IDEA Complaint Decision 01-062

On August 30, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools. The issue in this complaint is whether the district improperly changed the educational placements determined for two children with disabilities on June 14, 2001, without conducting individualized education program (IEP) team meetings. This is the departments decision regarding that complaint.

On June 14, 2001, IEP teams determined the placement of two siblings who attended a private school during the 2000-2001 school year. The IEP teams informed the district office of management information system (MIS) of the placements, but that office did not record the placements. On August 27, 2001, the first day of school, a bus did not arrive to transport the children to school. The childrens grandmother, who is their guardian, telephoned the district student services office and was informed that the children were not enrolled in the elementary school and were still listed as attending the private school. The guardian contacted staff at the childrens neighborhood elementary school who participated in the June 14 IEP team meetings. On September 6, 2001, IEP teams determined placements for the children at another elementary school which the children began attending on the 6th.

The district changed the educational placements for the children by conducting IEP team meetings on June 14, and September 6, 2001. However, the students did not attend school on seven days between August 27 and September 6, 2001, because school assignments were not made for the children based on the information provided by the IEP teams. On September 26, 2001, at IEP team meetings the childrens IEPs were reviewed and revised and placement determined to continue at the current school. The IEP teams did not consider whether the children require additional services due to the seven-day program lapse. The district is directed to contact the childrens guardian promptly to determine whether she wants the district to conduct IEP team meetings to consider if the children need additional service due to the program lapse. The district is directed to report the status of this matter to the department within 10 days of the date of this letter and, if meetings are conducted, submit documentation of the decision to the department.

On January 12, 2001, the district submitted a revised corrective action plan (CAP) to the department regarding several complaints to ensure that the district follows required procedures related to determining educational placements for children with disabilities. Based upon this complaint investigation, complaint 01-054, and the departments May 2001 onsite compliance monitoring of the district, the department concludes that the corrective actions undertaken by the district to date have not been sufficient to ensure that educational placements for children with disabilities are determined properly. Therefore, the department directs the district to review its current CAP related to placement of children with disabilities and amend the CAP to include additional corrective actions that will address this issue effectively. Department staff will work closely with the district to assist in its review, revision, and implementation of the amended placement CAP.

//signed CST 10/23/01
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/jfd

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