IDEA Complaint Decision 05-022

On April 8, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Waukesha. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district properly included a student's regular education teacher during an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting conducted in February 2005 and provided the parent with proper notice of the results of the meeting.

The parent alleges the district did not include her child's regular education teacher during the February 16, 2005, IEP team meeting. On the IEP cover sheet, the guidance counselor is identified as the "Regular Education Representative." The district maintains the guidance counselor was selected to represent the regular education teacher because he has frequent contacts with the student and his regular education teachers.

Each IEP team must include at least one regular education teacher of the child if the child is, or may be, participating in a regular educational environment. State and federal statutes specify that this is to be the regular education teacher of the child. In developing federal regulations, the United States Department of Education rejected the suggestion that other individuals could participate in lieu of the child's regular education teacher. The regulations also indicate that the regular education teacher participating in a child's IEP meeting should be the teacher who is, or may be, responsible for implementing the IEP, so that the teacher can participate in discussions about how best to teach the child. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan to ensure that all district staff understand an IEP team must include at least one regular education teacher of the student.

The parent also contends the district did not provide her with a proper notice of the results from the February 16 IEP team meeting. The parent maintains she did not receive the evaluation report and notice that her child was not a child with a disability until April 6, approximately five weeks after the 90-day time limit. The district states they received a special education referral from the parent on December 5, 2004. At the February 16 IEP meeting, the parent received the Parent and Child Rights in Special Education brochure and two draft evaluation reports. On February 24, the school psychologist sent the parent a draft of the evaluation reports and a draft notice that the child was not eligible for special education. The final evaluation reports and notice were mailed to the parent on April 6, 2005.

A district must provide written notice to the parents of their child's eligibility for special education and educational placement within 90 days after the district receives a special education referral for the child. The district gave the parent a draft of the evaluation reports and a draft notice within the 90-day time limit, but they did not provide the final paperwork until after the 90-day time limit had expired. Because the parent has received proper notice that the child is not a child with a disability, no child-specific corrective action is required. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan to ensure that the district completes the initial and reevaluation process within the 90-day timeline.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 6/7/05
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/arh

For questions about this information, contact Patricia Williams (608) 267-3720