- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A state investigation of the Iowa City Community School District has revealed areas of noncompliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The Iowa Department of Education released a report Monday, the Iowa City Press-Citizen (https://icp-c.com/1WMBZf5 ) reports. The investigation started after district officials said a deadline for correcting issues with more than 100 programs wouldn’t be met. It was also trigged by the school district reporting the largest special education deficit in the state in fiscal year 2015.

The report says many of the issues involve incorrectly handled Individualized Education Programs used to guide special educational choices for students.

Report interviewees suggested that some placements for students with disabilities are predetermined and some decisions about programming choices for students were driven by financial considerations. It also found a lack of timely notices to parents about program meetings, and a failure to inform some parents about meetings to address their children’s progress or changes to their child’s individualized programs.

State officials said the district may have missed opportunities to claim available Medicaid funds for special education.

District superintendent Stephen Murley said that even though district officials asked for relief from the June 1 deadline, they “worked diligently to meet with families to conduct the required IEP meetings, and all have been completed.”

State officials also say they are concerned that interviewees referred to the required corrective actions as merely “documentation issues,” when the compliance issues are more substantial.

The department will follow up in November to check on the district’s progress on completing corrective actions.

Murley said that the district will work with the state’s assigned implementation adviser to carry out the corrective actions detailed in the report. He said that district officials are “optimistic” that the adviser will provide suggestions about addressing the special education deficit.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/


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