IDEA Complaint Decision 07-055

On July 26, 2007, the Department of Public Instruction received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Greenfield School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district properly responded to a parent’s request during the 2006-2007 school year for an independent educational evaluation (IEE).

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meeting was held on January 18, 2007, for the purpose of evaluation including determination of eligibility. The IEP team determined that the student met the criteria for the following impairments: specific learning disability, emotional behavioral disability, and speech and language impairment. The parents attended this IEP team meeting. All IEP team members, including the parents, agreed with the eligibility determinations.

On June 22, 2007, the complainant sent a letter to the district requesting an IEE at the district’s expense to evaluate the student. On July 24, 2007, the complainant sent another letter to the district alleging the IEE was being unnecessarily delayed and the district had not provided her with information where she could obtain an IEE and what the district’s policies were regarding IEEs.

On July 3, 2007, the district contends they spoke with the complainant regarding her request for an IEE and agreed to move forward with the IEE process. The district also stated that a list of independent evaluators in the areas she requested was in the process of being updated. On July 11, 2007, the district provided the complainant with a parent’s rights brochure. On July 23, 2007, the district provided the parent with the updated independent evaluators list via email.

An IEE is an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not an employee of the student’s school district. Upon receiving a request for an IEE, a school district must inform parents about where to obtain an IEE. The agency must also inform the parents of the district’s IEE criteria. An IEE at public expense must meet the criteria the district uses when it conducts its own evaluation. The district must respond to the request for an IEE in a reasonable amount of time and in a manner that does not interfere with the student’s right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The district must either provide the IEE at public expense or request a due process hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate.

Although the district did respond to the parent’s IEE request, it did not promptly provide the required list of evaluators and district policies. Further, it did not, without unnecessary delay, agree to provide either the IEE or request a due process hearing. The district did not properly respond to a parent’s request for an IEE within a reasonable amount of time, but has since worked with the parents in honoring their request.

Within thirty days, the district must ensure that the IEE is paid for and must submit proposed corrective action to ensure it promptly responds to a parent request for an IEE by providing required information and either agreeing to the IEE or requesting due process.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST/SJP 9/24/07
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