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IDEA Complaint Decision 16-020

On March 21, 2016, the Department of Public Instruction (department) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the River Valley School District. This is the department’s decision regarding the complaint. The issues are whether the district, beginning on March 22, 2015:

  • properly responded to the parent’s request for an independent educational evaluation (IEE);
  • properly responded to the parent’s request for extended school year services (ESY); and
  • properly provided the parent meaningful opportunity to participate in meetings of the student’s individualized education program (IEP) team.

The parent of a child with a disability has the right to obtain at public expense one IEE of their child if the parent disagrees with an evaluation conducted by the public agency. Upon receiving a request for an IEE, the school district must provide information about where to obtain an IEE and the agency’s criteria, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner. On February 8, 2016, the parent requested an IEE of his child, and the district provided the required information to the parent on February 15. The parent is in the process of selecting an evaluator. The district properly responded to a parent’s request for an IEE.

A school district is required to provide ESY services to a child when the child requires such services to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). If ESY services are an issue raised by the parent or any other IEP team participant, the IEP team, including the parent, must determine on an individual basis whether the child requires ESY services in order to receive FAPE.  At two IEP team meetings in April 2016, the parent requested the district consider ESY services for his child during the summer of 2016. The IEP team did not finish developing the student’s IEP at the April meetings. An IEP team meeting is being scheduled for the purpose of completing the development of the IEP and determining ESY services. The district properly responded to the parent’s request for ESY services. 

Each public agency must take steps to ensure that one or both of the parents of a child with a disability are present at each IEP team meeting or are afforded the opportunity to participate. In developing each child’s IEP, the IEP team must consider the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child. The child’s parent attended the IEP team meetings, accompanied by a parent advocate. Each IEP includes documentation of the student’s strengths and concerns regarding the student’s education shared by the parent. During the April 2016 IEP team meetings, the district shared a draft IEP developed by the district prior to the IEP team meeting. The parent acknowledges the district asked the parent for input regarding the child’s IEP during the meetings, although the parent preferred the advocate speak on his behalf. The parent made suggestions regarding IEP goals and placement, and the district revised the goals based on parent input. The district properly provided the parent meaningful opportunity to participate in the student’s IEP team meetings.

This concludes our review of this complaint. 

//signed CST 5/12/2016
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support