IDEA Complaint Decision 07-043

On May 25, 2007, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Waupun Area School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2006-2007 school year, utilized properly licensed staff in providing special education services.

During the school day, the student attends a special education class for two hours, and is in regular education for the remainder of the day. The special education classroom is taught by a special education teacher, with the assistance of a special education program aide. On March, 20, 2007, the special education program aide was absent and a substitute aide assisted with the special education classroom. The substitute aide is unlicensed.

PI 34.34 of Wisconsin’s Administrative Code requires that any person employed by a school district as a special education program aide shall hold a license. Federal law requires the department to enforce this licensing requirement. The administrative code provision further states that a license as a special education program aide may be issued to an applicant who is at least 18 years of age and is recommended by the district administrator of the employing school district, the administrator of a CESA, or his or her designated official to receive a license. In addition, a background check is required. There is no exception under the code that would permit a district to employ an unlicensed substitute. Within 30 days from the date of the decision, the district must submit to the department a corrective action plan that ensures that all special education program aides, including substitutes, are licensed.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 7/24/07
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

Dec/pmw

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