IDEA Complaint decision 05-035

On July 13, 2005, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the West Bend School District. This is the department's decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district properly responded to a teacher's referral in April 2005 for a special education evaluation of a student.

The parent alleges that in April 2005, the student's teacher requested that the student receive a special education evaluation and that it was never completed. Written information supplied by the district indicates that participation in a building consultation team is required before a referral can be made. The student's general education teacher completed a written request to meet with the school's consultation team. On April 4, 2005, a consultation team meeting was held to address the teacher's concerns regarding the student. Based upon the outcome of this meeting, the teacher did not request a special education evaluation.

The Building Consultation Team (BCT) model serves as a clearinghouse for teachers when students encounter barriers to learning. Successful BCTs are a collaborative effort between pupil services, regular education, special education, administration, and parents. The goal of the successful BCT is to ensure that all students learn, even when standard classroom interventions are not effective. This process is designed and recommended to increase the number of appropriate referrals but cannot be used as a requirement before a referral is processed.

On July 8, 2005, a referral form for Special Education and related services was completed on behalf of the mother in the following areas: emotional behavioral disability, specific learning disability, and other health impairments. If the IEP team determines the student is a child with a disability, it must determine whether additional services are required as a consequence of the delay in initiating the referral. Through interviews with district staff and review of the district's policies and procedures for accepting and processing referrals, the department has determined that the district did not properly respond to a teacher's referral in April 2005 for a special education evaluation of a student. Within thirty days of the date of this decision, the district must submit proposed corrective action to continue review of current written and operational procedures for accepting and processing special education referrals. The proposed corrective action must include information and training opportunities to all of its licensed staff to familiarize them with the agency's referral procedures and the purpose of building consultation teams to support teachers and students but that it may not be required as a prerequisite to the special education referral process.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 9/12/05 by SJP
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/tg

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