Special Education Sample
Letters for Parents
TIP: If a parent “disagrees” with an LEA’s assessment and wants to pursue an IEE, the parent should let the agency know in writing. In response, federal and state laws require the LEA to either agree to fund the IEE or file for due process.
It’s important to note that although the public agency may ask the parent why she is requesting an IEE, it cannot condition its response on whether to fund or file for due process on whether the parent has “adequately” explained her reasons for requesting the IEE.
If the LEA agrees to fund the IEE, it must also provide the parents a list of potential independent assessors that meet “agency criteria”, but the parent is NOT required to choose anyone on the LEA’s list.
Parents should send the letter requesting an IEE by fax, email, or regular mail (certified) and keep a copy of the letter with their child’s records. It’s important to give the LEA a reasonable amount of time to respond to the request before moving forward with the IEE.
The law requires the LEA to respond to a parent’s request for an IEE without “unnecessary delay.” Although there is no specific timeframe within which the district is required to respond, some courts have determined a response within 30 days from the parent’s request is reasonable.
If the LEA decides to file for due process rather than pay for the IEE, you should immediately consult a special education attorney.
Statutes/laws referenced in the letter::
Title 34 Code of Federal Regulation Section 300.502 -Independent educational evaluation.
(1) The parents of a child with a disability have the right under this part to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child, subject to paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section.
(2) Each public agency must provide to parents, upon request for an independent educational evaluation, information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained, and the agency criteria applicable for independent educational evaluations as set forth in paragraph (e) of this section.
(3) For the purposes of this subpart--
(i) Independent educational evaluation means an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the public agency responsible for the education of the child in question; and
(ii) Public expense means that the public agency either pays for the full cost of the evaluation or ensures that the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parent, consistent with Sec. 300.103.
(b) Parent right to evaluation at public expense.
(1) A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency, subject to the conditions in paragraphs (b)(2) through (4) of this section.
(2) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the public agency must, without unnecessary delay, either--
(i) File a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or
(ii) Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense unless the agency demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to Sec. Sec. 300.507 through 300.513 that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria.
(3) If the public agency files a due process complaint notice to request a hearing and the final decision is that the agency's evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense.
(4) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation, the public agency may ask for the parent's reason why he or she objects to the public evaluation. However, the public agency may not require the parent to provide an explanation and may not unreasonably delay either providing the independent educational evaluation at public expense or filing a due process complaint to request a due process hearing to defend the public evaluation.
(5) A parent is entitled to only one independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the public agency conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.
(c) Parent-initiated evaluations. If the parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at public expense or shares with the public agency an evaluation obtained at private expense, the results of the evaluation--
(1) Must be considered by the public agency, if it meets agency criteria, in any decision made with respect to the provision of FAPE to the child; and
(2) May be presented by any party as evidence at a hearing on a due process complaint under subpart E of this part regarding that child.
(d) Requests for evaluations by hearing officers. If a hearing officer requests an independent educational evaluation as part of a hearing on a due process complaint, the cost of the evaluation must be at public expense.
(e) Agency criteria.
(1) If an independent educational evaluation is at public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, must be the same as the criteria that the public agency uses when it initiates an evaluation, to the extent those criteria are consistent with the parent's right to an independent educational evaluation.
(2) Except for the criteria described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, a public agency may not impose conditions or timelines related to obtaining an independent educational evaluation at public expense.
California Education Code §56329(b)
(b) A parent or guardian has the right to obtain, at public expense, an independent educational assessment of the pupil from qualified specialists, as defined by regulations of the board, if the parent or guardian disagrees with an assessment obtained by the public education agency, in accordance with Section 300.502 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations. A parent or guardian is entitled to only one independent educational assessment at public expense each time the public education agency conducts an assessment with which the parent or guardian disagrees. If a public education agency observed the pupil in conducting its assessment, or if its assessment procedures make it permissible to have in-class observation of a pupil, an equivalent opportunity shall apply to an independent educational assessment of the pupil in the pupil's current educational placement and setting, and observation of an educational placement and setting, if any, proposed by the public education agency, regardless of whether the independent educational assessment is initiated before or after the filing of a due process hearing proceeding.