IDEA Complaint Decision 03-017

On March 21, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Horicon School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2002-2003 school year:

  • Properly determined whether the nature or severity of the child's disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily; and
  • Properly informed the parent of the child's progress toward annual individualized education program (IEP) goals.

On May 3, 2002, an IEP team meeting was held for the purpose of determining continued eligibility for special education, developing an annual IEP, and determining continuing placement for the student who is the subject of this complaint. On December 6, 2002, an IEP team meeting was held for the purpose of developing an annual IEP and determining continuing placement for the student. Both IEPs state that the student will be in a self-contained special education classroom environment and document reasons for concluding that, even with supplemental aids and services, the nature and severity of the student's disability is such that education with non-disabled peers cannot be satisfactorily achieved.

A local educational agency (LEA) meets its obligation to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to a child, in part, by providing special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services in conformity with a proper IEP. The IEP must specify special education and supplementary aids and services that will be provided for the child to advance appropriately toward annual goals and be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children in regular classes, the general curriculum, and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities. The amount of services to be provided must be stated in the IEP so that the level of the agency's commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members. The IEP teams which met in May and December 2002 did not clearly specify the amount of, or the circumstances under which the child will be educated with same-age peers in regular education.

On April 22, 2003, an IEP team meeting was held for the purpose of determining continuing placement and to review and revise the child's IEP. The revised IEP provides that the student will be educated in a self-contained special education classroom environment and specifies the amount of time she will be integrated with nondisabled peers. The district addressed the lack of specificity in the earlier IEPs. No additional child-specific corrective action is required. The district must ensure that staff are aware of the requirements for appropriate IEP statements to specify special education and supplementary aids and services that will be provided for the child to be educated and participate with nondisabled children in regular classes and in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities. The district will advise the department of its proposed corrective actions within 30 days of receiving of this decision.

The student's IEPs state that progress will be reported to parents through quarterly written progress reports or parent conferences. The district maintains that the child's progress is recorded on the IEP form itself and that these records with teacher summaries were provided to the child's parents with the child's report card. The IEPs sent to the department document progress during the 2002-2003 school year between early November 2002 and late April 2003. However these notes do not indicate the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable the student to achieve the goals by the end of the effective period of the IEP.

The district is required to report to parents the student's progress toward annual goals and the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable the student to achieve the goals by the end of the effective period of the IEP, at least as often as parents are informed of their nondisabled children's progress. The department determines that the district did not fulfill this requirement. The district must provide the parents of this child a report of the child's progress toward annual goals and the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable the child to achieve the goals by the end of the effective period of the IEP. The district must also send a copy of this end-of-quarter progress report to the department by June 30, 2003. The district will, within 30 days of receipt of this decision, submit to the department a plan to ensure that parents of all children with disabilities receive reports of their child's progress toward annual goals, and the extent to which that progress is sufficient to enable children to achieve goals, consistent with the requirements of their IEPs.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 5/20/03
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