if it is not possible to reach consensus on what services should be included in a child's IEP?


If the team cannot reach consensus, the public agency must provide the parents with prior written notice of the agency'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 initiating an impartial due process hearing.

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11. What must the IEP team do to meet the requirements that the IEP include "a statement of * * * transition service needs" beginning at age 14 (Sec. 300.347(b)(1)(i)), "and a statement of needed transition services" no later than age 16 (Sec. 300.347(b)(2)?

Section 300.347(b)(1) requires that, beginning no later than age 14, each student's IEP include specific transition-related content, and, beginning no later than age 16, a statement of needed transition services: Beginning at age 14 and younger if appropriate, and updated annually, each student's IEP must include: "* * * a statement of the transition service needs of the student under the applicable components of the student's IEP that focuses on the student's courses of study (such as participation in advanced-placement courses or a vocational education program)" (Sec. 300.347(b)(1)(i)).

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The statement of transition service needs should relate directly to the student's goals beyond secondary education, and show how planned studies are linked to these goals. For example, a student interested in exploring a career in computer science may have a statement of transition services needs connected to technology course work, while another student's statement of transition services needs could describe why public bus transportation training is important for future independence in the community.

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22. Who can serve as the representative of the public agency at an IEP meeting?

The IEP team must include a representative of the public agency who: (a) Is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities; (b) is knowledgeable about the general curriculum; and (c) is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency (Sec. 300.344(a)(4)). Each public agency may determine which specific staff member will serve as the agency representative in a particular IEP meeting, so long as the individual meets these requirements. It is important, however, that the agency representative have the authority to commit agency resources and be able to ensure that whatever services are set out in the IEP will actually be provided.

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30. Must related services personnel attend IEP meetings?

Although Part B does not expressly require that the IEP team include related services personnel as part of the IEP team (Sec. 300.344(a)), it is appropriate for those persons to be included if a particular related service is to be discussed as part of the IEP meeting.

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If a child with a disability has an identified need for related services, it would be appropriate for the related services personnel to attend the meeting or otherwise be involved in developing the IEP.

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For example, if the child's evaluation indicates the need for a specific related service (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy, special transportation services, school social work services, school health services, or counseling), the agency should ensure that a qualified provider of that service either (1) attends the IEP meeting, or (2) provides a written recommendation concerning the nature, frequency, and amount of service to be provided to the child. This written recommendation could be a part of the evaluation report.

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32. Is it permissible for an agency to have the IEP completed before the IEP meeting begins?

No. Agency staff may come to an IEP meeting prepared with evaluation findings and proposed recommendations regarding IEP content, but the agency must make it clear to the parents at the outset of the meeting that the services proposed by the agency are only recommendations for review and discussion with the parents. Parents have the right to bring questions, concerns, and recommendations to an IEP meeting as part of a full discussion, of the child's needs and the services to be provided to meet those needs before the IEP is finalized.

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35. Must the IEP specify the amount of services or may it simply list the services to be provided?

The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP, so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members (§ 300.347(a)(6)). The amount of time to be committed to each of the various services to be provided must be (1) appropriate to the specific service, and (2) stated in the IEP in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in both the development and implementation of the IEP.

The amount of a special education or related service to be provided to a child may be stated in the IEP as a range...only if the IEP team determines that stating the amount of services as a range is necessary to meet the unique needs of the child. For example, it would be appropriate for the IEP to specify, based upon the IEP team's determination of the student's unique needs, that particular services are needed only under specific circumstances, such as the occurrence of a seizure or of a particular behavior * * * .

FINDINGS OF FACT:

An IEP team meeting was held on May 30, 2000, to develop the child's current IEP. The complainants received notice of the IEP team meeting and the child's mother attended the meeting, along with the child's grandmother and a parent advocate. The written notice stated that the purpose of the meeting was to determine continuing eligibility for special education, review/revise the IEP, develop a transition statement, and determine continuing placement.

The cover sheet of the IEP developed on May 30 indicates that the meeting was held for the purpose of evaluation, and IEP review and revision. The box for transition was not checked on the IEP cover sheet. The current IEP, as provided to the department by both the complainants and the district, includes a transition statement and a notice of placement. According to district staff, the IEP team, including the child's mother, discussed and determined transition and placement.

The complainants sent the department two notice of placement forms that they received from the district. The complainants informed the department that one notice of placement was provided to the child's mother at the end of the May 30 IEP team meeting. That notice form does not contain all of the statutorily required information. The other notice of placement form meets statutory requirements and was received by the complainants in June 2000. The projected date of implementation stated on the notice is May 31, 2000.

The child's grade level is listed as "7" on the IEP cover sheet. The child is in 8th grade during the 2000-2001 school year.

A school psychologist who attended the May 30 IEP team meeting functioned as the LEA representative at the meeting. The district appointed the school psychologist as an LEA representative authorized to commit district resources at IEP team meetings.

In its response to the complaint, the district acknowledged that a regular education teacher did not attend the IEP team meeting. The district has already taken a step to correct this violation by sending a memo to all special education staff regarding the requirement that a regular education staff member, knowledgeable about the child, attend a child's IEP team meeting.

A physical therapist was appointed to the IEP team, evaluated the child, and prepared an evaluation report on May 25, 2000. In her evaluation report, the physical therapist detailed her findings and recommended that the child did not need physical therapy as part of his educational program. The physical therapist did not attend the May 30 IEP team meeting, but her evaluation report was reviewed and discussed by the IEP team participants at the meeting. The IEP team determined that the child does not need physical therapy.

At the IEP team meeting, the complainant requested that the child receive extended school year (ESY) services during the summer of 2000. The IEP team discussed providing ESY services to the child, and district staff determined that the child did not need ESY services. The district did not provide the complainants with written notice of its refusal to provide ESY services to the child during the summer of 2000.

The child turned 14 years old in XXXXX 2000, and his current IEP includes a transition services statement that reads: "[The child] will have part of his Middle School program and his entire High School program incorporating transition skills." The statement does not address courses of study and the child's goals beyond secondary education.

The summary of special education in the child's current IEP states that he will receive services for English, reading, and closed lab daily in the middle school for a year. The amount of special education services (e.g., how many minutes per day) is not stated. The amount, frequency, location, and duration of related services are stated for occupational therapy and specialized physical education, but not for speech and language. With regard to supplementary services, the IEP provides for assistance in science and social studies daily in the middle school for a year. The amount of supplementary services is not stated.

The current IEP includes the following explanation of the extent to which the child will not participate with nondisabled students in regular classes, in the general curriculum, and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities: "[The child] is attending his home school. He will be integrated with his peers." These statements do not explain the extent to which the child will not participate with nondisabled students in regular classes, in the general curriculum, and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities.

Pages 5 and 6 of the child's current IEP contain his present level of educational performance and annual goal for speech and language. The child's present level of education performance is stated as: "[The child] continues to be delayed in articulation and language skills, esp. content and pragmatics." The annual goal for speech and language is that "[The child] will increase his rec. and exp. vocabulary skills by 12 months."

The special education teacher drafted pages 5 and 6 of the IEP prior to the IEP team meeting. According to district staff, those pages of the IEP were reviewed and discussed by the IEP team participants, and the parent was provided the opportunity to participate in the review and discussion. On page 5 of the IEP, a reference is made to "see attached sheet of M. LaPierre." In its response to the complaint, the district stated that the reference referred to another page of the IEP itself, form I-14. The IEP provided to the complainants contains form I-14.

CONCLUSION:

When an LEA appoints an IEP team to evaluate a child, develop and review/revise a child's IEP, and determine placement, the IEP team must include, among others, a representative of the LEA. The LEA representative must be qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, special education, knowledgeable about the general curriculum, and knowledgeable about and authorized to commit the available resources of the local educational agency. An LEA may designate another LEA participant on the IEP team to also serve as the agency representative, so long as the individual meets these requirements. Each team also must include at least one regular education teacher of the child.

A school psychologist attended the May 30, 2000, IEP team meeting as the LEA representative. There is no violation regarding that aspect of issue #2. In its response to the complaint, the district acknowledged that a regular education teacher did not attend the IEP team meeting. To that extent, there is a violation regarding issue #2. Because the district has already taken corrective action regarding this issue, the department will not require district-wide corrective action.

An LEA must provide parents proper notice before it proposes to change a child's placement. According to district staff, the IEP team, including the child's mother discussed and determined the child's placement. A notice of placement was provided to the child's mother at the end of the IEP team meeting, with May 31, 2000, as the projected date of implementation. That notice did not include all the information required by § 115.792, Wis. Stats. The notice sent to the complainants in June contained all required information but it was not sent prior to the change of placement. To that extent, there is a violation with regard to issue #8.

With regard to related services such as OT and PT, the LEA should ensure that a qualified provider either attends the IEP meeting or is otherwise involved in developing the IEP. The physical therapist was appointed to the IEP team, evaluated the child, and prepared a report of that evaluation. The physical therapist did not attend the May 30 IEP team meeting, but her report was reviewed and discussed by the IEP team participants at the meeting. Consistent with the physical therapist's report, the IEP team determined that the child does not need physical therapy. There is no violation with regard to issue #3.

An IEP team should work toward consensus, but the LEA has ultimate responsibility to ensure that the IEP includes the services that the child needs in order to receive FAPE. If the team cannot reach consensus, the LEA must provide the parents with prior written notice of the LEA's proposals or refusals, or both, regarding the child's educational program. At the May 30, 2000, IEP team meeting, the child's mother requested that the child receive ESY services for the summer of 2000. The IEP team discussed providing ESY services to the child, and district staff determined that the child did not need ESY services. The district did not provide the complainants with written notice of its refusal to provide ESY services to the child during the summer of 2000. There is a violation with regard to issue #7.

The LEA must not complete the IEP prior to the IEP team meeting. LEA staff may come to an IEP meeting prepared with evaluation findings and proposed recommendations regarding IEP content, but the LEA must make it clear to the parents at the outset of the meeting that the proposed services are only recommendations for review and discussion with the parents. In this case, the special education teacher had drafted two pages of the IEP prior to the IEP team meeting. According to district staff, those pages were reviewed by the IEP team participants, and the parent was provided the opportunity to review and discuss the pages. On one of those pages, another page of the IEP was referenced as an attached document. The complainants have that document. There is no violation with regard to issue #10 and issue #12.

The IEP must specify special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services to meet the child's needs. The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP, so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members. The child's current IEP does not state the amount of special education, speech and language related services, and supplementary aids and services to be provided. There is a violation with regard to issue #5.

The IEP also must include, among other things: (1) an explanation of the extent to which a child will not participate with nondisabled students in regular classes, in the general curriculum, and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; (2) a statement of the child's present levels of education performance, including how the child's disability affects the child's involvement and progress in the general curriculum; and (3) a statement of measurable annual goals, related to meeting the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum.

The child's current IEP does not include a proper explanation of the extent to which the child will not participate with nondisabled students in regular classes, in the general curriculum, and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities. The annual goal for speech and language is not measurable in relation to the broad statement of the child's present level of education performance in speech and language. There are violations with regard to issues #6 and #11.

Beginning at age 14, an IEP must include a transition statement that focuses on the student's courses of study. The statement of transition service needs should relate directly to the student's goals beyond secondary education, and show how planned studies are linked to these goals. The transition statement in the child's current IEP does not identify the child's goals beyond secondary education and the courses of study needed to prepare the child for a transition to those goals. There is a violation with regard to issue #4.

On the IEP cover sheet, the box for transition is not checked. However, the prior written notice sent to the complainants of the IEP team meeting stated that one of the purposes of the meeting was to develop a transition statement. According to district staff, the IEP team, including the child's mother, discussed and determined transition. The IEP documents that transition was addressed. These errors are clerical in nature, and did not deprive the complainants of notice of the purposes of the IEP team meeting or from participating in the transition determination. The IEP cover sheet lists the child's grade level as "7," the grade the child was in when the IEP team met. Consequently, there is no violation with regard to issue #13.

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DIRECTIVE:

The Marinette School District shall, within 30 days of receipt of this report, submit to the department a corrective action plan (CAP) to ensure that:

  1. the district convenes an IEP team meeting with the proper IEP team participants, including a regular education teacher, to revise the child's current IEP to include: (1) the amount of special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child; (2) a proper transition statement that identifies the child's goals beyond secondary education and the courses of study needed to prepare the child for a transition to those goals; (3) a proper explanation of the extent to which the child will not participate with nondisabled students in regular classes, in the general curriculum, and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and (4) a proper statement of present level of education performance for speech and language (issues #2, #4, #5, #6 and #11).
  2. the IEPs for all children with disabilities include: (1) the amount of special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members; (2) a proper transition statement that identifies the child's goals beyond secondary education and the courses of study needed to prepare the child for a transition to those goals; (3) a proper explanation of the extent to which the child will not participate with nondisabled students in regular classes, in the general curriculum, and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and (4) proper statements of the child's present level of education performance that relate to measureable annual goals (issues #2, #4, #5, #6 and #11).
  3. the district provides complainants and all parents of children with disabilities with prior written notice of the district's proposals or refusals, or both, regarding each child's educational program (issue #7).
  4. the district provides notice of placement to the complainants and to all parents of children with disabilities that meets the requirements of § 115.792, Wis. Stats. (issue #8).

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 the department has approved it.

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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 MJT
1/16/01
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Mike J. Thompson, Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

smp

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