IDEA Complaint Decision 99-019

On March 22, 1999 (letter dated March 19, 1999), a complaint was filed with the Department of Public Instruction by XXXXX against the Weyauwega-Fremont School District. This complaint alleges a violation of special education law regarding the implementation of programs for children with disabilities.

Pursuant to 34 CFR 300.660-662 of the regulations implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and ss. 115.762(3)(g) and 115.90(1), Wis. Stats., the Department of Public Instruction investigated this complaint. In investigating a complaint, the department reviews a district's compliance with state and federal requirements. During this investigation, the department reviewed written statements by the complainant and the school district. In addition, the department interviewed the complainant and the pupil services director by telephone.

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ISSUE:

Did the district fail to make available a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the child after December 8, 1998?

APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES:

Section 115.76, Wisconsin Statutes
Definitions.

In this subchapter:

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(7) "Free appropriate public education means special education and related services that are provided at public expense and under public supervision and direction, meet the standards of the department, include an appropriate preschool, elementary or secondary school education and are provided in conformity with an individualized education program.

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Section 115.77, Wisconsin Statutes
Local educational agency duties.

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(1m) A local educational agency shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the division that it does all of the following:

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(b) Makes available a free appropriate public education to children with disabilities as required by this subchapter and applicable state and federal law.

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Section 115.787, Wisconsin Statutes
Individualized education programs.

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(2) REQUIRED COMPONENTS. An individualized education program shall include all of the following:

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(c) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child * * *.

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(f) The projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications described in par. (c) and the anticipated frequency, location and duration of those services and modifications.

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34 CFR 300.8 Free appropriate public education.

As used in this part, the term "free appropriate public education" means special education and related services that--

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(d) are provided in conformity with an IEP that meets the requirements of ss. 300.340-300.350.

34 CFR 300.346 Content of individualized education program.

(a) General. The IEP for each child must include--

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(3) A statement of the specific special education and related services to be provided to the child * * *.

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ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS:

34 CFR Part 300, Appendix C, Question 46

46. Is the IEP a commitment to provide services -- i.e., must a public agency provide all of the services listed in the IEP?

Yes. The IEP of each child with a disability must include all services necessary to meet the child's identified special education and related services needs; and all services in the IEP must be provided in order for the agency to be in compliance with the Act.

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FINDINGS OF FACT:

The 20-year-old student whose education is the subject of this investigation attends the Weyauwega-Fremont School District. She requires special education and related services due to a severe cognitive disability.

On August 26, 1998, the school district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise, if necessary, the youth's IEP. The IEP requires the district to provide the following special education services: speech and language services (one time per week), sheltered employment (four times per week), and daily living skills (six times per week).

Although not required by the IEP, the district provided these services to the youth, in part, through the assistance of a one-on-one aide. During the second week of December 1998, the aide submitted a letter of resignation, effective January 4, 1999.

Between January 5, 1999, and March 19, 1999, the district provided neither the sheltered employment nor the daily living skills components required by the IEP. Speech and language services continued to be provided once a week.

On March 19, 1999, the district held an IEP team meeting to review and revise, if necessary, the youth's IEP. The new IEP requires the district to provide community-based employment and related services. Since March 20, 1999, the district has provided the student with the special education and related services specified in the IEP.

CONCLUSION:

A district must provide each child with a disability a free appropriate public education (FAPE). A district meets its obligation to provide a FAPE to a child, in part, by providing special education and related services in conformity with a proper IEP. The IEP must specify special education and related services to meet the child's needs.

Here, the district did not provide the sheltered employment or daily living skills required by the youth's IEP from January 5, 1999, until the implementation of a new IEP on March 20, 1999. There is a violation in this regard.

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DIRECTIVE:

The Weyauwega-Fremont School District shall, within 30 days of receipt of this report, submit to the department a corrective action plan (CAP) to ensure that:

  1. the district provides special education and related services consistent with a child's IEP; and
  2. the district holds an IEP team meeting to determine whether additional special education and related services should be provided to the youth to compensate for failure to provide services consistent with the youth's IEP between January 5, 1999, and March 19, 1999.

The CAP shall include the activities the district will undertake to implement the directives, the personnel responsible for each activity, the date by which each activity will be completed, and the type of documentation that will be submitted to the department as evidence of completion of each activity. If a CAP requires the district to develop one or more products, the district may submit the product(s) as part of the corrective action plan. The CAP will be reviewed and the district will be informed if any revisions are required. The district will implement the CAP after it has been approved by the department.

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This concludes our investigation of this complaint. This letter is not intended, and should not be construed, to cover any other issues regarding compliance with the IDEA or Chapter 115, Wisconsin Statutes, which may exist and which are not specifically discussed herein. Under the Wisconsin public records law, ss. 19.31-19.39, Wisconsin Statutes, it may be necessary to release this document and related correspondence and records upon request.

signed JSP/SJP
5/21/99
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Juanita S. Pawlisch, Ph.D., Assistant Superintendent
Division for Learning Support: Equity and Advocacy

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