IDEA Complaint Decision 06-047

On October 16, 2006, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the School District of Random Lake. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues, which relate to the 2006-2007 school year, are addressed below.

  • Whether the district properly responded to a parent’s request for a reevaluation of her child.

On August 30, 2006, the parent spoke with the special education teacher and the school counselor and requested of each an individualized education program (IEP) team meeting and a reevaluation. On September 5 the first day of school, the parent met with the school psychologist and requested an IEP team meeting and a reevaluation. The school psychologist stated a reevaluation would be conducted. On September 8 the special education director called the parent to clarify her request for a reevaluation and made it clear that the district would do a reevaluation even though the child’s three-year reevaluation was discussed in October 2005 and it was determined not to conduct additional tests. On September 11 the parent requested a reevaluation at the annual IEP team meeting and was told it would occur. On September 19 the parent wrote a letter to the special education director requesting a reevaluation. On September 20 the special education director left the parent a phone message asking her to clarify her request for a reevaluation, and the parent did not return the call. On September 28 the special education director sent a letter to the parent requesting clarification regarding her request for a reevaluation and offered to conduct a reevaluation. On September 29 the district sent a notice and consent regarding need to conduct additional assessments to the parent and the parent did not respond. On October 9 the special education director sent a letter to the parent indicating the notice and consent regarding need to conduct additional assessments was not signed and returned, and the parent did not respond.

A district must ensure that the IEP team reevaluates a child with a disability in response to a parent’s request for a reevaluation. Although a district is not required to conduct an evaluation more often than once a year, here the district agreed to evaluate. The district must obtain informed consent from the child’s parents before reevaluating a child with a disability, except that such consent need not be obtained if the district has taken reasonable measures to obtain such consent and the child’s parents have failed to respond. The parent specifically made requests between August 30 and September 19 that her child be reevaluated. Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan to ensure that special education staff understand that the district must reevaluate upon parent request even when the parent fails to consent after reasonable measures have been taken.

  • Whether the district included the required participants during IEP team meetings.

On September 11 an IEP team meeting was held and the required participants were in attendance. On September 14, an informal follow-up meeting was held to discuss the child’s participation in regular education English class including instructional arrangement, progress, and accommodations. The IEP team participants were not required to attend the September 14 meeting, which was not an IEP team meeting. The district properly included the required IEP team members at the September 11 IEP team meeting.

  • Whether the district properly determined if the student would participate in English in the regular education environment and properly implemented the determination.

The parent contends the district did not implement her child’s 2005-06 IEP at the beginning of the school year with regard to the provision of one-on-one English instruction by a special education teacher in a pullout setting as indicated in the child’s IEP. District staff confirmed the child was placed in a regular education English class at the beginning of the school year and not provided one-on-one instruction by a special education teacher in a pullout setting until after September 11.

The parent also states the district did not properly determine accommodations for her child in the regular education English class at the September 11, 2006, IEP team meeting and the September 14, 2006 informal meeting. On September 11 the IEP team discussed the child’s participation in the English class including instructional arrangements, progress, and accommodations. On September 14 an informal meeting was held to discuss the child’s instructional arrangements, progress, and accommodations in the English class. The parent felt it was inappropriate for the staff at the September 14 meeting to rely on the child’s opinion to name the accommodations he wanted for English class. The IEP includes a separate page of accommodations which the child will receive in the regular education classes. This list does not include frequency and amount per accommodation and states each will be provided "as needed." In addition, under supplementary aids and services, a tape recorder is indicated "as needed."

The district is required to provide the services established in the student’s IEP. The services to be provided must be described including accommodations and supplementary aids and services in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in the development and implementation of the IEP. The IEP written on September 11 does not meet these requirements because it states “as needed” per accommodation and supplementary aids and services. The IEP does not describe the circumstances under which the accommodations and supplementary aids and services are required. The frequency and amount of services must be stated in the IEP so the level of the district’s commitment of resources is clear. If it is not appropriate to state the amount of service as an amount of time, the IEP may describe the circumstances under which the service is needed.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must submit a proposed corrective action plan to ensure that an IEP team is reconvened to address the child-specific issues of indicating frequency and amount for each accommodation and supplementary aids and services. The district will also ensure that special education staff understand how to write frequency and amount for services specified in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in the development and the implementation of the IEP.

  • Whether the district properly responded to a parent’s request for an independent educational evaluation (IEE) for her child.

On September 19 the parent wrote a letter to the district requesting an IEE, indicating she disagreed with her child’s current IEP. In an interview with the department, the parent clarified that she disagreed with the October 2005 decision not to conduct additional tests for child’s three-year reevaluation. The parent stated her child transitioned from an eighth grade pullout setting to ninth grade regular education English class, and no evaluation of her child’s skill levels was conducted. On or about October 10, 2006, the parent had an IEE conducted for her child. District staff indicate they were unclear as to why the parent requested an IEE. The district has scheduled a meeting on January 10, 2007, to review the IEE results.

Upon receiving a request for an IEE, a district must inform parents of the agency's IEE criteria and where to obtain an IEE. If a parent requests an IEE, the district may ask for the parent’s reason why he or she objects to the district evaluation. However, the district may not require the parent to provide an explanation and may not unreasonably delay either providing the IEE at public expense or filing a due process hearing to defend the district evaluation. The district did not inform the parent of the agency's IEE criteria and where to obtain an IEE upon receiving the parents' September 19 request. Within 30 days of receiving this decision, the district is directed to develop a corrective action plan to ensure that upon receiving a request for an IEE, the district provides parents of students with disabilities with required information.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/SJP 12/15/06
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/svb

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