IDEA Complaint Decision 03-015

On March 14, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Grafton School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2002-2003 school year:

  • Provided the parents with required written notice a reasonable time before the district proposed to change their child's special education or related services;
  • Provided the parents with required procedural safeguards notices;
  • Responded properly to the parents' request for an independent educational evaluation (IEE) of their child; and
  • Properly responded to the parents' request for copies of their child's education records.

On February 7, 2003, an IEP team meeting was held for the complainant's child. The purpose of this meeting was to determine continuing eligibility for special education, review/revise the IEP, and determine continuing placement. During this meeting the IEP team determined that the child no longer met the criteria for having a speech and language disability and did not meet the criteria for having a learning disability. On February 21, 2003, the district sent the parents a Notice of Discontinuation of Special Education Services which indicated that services were discontinued on February 7, 2003. A district is required to provide parents with a written notice before they propose to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of a child. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit to the department a corrective action plan to ensure staff understand this requirement.

On December 12, 2002, the district sent an invitation to the February 7, 2003, IEP team meeting that included a statement of parent rights. On March 14, 2003, the district sent the parents a letter that included nine dates when the parents were sent a copy of the Special Education Rights for Parents and Children. The district followed required procedures related to notice of procedural safeguards.

The complainants maintain that during their child's February 7, 2003, IEP team meeting they inquired about their options for obtaining an IEE. On March 14, 2003, the district responded with a letter to the complainants that included procedures for obtaining an IEE. The district should have provided this information at the IEP team meeting or promptly after the meeting. Since the district has provided the parents with their policy on obtaining an IEE, no corrective action is necessary for this case. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit to the department a corrective action plan to ensure staff understand the requirement 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.

The parents indicated in their February 27, 2003, letter to the district that they had requested copies of all supporting documentation after the February 7, 2003, IEP team meeting and had not received a response. On March 14, 2003, the district sent the complainants copies of the entire special education behavioral record for their child. A school district is required to provide copies of their child's records no later than 45 days after a parent's request. The district provided copies of the required records within the required time period.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 5/12/03
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