Use of Written Notice to Record Refusal to Hold IFSP/IEP Team Meeting

ADMINISTRATIVE LETTER: 53
POLICY CODE:  IH

MUSER §IX.3.D(1) requires a School Administrative Unit (SAU) to ensure that an IEP Team reviews each student’s IEP “periodically, but not less frequently than annually,” indicating that meetings may occur more often than annually under appropriate circumstances.

This does not mean that the SAU must necessarily comply with a parent or guardian’s request to convene a meeting when there are good reasons not to do so. Since, however, an IEP/IFSP meeting will generally entail discussion of changes to the “identification, evaluation, … educational placement … or the provision of early intervention services … or a FAPE” to the child, the SAU’s determination not to convene a meeting as requested triggers the obligation of 34 CFR §300.503 (MUSER App. 1) to provide a Written Notice of its refusal.

When doing so, the SAU should check off the “Other” box on the state-required Written Notice form.

Failure to comply with this requirement may result in a finding of violation of special education regulations.

On May 10, 2011, the Maine Department of Education received a request for a complaint investigation (#11.085C) that alleged the SAU failed to respond to a legal guardian’s request for an IEP Team Meeting.

The Complaint Investigation Report found that the guardian, on March 17, 2011, made a request in writing to convene the IEP Team to discuss providing additional educational technician support to the student. The guardian wrote a second request on April 12, 2011, because she received no response to her first request. The IEP Team Meeting was not scheduled in response to the request until May 5, 2011.

The Complaint Investigation found the SAU to be in violation of special education rules for failing to respond to the request for an IEP Team Meeting by either scheduling the meeting within a reasonable length of time after receiving the request, or issuing a Written Notice of refusal to hold the meeting.

All special education administrators are hereby directed to ensure that all special education personnel working under their supervision are made aware of the contents of this Administrative Letter.

Any questions regarding this Administrative Letter should be submitted to the Due Process Office by e-mail at susan.parks@maine.gov, or by phone at 207-624-6644.