IDEA Complaint Decision 11-039

On October 3, 2011, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Madison Metropolitan School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issues are whether the district, during the 2011-2012 school year, properly implemented the student’s individualized education program (IEP) and provided special education services utilizing properly licensed teaching staff.

On December 1, 2010, an IEP team meeting was held for the purpose of determining continuing eligibility, developing an annual IEP and a statement of transition goals and services and determining placement. The IEP team determined the student continued to meet eligibility criteria for vision and hearing impairments and needed special education services. Special education services in the area of itinerant vision services included: “direct in class support for math one period per day”; “direct instruction in assistive technology for one period daily” and “direct support in science class.” The direct support in science was to be provided during labs, and was described as providing additional verbal description of adapted materials and visual materials. Support was also provided during resource periods with the frequency described as three periods per week. Program modifications included ongoing consultation with regular and special education staff about materials adaptation, and in-service training at the beginning of each semester for all staff working with the student to provide information about supporting a student who has vision impairments.

In the complaint, the parents allege the student is not receiving direct support in chemistry or assistive technology, ongoing consultation has not occurred, and in-service training has not been provided. The parents also allege the district did not provide special education services utilizing properly licensed staff.

Based on interviews with the parents and numerous staff members, including the vision teacher, the case manager, and the program support teacher, direct instruction in assistive technology was made available as required by the student’s IEP. Support was also provided during the resource periods. There was ongoing consultation with regular and special education staff about materials adaptations and the district provided training to staff working with the student at the beginning of the first semester. Itinerant vision service staff are with the student each day for direct support in chemistry class; however, lab support as required by the IEP was not provided until three weeks ago.

The parents also allege the new teacher was not licensed by DPI. As of the date of this decision, the vision teacher has an emergency permit in the area of visual impairment which is valid from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. The district provided special education services utilizing properly licensed teaching staff.

Within 30 days of the date of this decision, the district must reconvene the IEP team meeting to determine whether compensatory services are required because of the failure to provide lab support. A copy of the complete IEP must be submitted to DPI no later than 15 days following the IEP team meeting.

All noncompliance identified above must be corrected as soon as possible, but in no case more than one year from the date of this decision. This concludes our review of this complaint. You may contact Teresa Goodier, Special Education Team, at teresa.goodier@dpi.wi.gov or (608) 267-2947 if you have any questions about this decision or for technical assistance.

//signed CST 12/2/2011
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