Are you a parent who is interested in what criteria special education personnel can use for an Independent Educational Evaluation at Public Expense? Have you been denied an IEE at public expense, because you refuse to go along with strict criteria set by your school district? This article will discuss what criteria special education personnel are allowed to set for IEE’s at public expense.
The Office of Special Education Programs does allow school districts to make criteria for IEE’s at public expense if:
a. Parents are allowed to ask for a waiver of the criteria if their child’s disability warrants it, or
b. The criteria do not prevent the parent from getting the IEE at public expense.
Below is a discussion of the criteria that school districts are allowed to set: (Just remember that the criteria cannot prevent the parent from getting the IEE at public expense)
1. Professional qualifications; An independent evaluator must be at least as qualified, as special education personnel, who do the testing in the school district. If you want an independent evaluator who is more qualified than school person, you must put that in your initial request for an IEE at public expense.
A lot of conflict often occurs because parents want their child tested by a Clinical psychologist not a School psychologist; which increases the cost.
If you can prove, that unique circumstances require a clinical psychologist, then your school district may agree. If they do not, they should file for a due process hearing.
2. Cost; A lot of school districts, place very low cost on independent educational evaluations at public expense. A good qualified independent evaluator is going to cost quite a bit, depending on the profession and location. If the evaluation that you want is going to cost more than the amount stated by your school district, tell them that you are asking for a cost waiver because of unique circumstances. They may ask you to list the unique circumstances, which is allowed.
Another issue is that school personnel cannot prevent you from getting an IEE at public expense. If they make the cost too low, then you will not be able to get the evaluation.
3. Geographical; Some school districts want you to stay within a certain geographic area. Again they can do it, if it does not prevent you from getting the evaluation.
Below is criteria school districts are not allowed to set:
1. Pick from this list of Evaluators: This is not allowed by the Office of Special Education Programs which is part of the Department of Education.
2. We will pay but we get to pick the evaluator: Also not allowed by OSEP. On February 20, 2004 OSEP published a policy letter regarding IEE’s at public expense. In this letter OSEP states: It is the parent, not the district, who has the right to choose which evaluator. . .will conduct the evaluation.
3. If you want an IEE at public expense you must file for a due process hearing. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is clear; either school districts pay for the evaluation of they file for a due process hearing to prove that their evaluation is correct. This is important because in some states the burden of proof at due process rests on the party that files.
4. We want to determine specifically what tests are done. IDEA states that parents and school districts must agree on areas to be tested, not on the tests themselves. If an agreement cannot be reached then special education personnel must file for a due process hearing.
By understanding what criteria special education personnel can make for an IEE at public expense, you will be in a better position to get an IEE at public expense for your child.