IDEA Complaint Decision 03-053

On December 5, 2003, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Elmwood School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, in September and October 2003, implemented a student's individualized education program (IEP) requiring three hours of special education instruction each day in the special education room.

The IEP in effect for the student at the beginning of the school year required three hours per day of special education services in the special education classroom. The supplementary aids and services in the IEP provide that assignments are to be given to the student and he is to go to the special education classroom to complete them. The present level of performance in the IEP indicates that the student needs a small group or one-on-one setting to receive the extra help needed to complete his work successfully.

The district acknowledges that the IEP in place during the months of September and October 2003 was not implemented as written. The district maintains that special education services were made available during that time but the student declined those services.

The IEP team met on November 19, 2003, and revised the IEP. This IEP provides that the special education services are "support with taking tests/quizzes" as well as "support/instruction with regular education assignments that require a lot of reading and/or comprehension."

A local educational agency (LEA) meets its obligation to provide a free appropriate public education 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 to the child to advance appropriately toward annual goals and be educated 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 commitment of resources will be clear to parents and other IEP team members. The amount of support for the student "support with taking tests/quizzes" as well as "support/instruction with regular education assignments that require a lot of reading and/or comprehension" is not clear.

The district must hold an IEP team meeting to address the lack of specificity in the student's November 2003 IEP. The IEP team must also determine if the student needs additional services due to the periods when the student's IEP was not implemented in September and October 2003. The district must submit the student's revised IEP to the department by March 3, 2004. The district also must ensure that district staff are aware of the requirements for appropriate IEP statements of the amount of special education and supplementary aids and services to be provided. The district will advise the department of its proposed corrective actions within 30 days of receiving this decision.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 2/3/04
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/tg
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