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IDEA Complaint Decision 16-041

On June 28, 2016, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) 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 that complaint. The issue is whether the district, during the 2015-16 school year, properly conducted a reevaluation of a student with a disability to determine the student’s educational needs.

If the parent of a student with a disability requests a reevaluation, the school district must ensure one is conducted unless an evaluation has been completed in the past year. A reevaluation may not occur more than once a year, unless the parent and the district agree otherwise. The district must provide the parent prior written notice describing any evaluation procedures the agency proposes to conduct, and the names of the individuals who will conduct the evaluation, if known.  The district must obtain informed consent before reevaluating the student if additional assessments are needed, except if the district has taken reasonable measures to obtain such consent, and the student’s parents have failed to respond.

On August 27, 2015, the parent requested a reevaluation to have an outside autism consultant observe the student and provide recommendations to school staff. On September 8, 2015, the district sent to the parent notice and a request for consent to administer additional assessments. The notice described the area to be evaluated as “cognitive-autism.” The notice did not clearly contain a description of the proposed evaluation procedures, and the individuals who would be conducting them, if known. On September 21, 2015, the parent provided consent for the evaluation. The student was observed by the outside consultant on October 16 and 29, 2015. The consultant examined the student’s programming and interviewed the student’s teachers and related service providers. The consultant compiled a report summarizing observations and providing recommendations for the student’s educational programming. On November 18, 2015, the IEP team met to conduct the reevaluation, including considering the consultant’s report, and determined the student continued to be eligible for special education.  

The LEA failed to properly conduct a reevaluation during the 2015-16 school year when it did not clearly describe the evaluation procedures to be conducted for the student, and include the names of the individuals who would be conducting the evaluation, if known.  Within 20 days of the date of this decision, the district must contact the parent to determine whether another reevaluation is warranted, and if so, clarify the evaluation procedures for any additional assessments needed, and provide documentation to the department.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed CST 8/26/2016
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support