5 IDEA Requirements for Independent Evaluations at Public Expense

Are you the parent of a child with autism or a learning disability that needs an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE), to determine their educational needs or services? Have you heard that parents can ask special education personnel in their school district to pay for an IEE at public expense? This article will discuss the 5 IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) requirements for an IEE at public expense.

1. IDEA 300.502 under (b) (1) states that parents “Have the right under this part to obtain an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with the evaluation obtained by the public agency.”

2. Special education personnel may ask why you disagree with their evaluation, but they cannot require you to give an explanation of what you disagree with. In fact I recommend not telling them what you disagree with, because they may try and limit the IEE.

3. IDEA 300.502 (b) (2) states “that if a parent requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the public agency must without unnecessary delay either; 1. File for a due process hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate, or 2. Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense. . .”

4. IDEA 300.502 (5) (e) states “If an IEE 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 IEE.” Many school districts try and put a lot of criteria on parents for IEE’s at public expense. For Example: geographic, cost, name of evaluator must be on a list etc.

5. Except for the criteria in 4 above, school districts may not impose other conditions or timelines on the IEE at public expense.

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has stated, that school districts may develop criteria for IEE’s at public expense; with these two exceptions.

a. The school district cannot make criteria, that prevent the parent from getting an IEE at public expense. For Example: If you live in a small town, with no available evaluators, and your district states that the evaluation must be done within 30 miles; it would be impossible for you to find an evaluator. Or the special education personnel make the cost so low that you cannot find anyone to evaluate your child. This may prevent you from getting the IEE at public expense, so stand up to special education personnel.

b. School districts must allow parents, to prove that their child’s circumstances are unique, and require a waiver of the criteria. For Example: If you feel that your child needs to be seen by a Clinical Psychologist, the cost is probably going to be more than a psychologist would charge. If you can prove unique circumstances, why your child needs to be evaluated by a Clinical Psychologist, then the school district is supposed to pay for the Clinical Psychologist. Whether a school district is willing to do that, without a due process hearing, depends on your school district.

Remember any criteria that a school district makes for an IEE at public expense must not prevent the parent from getting the IEE; and they must allow for waiver of criteria if the child’s circumstances require it. A good independent evaluation can benefit your child by determining their disabilities or educational and related service needs.