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IDEA Complaint Decision 17-037

On May 30, 2017 (form dated May 24, 2017), the Department of Public Instruction (department) received complaints under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the XXXXX School District. This is the department’s decision regarding this complaint. The issue raised is whether the district, during the 2016-2017 school year, properly responded to requests for independent educational evaluations (IEEs) for three students with disabilities.

An IEE is an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not an employee of the student’s school district. The parents of a student with a disability are entitled to an IEE at no cost when they disagree with school district’s evaluation of their child. Parents are entitled to only one publicly funded IEE for each assessment performed by a school district examiner with which they disagree. An IEE at public expense is available to parents each time the local educational agency conducts an evaluation. School districts must respond to a parent’s request for an IEE in a reasonable amount of time and in a manner that does not interfere with the child’s right to receive a free appropriate public education. School districts must either provide the IEE at public expense or request a due process hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate. School districts may establish qualifications requiring IEE examiners to hold or be eligible to hold the same licensure as its own staff. However, school districts may not impose other conditions or timelines on parents’ requests for IEEs at public expense.

The three students who are subjects of this complaint are siblings. On March 8, 2017, the department received a complaint from the student’s parent alleging the district inappropriately denied requests for IEEs for all three students during the fall of 2016. On May 5, 2017, the department issued a decision on that complaint, finding the district inappropriately denied the parent’s requests for IEEs. The district has since revised its policy regarding responding to parents’ requests for IEEs. Following the decision, the parent renewed the requests for IEEs for the three students. On June 8, the parent sent the district an email message including correspondence from one of the examiners chosen by the parent to conduct a portion of the IEEs. On June 12, the district faxed completed forms to the examiner authorizing the IEEs. The district properly responded to requests for IEEs for the three students with disabilities who are subject of this complaint.

This concludes our review of this complaint.

//signed 7/27/17 by BVH for CST
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support
For questions about this information, contact Margaret Resan (608) 267-9158