IDEA Complaint Decision 01-084

On October 22, 2001, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. The issue in this investigation is whether the district failed to properly develop an individualized education program (IEP) and determine placement for a student following his transfer from another state in April 2001. This is the department's decision for that complaint.

This complaint concerns the education of a child with a disability who transferred to the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District from Illinois in April 2001 and began attending Sauk Trail Elementary School, his neighborhood school. District personnel accepted the student's evaluation and eligibility determination from his previous school of attendance and later held an IEP team meeting on April 17, 2001, to review and revise the IEP and determine placement. The complainant maintains that decisions concerning the student's special education programming were based on availability of services at Sauk Trail Elementary School and not on the needs of the child.

When a Wisconsin local educational agency receives a transfer pupil from another state, the receiving agency is not required immediately to implement the sending agency's IEP. The agency must, however, review the sending agency's evaluation and eligibility determination to determine whether the child has a disability under Wisconsin standards and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. If the evaluation and eligibility determination meets these standards, the receiving agency may adopt them. In April 2001, the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District adopted the evaluation and eligibility determination of the student's previous district.

Once a receiving agency adopts an out-of-state evaluation and eligibility determination, the district must determine whether or not to also adopt the student's IEP. If the receiving agency does not adopt the sending agency's IEP, the district must conduct a meeting to develop its own IEP without undue delay, but in no case later that 30 calendar days after adopting the sending agency's evaluation and eligibility determination. In this case, an IEP team meeting was held on April 17, 2001, where an IEP was developed and a placement determination was made. The district and parent reached consensus on the child's program and placement. The district properly adopted the student's evaluation and eligibility determination from an out-of-state district and properly developed an IEP for the student. The student's parent signed consent for placement on April 27, 2001. This concludes our investigation of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed CST 2/1/02
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/kh

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