On June 3, 2004, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Johnson Creek School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, after March 24, 2004, implemented a student's individualized education program (IEP) regarding the provision of support for reading and reading text books from MATC.
The student's IEP team met on March 24, 2004, and developed an IEP which requires "special education support for reading help." The amount and frequency is "as needed." The IEP further states that the student would each day, for thirty minutes, read "text books from MATC for next year." The duration was from March 29, 2004, through June 9, 2004. After the meeting, the teacher contacted the MATC bookstore and was informed that the textbooks for next year were not yet available, and that the books from the previous semester had already been removed from the shelves. Consequently, the special education teacher substituted computer-based materials in the same interest area. The parent telephoned school staff in April and May regarding the use of MATC text books. District staff continued to contact the MATC bookstore, and was ultimately informed in the beginning of June that the books would not be available until July. On June 7, 2004, the IEP team met to address the parent's concerns and review the IEP. The revised IEP does not include reading support, and it does not reference MATC materials. The revised IEP reflects that the student will be attending a youth options program in the fall.
A local educational agency must provide special education and related services to a child with a disability in accordance with the child's IEP. The student's IEP developed on March 24, 2004, specifically referenced MATC text books. Although the district attempted to obtain these materials and attempted to meet the intent of the IEP by substituting other materials, the books specified in the IEP were not available. When the district became aware of this problem in early April 2004, an IEP should have been reconvened to revise the IEP accordingly.
The March IEP also provided for reading support "as needed." Services 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 participants. The use of the term "as needed" did not inform the parents and other IEP team participants of this commitment. Within 30 days of receiving this decision, the district must submit a corrective action plan to the department to ensure that staff are aware that they must hold an IEP meeting promptly if they are unable to implement an IEP provision and of the requirement that the amount of services to be provided is clearly stated. Because these provisions are no longer specified in the student's current IEP, no child specific correction action is required.
This concludes our review of this complaint.
//signed CST 7/22/04
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy