On August 19, 2013, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) received a complaint under state and federal special education law from XXXXX against the Randolph School District. This is the department’s decision regarding that complaint. The issue is whether the district properly responded to a parent’s request, in June 2013, for an independent educational evaluation (IEE).
An IEE is an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not an employee of the student's school district. A parent has the right to an IEE if the parent disagrees with the district's evaluation. 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. The district must respond to the request for an IEE in a reasonable amount of time by either providing the IEE at public expense or requesting a due process hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate.
On June 4, 2013, the parent requested an IEE, because the parent did not believe the most recent evaluation conducted by the district properly identified the student’s abilities and skills relevant to classroom performance. On June 11, 2013, the district properly responded to the parent’s request and agreed to grant the IEE and provided the parent with the district’s IEE policies and a list of recommended evaluators. The following week, the parent and district agreed on an outside evaluator and the district indicated arrangements could be made to start the IEE in a couple of weeks. On June 25, 2013, the parent contacted the district about the status of the IEE. The district responded the next day, indicating the outside evaluator had gone on vacation and would not be able to start the IEE until after July 24.
On July 24, 2013, the outside evaluator contacted the parent and informed the parent the evaluator was now employed to work in the student’s school district. The parent e-mailed the district, requesting a different evaluator and asked for a new list of independent evaluators. On July 25, 2013, the parent informed the district she was enrolling her child in a private school. On July 26, 2013, the district responded, notifying the parent it would still complete the IEE, but did not have to do this, because the student was now enrolled in a private school. The district indicated the original evaluator should still complete the IEE, since the individual was not on contract to work in the district when the original arrangements for the IEE were made. The district did not provide a new list of recommended evaluators. The parent verified she wanted a new independent evaluator.
On August 13, 2013, the district sent a letter to the parent, acknowledging the parent’s refusal to accept the original outside evaluator, informing the parent the district would no longer complete the IEE, and suggesting the parent request an IEE from the district in which the private school was located. The district was incorrect in denying the IEE. The district was still the student’s resident district, had conducted the evaluation, and would be the district responsible for providing a free and appropriate public education should the student’s parent decide to reenroll the student in the public school system. Furthermore, the district should have provided the parent with names of other independent evaluators. Under federal law, the original evaluator selected could not have conducted the evaluation once employed to work in the school district.
On September 30, 2013, the district sent a letter to the parent, acknowledging the district’s responsibility to grant the IEE and informed the parent it would complete the IEE should the parent still want one. Since the student is no longer enrolled in the district, there is no additional corrective action at this time.
This concludes our review of this complaint, which we are closing.
//signed CST 10/16/2013
Carolyn Stanford Taylor
Assistant State Superintendent
Division for Learning Support