IDEA Complaint Decision 02-045

On June 26, 2002, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). The issue in this complaint is whether the district failed to respond in a timely manner to a parent's June 5, 2002, request for an independent educational evaluation (IEE) for her child. This is the department's decision for that complaint.

On May 6, 2002, an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting was held to determine a child's eligibility for special education, develop an initial IEP, and determine placement. The child's parent did not attend or participate in the IEP team meeting by other means. The IEP team determined that the child is not a child with a disability. On June 5, the child's mother gave the district a written request for an IEE. On July 25, the district responded to the parent's request for an IEE with a letter including a copy of the district's IEE criteria. The letter was not sent to the parent in a timely manner and does not include information about where to obtain an IEE.

The district is directed to immediately provide the child's parents information about where to obtain an IEE. A copy of the information sent to the child's parents also must be sent to the department by August 16, 2002. The district also is directed to respond, without further delay, to the parent's request for an IEE either by initiating a hearing to show its evaluation is appropriate or by ensuring that an IEE is provided at public expense. The district is directed to notify the department of the action it takes in complying with this directive by August 30, 2002.

The district is in the process of revising the district's IEE policy to ensure that upon request for an IEE the district informs parents about where to obtain an IEE, of the district's IEE criteria, and that the district responds without unnecessary delay to a parent's request for an IEE either by initiating a hearing to show its evaluation is appropriate or by ensuring that an IEE is provided at public expense. By August 16, 2002, the district must submit its revised policy to the department for approval. By September 1, 2002, the district must distribute the revised and approved IEE policy to all special education staff, principals, assistant principals, leadership specialists, and any other appropriate staff. By October 1, 2002, the district must submit to the department a written distribution list by staff title and written assurance that the list includes all special education staff, principals, assistant principals, and leadership specialists. These corrective actions will be the corrective action plan for MPS complaints #02-019, #02-027, and #02-045.

This concludes our investigation of this complaint.

//signed 8/6/02
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