IDEA Complaint Decision 07-033

On April 9, 2007, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Monroe School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2006-2007 school year, properly implemented an individualized education program (IEP) for the student to receive math instruction in a small group with age appropriate peers in a regular education classroom.

A due process hearing request was filed in November of 2006. The parties reached an oral agreement to resolve the hearing issue of whether the student should receive math instruction in a small group with age appropriate peers rather than in the special education classroom. In an order of dismissal the hearing officer determined the parent acknowledged the district had offered to provide math instruction to the student in a small group with age appropriate peers rather than in the special education classroom for the remainder of the 2006-2007 school year. The hearing officer concluded this issue was moot in light of the parties’ oral agreement.

The student’s IEP was revised to reflect the parties’ agreement. The parent alleges in her Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state complaint that while her daughter is receiving math instruction in a regular education classroom with nondisabled peers, the nondisabled peers are receiving reading instruction at this time. The Program Summary (I-9) Special Education Services provides: Math (small group or one-to-one instruction). The location is listed as: Regular Education Room. The student has only received one-to-one instruction in math, with services being provided in the regular education classroom. At the time the student is receiving math instruction, the students without disabilities are receiving reading instruction.

The district contends that the change resulting from resolution sessions conducted prior to the hearing involved the location of math instruction being changed from special to the regular education classroom. The district contends the change was made on February 5, 2007, as orally agreed to by the parent and the parent is now seeking to broaden the reach of the resolution agreement. The parent believed the student would be receiving math instruction in the classroom with nondisabled peers at the same time as the rest of the class.

The amount of time to be committed to each of the various services to be provided to must be appropriate to the specific service and stated in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in both the development and implementation of the IEP. The IEP must also include an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the student will not participate with nondisabled students in the regular class and in the general curriculum. The parent reasonably understood the IEP to require the student to receive math instruction in the regular classroom while students without disabilities would be receiving math. In this context, use of the phrase "small group OR one on one instruction" does not adequately describe the services to be provided to the student nor does it adequately inform parents and staff of the extent to which the student will not participate with nondisabled students in the regular class and in the general curriculum.

The district must reconvene an IEP team meeting before the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year to clarify where, and with whom, services are to be provided, consistent with this decision. The district must submit a copy of the completed IEP including the Program Summary to the department no later than 14 days prior to the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/SJP 7/5/07
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/tag

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