IDEA Complaint Decision 02-030

On May 10, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This is the department's decision for that complaint. The issues are whether the district failed to:

  • respond properly to a parent's request in January 2002 for an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting to evaluate her child; and

  • include in the child's IEP a statement of measurable annual goals related to meeting the child's needs resulting from his disability and special education services to be provided to the child to advance appropriately toward attaining the goals.

On January 29, 2002, in a letter to the principal of her child's school, the complainant requested an IEP team meeting to reevaluate her child. In her letter she states that her son has a number of impairments in addition to a learning disability. The parent writes, "I want (student) to be carefully checked in these areas." Between January 29 and February 15, 2002, the child's mother spoke to the child's principal, regular education teacher, and the special education supervisor on the telephone about the IEP team meeting she'd requested to reevaluate her son. On February 15, 2002, an IEP meeting was held to review and revise the child's IEP and determine continuing placement. The child's mother attended the meeting. No changes were made to the child's IEP or placement. The February 15, 2002, notice of placement includes a statement that the parent's request for a change in schools was denied because the child is making good progress and his IEP goals are being implemented.

On February 18, 2002, the child's mother called the principal and asked whether the reevaluation requested in her January 29 letter would be conducted. The parent did not receive a response from the district. On April 25, 2002, the child's mother contacted department consultants. On April 26 and 29, and May 1 and 3, 2002, a department consultant contacted district staff by phone regarding the parent's phone calls and a letter received April 29, 2002. On May 24, 2002, an annual IEP meeting was held to review and revise the child's IEP and determine continuing placement. The child's mother attended the meeting. It was agreed at the May 24 IEP team meeting that the child would be reevaluated in the areas of occupational therapy and speech and language impairment. On June 5, 2002, an IEP team meeting was held to complete a reevaluation, develop an annual IEP and determine placement.

When a district receives a referral for a child, it must appoint an IEP team to evaluate the child. The IEP team must complete its evaluation, develop an IEP for the child, and notify the parent of the child's placement within 90 days of receipt of the referral, unless the parent agrees to an extension or the department grants one. The district acknowledges that it did not respond timely to the mother's January 29 letter requesting a reevaluation of her son. By September 15, 2002, the district will conduct training for building local education agency (LEA) representatives, building coordinators, special education supervisors, and special education leadership liaisons to ensure that in response to a parent request, the district evaluates a child with a disability in a timely manner. By October 1, 2002, the district must submit to the department either a written assurance that all noted staff attended the training or a list of staff who did not attend and a description of how the district informed these staff of the requirement. By September 15, 2002, the district must distribute to special education teachers, related service personnel, building principals, building LEA representatives, building coordinators, special education supervisors, and special education leadership liaisons an issue of the Disability Digest which includes an explanation of this requirement regarding responding to parental requests for an evaluation of their child. Language to be included in the Digest must be submitted to the department for approval no later than August 15, 2002. A copy of the Digest provided to staff must be submitted to the department no later than October 1, 2002. Because an IEP team meeting was held on June 5, 2002, including for the purpose of completing the reevaluation requested in the parent's January 29, 2002, letter, additional child specific corrective action is not required.

On May 29, 2001, an IEP team meeting was held to conduct an evaluation and determine eligibility; develop an initial IEP and determine placement for this child. The department has reviewed the May 29, 2001, IEP to determine whether the district during the 2001-2002 school year failed to include in the child's IEP a statement of measurable annual goals related to meeting the child's needs resulting from his disability and special education services to be provided to the child to advance appropriately toward attaining the goals. The May 29, 2001, IEP includes four annual goals in the areas of math, penmanship, on-task behavior, and social skills. The annual goals with the short-term objectives in this IEP meet the requirements of the law. They are measurable and are related to meeting the child's needs resulting from his disability as described in the present level of educational performance and individual staff evaluation reports. Further, the special education services and amount are stated in a manner consistent with legal requirements. On February 15, 2002, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the child's May 29, 2001, IEP and determine continuing placement. The child's mother attended the meeting. No changes were made to the child's May 29, 2001, IEP or placement. The department concludes that the district during the 2001-2002 school year included in the child's IEP a statement of measurable annual goals related to meeting the child's needs resulting from his disability and special education services to be provided to the child to advance appropriately toward attaining the goals.

This concludes our investigation of this complaint.

//signed 7/10/02
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