IDEA Complaint Decision 01-034

On April 18, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Waunakee Community School District. This is the departments decision regarding that complaint.

 

The issues in the complaint are whether the district failed:

  • To conduct an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting at least annually to review and, as appropriate, revise the student's IEP;
  • To ensure that, to the extent appropriate, at least one regular education teacher of the student attended IEP team meetings conducted after April 19, 2000;
  • At least one year before the student attained the age of 18, to inform the student of the transfer of parental rights at age 18;
  • To specify in IEPs developed after April 19, 2000, the amount of special education and related services to be provided to the student so that the level of commitment of resources is clear to the parent and IEP team participants;
  • To provide special education services required by the student's IEPs developed after April 19, 2000;
  • To implement the provision of the student's IEPs developed after April 19, 2000, requiring consultation for regular education classroom teachers with a learning disabilities teacher; and
  • To regularly inform the parent of the student's progress toward his annual goals and the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable him to reach the goals during the period of IEPs developed after April 19, 2000.

 

On April 22, 1999, an IEP team developed an IEP for the student, effective from August 25, 1999, to June 6, 2000. On May 26, 2000, the IEP team met to review/revise the students IEP. The district did not hold an IEP team meeting at least annually to review the students IEP. Since May 26, 2000, the district has held two IEP team meetings to review the students IEP at least annually. Therefore, child-specific corrective action will not be required.

 

Prior to January 2001, the district held IEP team meetings in April and May to review and revise the IEPs for all children with disabilities in the district. It was standard district practice for all IEPs to be effective from the beginning through the end of the next school year. Under this system, childrens IEPs were not necessarily reviewed with 12 months. As of January 2001, the district began conducting IEP team meetings throughout the school year to review and revise childrens IEPs throughout the school year, with the effective dates of IEPs being approximately 10 days after the IEP team meetings. Under the new system, IEP team meetings are held at least annually to review and, as appropriate, revise the IEPs for children with disabilities. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district will send the department documentation of its new practice which ensures that IEPs are reviewed at least annually.

 

Because the parent requested that the students regular education teacher(s) for the 2000-2001 school year be involved in revising the IEP, the district planned on holding an IEP team meeting in August to complete the students IEP for the 2000-2001 school year. On August 22, 2000, the IEP team met to complete the review and revision of the students IEP, to determine placement, and to develop a transition statement. A regular education teacher of the student attended the August 22, 2000, IEP team meeting and participated in the review and revision of the students IEP for the 2000-2001 school year.

 

Another IEP team meeting was held on January 24, 2001, to review/revise the students IEP. A regular education teacher attended that IEP team meeting. In addition, after the complaint was filed, an IEP team meeting was held on May 15, 2001, to reevaluate the student to determine continuing eligibility, and a regular education teacher attended that meeting. The parent and an autism expert also met with district staff on May 23, 2001, to discuss the experts observations of the student. This meeting was not an IEP team meeting, was not noticed as an IEP team meeting, and a regular education teacher did not attend. A regular education teacher of the student has participated in IEP team meetings since April 19, 2000, and has, consistent with legal requirements, participated in the review and revision of the students IEPs.

 

The district acknowledged in its response to the department that it failed, at least one year prior to the student turning age 18, to inform the student of the transfer of parental rights that would occur when the student turned age 18. The district discovered the error and took corrective action prior to the parent filing this complaint. On January 24, 2001, at an IEP team meeting, the district advised the student and the parent of the transfer of rights to the student at age 18.

 

In addition, by letter dated March 9, 2001, the district provided the student and the parent with written notice of the transfer of parental rights to the student upon turning age 18. The district also revised its procedures to ensure that students and parents are timely advised of the transfer of parental rights, and this revised procedure will be reflected in the districts special education handbook by summer 2001. The district has agreed to send the department a copy of the revised procedure when completed. Therefore, the department will not require further corrective action with regard to this issue.

 

The IEPs developed on August 22, 2000, and January 24, 2001, both include "Resource from mainstream classes as needed" as a special education service to be provided to the student. Both IEPs also include several supplementary aids and services to be provided to the student "as needed." The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP so that the level of the districts commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members. It would be appropriate for the IEP to specify, based upon the IEP teams determination of the students unique needs, that particular services are needed only under specific circumstances, such as the occurrence of a particular behavior or the presence of a particular stimuli. The "as needed" provisions in the students IEPs do not specify the amount of resources and do not identify the circumstances under which a particular service will be provided on an as needed basis. The district must hold an IEP team meeting to review and revise the applicable provisions of the students current IEP so that the amount of special education and supplementary aids and services clearly identifies the level of the districts commitment of resources, including the specific circumstances under which a particular service will be provided on an "as needed" basis. The district also must ensure that its staff is aware of this requirement for appropriate statements of the amount and frequency of special education services in students IEPs. The district will advise the department of its proposed corrective actions within 30 days of the date of this decision.

 

In its response to the department, the district stated that it provided special education services to the student as required by his IEPs since April 19, 2000; that the learning disabilities (LD) teacher provided consultation to the students regular education teachers; and that it informed the parent of the students progress towards annual goals as required by the IEPs. District staff submitted statements to the department affirming that they provided special education services in accordance with the students IEPs. The social skills consultant who provides services to the student informed the department that, to the best of her knowledge, the student has received services as required by his IEPs. The students regular education teachers also submitted statements affirming that the LD teacher provided at least weekly consultation to them as required by the students IEPs since April 19, 2000. In addition, the students special education teacher submitted a statement affirming that he informed the parent of the students progress towards annual goals as required by the students IEPs. Based upon this information, the department concludes that the district has provided special education services to the student as required by his IEPs since April 19, 2000; implemented the IEP provision requiring consultation between the LD and regular education teachers; and informed the parent of the students progress towards annual goals as required by the IEPs.

 

//signed 6/18/01
Mike J. Thompson, Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

 

Dec/smp

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