IDEA Complaint Decision 06-009

On February 13, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2005-2006 school year, properly developed an individualized education program (IEP) and placement for a student with a disability and ensured that the student received required special education services.

On February 5, 2005, the student’s parents completed an open-enrollment application for their child to attend school in a nonresident school district. On April 7 the nonresident school district completed a notification denying the student’s application to attend because space was not available. On May 19 and 31, 2005, an IEP team met to develop the student’s annual IEP, transition statement and determine continuing placement. The student’s parents and a parent advocate attended the meetings. The student’s placement for the 2005-2006 school year continued at the student’s 2004-2005 school.

The student did not attend school on September 1, 2005, the first day of student attendance for the 2005-2006 school year, and remained out of school through March 2006. On September 20, the school social worker contacted the student’s mother regarding the student’s attendance. Between September 1 and December 20, the student’s attendance was excused due to serious medical conditions. At an October 24, 2005, IEP team meeting, the child’s mother, who was accompanied by an advocate, requested that the child be placed at a school in a near-by district the parent applied for under open enrollment. The IEP team determined that the student would be reevaluated. On December 20, 2005, and February 7 and 16, 2006, IEP teams completed the evaluation including determination of continued eligibility, reviewed and revised the student’s IEP, determined a transition statement, and determined placement. The student’s parents attended the IEP team meetings. On December 20, 2005, and February 7, 2006, a parent advocate attended with the parents. One option considered to meet the student’s needs was Home and Hospital Services. Between December 21, 2005, and March 23, 2006, the student’s attendance was unexcused for 54 days. On January 6, the student was a habitual truant, absent from school without an acceptable excuse on part or all of 5 or more days on which school is held during a school semester. A district is required to notify the child’s parent by registered or certified mail when the student initially becomes a habitual truant. On February 22, the student’s parents were notified by certified mail that their child was habitually truant. On February 16, the student’s placement was changed to a different district high school with a February 22 projected date of implementation. The student’s mother received placement notices at the IEP team meetings.

An IEP team met on March 24 to review and revise the student’s IEP, develop a transition statement, and determine continuing placement. The student’s parents and an attorney for the parent attended the meeting. The student’s placement was changed to Home and Hospital Services to be provided in the student’s home beginning the week of March 27, 2006.

The district properly developed an IEP and determined the student’s placement for the 2005-2006 school year. The school staff followed the district’s No Show Procedures when the student did not attend school in September 2005, conducted IEP team meetings, and notified the student’s parents by certified mail that their child was habitually truant to ensure the student received required special education services.

This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.

//signed CST 4/10/06
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