IDEA Complaint Decision 08-049

On May 15, 2008, 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 properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) during the 2007-2008 school year regarding participation in special education and whether the school district properly changed the student’s placement.

In September 2007, the student began the school year at a district middle school. On January 11, 2008, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student's IEP, functional behavioral assessment, behavior intervention plan, conduct a manifestation determination, and determine placement. The child's father attended the IEP team meeting. The IEP team determined the student’s special education services in reading, writing, and math in the special education classroom would be 45 minutes in each subject area five times a week. The IEP team determined the student's placement would continue at the student's current school. During the IEP team meeting, the team considered changing the student’s school but determined that he would remain at his current school.

On January 16, 2008, another IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student's IEP and determine placement. The child's mother attended the IEP team meeting. The IEP team determined the student’s special education services in reading, writing, and math in the special education classroom would continue 45 minutes in each subject area five times a week. In addition, the IEP team determined the student's placement would be at a named partnership school. On January 29, the student withdrew from the middle school and began attending the partnership school. However, when the student started attending the school, a special education teacher was only assigned to the school two half days a week, and the student did not receive special education services in reading, writing, and math in the special education classroom 45 minutes in each subject area five times a week as stated in the student's IEP. An additional special education teacher was added to the school in late spring for two more half days.

On May 22, 2008, an IEP team meeting was held to review and revise the student's IEP, complete a re-evaluation to determine eligibility, develop an annual IEP, and determine placement. The child's mother and father attended the IEP team meeting. The IEP team determined the student’s special education services would increase to three hours five times a week. In addition, the IEP team determined the student's placement would continue at the student’s current school.

In January and May 2008, the IEP team properly determined the student’s placement by considering his unique needs, including concerns about behavior. The district did not properly implement the student’s IEP during the 2007-2008 school year regarding participation in special education when the student enrolled at the partnership school on January 29, 2008. Prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year, the district must reconvene an IEP team to determine whether additional services are necessary due to the district’s failure to implement the student's IEP. By August 29, 2008, the district must send the department a copy of the student’s IEP.

In addition, department staff will work with the district to develop a corrective action plan within 30 days from the date of this decision to ensure IEPs are properly reviewed and implemented when a student transfers to a partnership school.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 7/14/08
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