IDEA Complaint Decision 07-040

On May 17, 2007, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the West Bend Joint School District #1. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2006-2007 school year, properly implemented a student’s individualized education program (IEP) with regard to providing supplementary aids and services in a structured study hall and in English class and properly identified the appropriate placement for algebra class.

The parent alleges the district staff did not read tests aloud to her child during the first part of the school year in English class and the staff did not provide support to her child while in the structured study hall until the last two months of school. The parent states her child reported that staff were not always available to assist him with his school work in the structured study hall and English class. The parent felt it was inappropriate for the staff to rely on her child to request supports when needed.

The district responded by stating the student received support through a structured study hall two to three times a week for ten minutes from October 2006 to March 2007. Beginning in March 2007 the student received support of a structured study hall on a daily basis for one period per day. Supports in the English class were provided "as needed" or "offered daily as deemed appropriate."

For the 2006-2007 school year, IEPs were reviewed and revised on October 11, 2005, October 5, 2006, and March 8, 2007. At the beginning of the school year, the October 11, 2005, IEP states supplementary aids and services include "use a spell checker or word processor and tests may be read to X in the special education room for all classes including exploratories as needed." The October 5, 2006, IEP states "team taught classes in English, extended time to complete test, tests read out loud/explanations given, may take tests in a resource room offered daily as deemed appropriate" in the "REN and EEN settings." Finally, the March 8, 2007, IEP states the student will receive "team taught classes in English" with various additional aids and services "offered daily and as deemed appropriate" in the "REN and EEN settings," and "speech/language consultation via structured study hall at 40 minutes per day."

The supplementary aids and services as indicated in the student’s 2006-2007 IEPs must be described in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in the development and implementation of the IEP. The IEPs written on October 11, 2005, October 5, 2006, and March 8, 2007, do not meet these requirements because each use terms such as "daily as deemed appropriate" or "as needed" per supplementary aids and services. The IEPs do not describe the circumstances under which the 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. In addition, the location referred to as "REN" for supplementary aids and services in two of the three IEPs was not clear to the parent.

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 prior to the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year to address the child-specific issues of indicating frequency and amount and location for special education services and supplementary aids and services. The district will also ensure that special education staff understand how to write frequency and amount and location of services specified in a manner that is clear to all who are involved in the development and the implementation of the IEP.

The parent contends the district did not properly identify and place her child in an appropriate algebra class that would meet her child’s achievement level. The child was placed in a regular education algebra class at the beginning of the school year, and minimal progress was made. The staff utilized interventions, some of which were successful; however, the student continued to struggle with the content. The parent then requested her child be placed in a special education algebra class. The IEP team met on March 8, 2007, and determined the student will receive specialized math instruction in the special education classroom. The district took steps to ensure the student was placed in an appropriate math class.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 7/16/07
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