On July 13, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Belleville School District. The issues are whether the district, during the 2000-2001 school year, failed to complete the childs most recent reevaluation and review the childs individualized education program (IEP) and placement in a timely manner and whether it failed to implement the provisions of the childs IEP related to participation in chorus. This is the departments decision for that complaint.
The student whose education is the subject of this complaint was evaluated on May 21, 1997, and found to be a child with a disability. On May 11, 2000, the district began the process of reevaluating the child by sending the parents a notice of reevaluation. On May 24, 2000, the district asked for an extension of time until August 21, 2000, in order to investigate alternate testing materials. That request was granted by the complainant on May 26, 2000. An IEP team meeting was held on August 21, 2000, and was attended by the childs parents. The IEP team determined that the child continued to be a child with a disability and required special education services. Another IEP team meeting was held on September 12, 2000, during which an IEP was developed and the parents were provided with a notice of placement.
Under state and federal law, a district must reevaluate a child with a disability at least once every three years. In order to meet this requirement, the district needed to complete the reevaluation process, including providing parents with a notice of the evaluation findings, by May 21, 2001. Although the district had an extension of time agreed to by the parents, the three-year timeline for reevaluations cannot be extended. (A separate provision in state law requires that the district provide notice of placement within 90 days of initiating a reevaluation. A parent may grant an extension of this 90-day period.) The district acknowledged that it did not complete a reevaluation of the complainants child within the three-year timeline. Because the district now has completed the reevaluation of the child, the district is not directed to take further corrective action specific to the child. With regard to conducting three-year reevaluations of other children with disabilities in a timely manner, the Belleville School District addressed this issue at a staff training on August 20, 2000.
The complainants also maintain that their child was not allowed to participate in a chorus concert festival held in a nearby school district on April 25, 2001. The parents received no information concerning the concert and their child was kept at school on the day of the trip. The students IEP states that he will participate in regular education chorus, "daily and for class activities outside of class time, i.e.: concerts, shopping, field trips, etc.". This music festival is a requirement for those students taking Junior class chorus. The district acknowledges its failure to include the student in the concert festival and has included information in its August 20, 2001, teacher training to insure that teachers follow the IEPs of all students with disabilities. The district will send to the department documentation of the teacher training participants, agenda, and handouts addressing the two concerns in this complaint.
This concludes our investigation of this complaint.
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy