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Section 8

ak dept education

special ed handbook
SECTION 8
INDEPENDENT EVALUATIONS

Right to an Independent Educational Evaluation

Parents of a child with a disability have the right to obtain an independent educational evaluation (IEE). An IEE is an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the District responsible for the education of the child in question. The primary purpose of the independent educational evaluation is to determine eligibility, not to develop the IEP.

Availability of Information

The District must provide, upon request, information to parents as to where an IEE may be obtained. Since IEEs at public expense must be conducted according to the same criteria that apply to evaluations conducted by the District (see Part III, Section 5), the District must provide parents with the District criteria for evaluations, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner. If a District's list of independent evaluators is not exhaustive within the geographic area, or if the list does not include evaluators who can appropriately evaluate a specific child, then the parents are not restricted to the District's list.

Right to an Independent Educational Evaluation at Public Expense

Under the following circumstances, a parent has the right to an IEE at public expense if the parent disagrees with an assessment obtained by the school district:
  1. The District must first have had the opportunity to conduct an evaluation.

    Note:If a parent requests an IEE, the District may ask about the parent's reason for objecting to the District evaluation. However, the explanation is not required and the District may not unreasonably delay either providing the IEE or initiating a due process hearing to resolve the issue.
  2. Whenever 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 the District uses when it initiates an evaluation.
  3. Parents are entitled to only one IEE at public expense for each District evaluation.
  4. A due process hearing may be initiated by the District to determine if the evaluation conducted by the District was appropriate. If the final decision of a hearing officer (or a court of law if the hearing officer's decision is appealed) is that the evaluation conducted by the District is or was appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent evaluation. However, the parent must pay for this evaluation.
  5. If a hearing officer requests an IEE as part of a hearing, the evaluation must be at District expense.
Note: Since the right of a parent to obtain an IEE is triggered by the parental disagreement with the District's evaluation, an IEE at public expense would not be available if a parent refuses to consent to a proposed District evaluation since there would be no public evaluation for the parent to disagree with. If the parent believes the proposed public evaluation is inappropriate, the parent may pursue a publicly funded evaluation via the mediation, complaint, or due process procedures.

Maximum Allowable Charges

To avoid unreasonable charges for IEEs, a District may establish maximum allowable charges for specific tests. If a District does establish maximum allowable charges for specific tests, the maximum allowable charges must:
  1. Not simply be an average of the fees customarily charged in the area by professionals who are qualified to conduct the specific test.
  2. Allow parents to choose from among the qualified professionals in the area and only eliminate unreasonably excessive fees.
  3. Allow parents the opportunity to demonstrate that unique circumstances justify an IEE that does not fall within the District's criteria. If an IEE that falls outside the District's criteria is justified by the child's unique circumstances, that IEE must be publicly funded.
Consideration of IEE Results

If a parent obtains an IEE at private expense that meets the District's evaluation criteria and makes the results available to the District, the District in any decision made with respect to the provision of a FAPE to the child must consider the results. The results may also be presented as evidence at a hearing regarding that child.

Procedures for Requesting an IEE

If a parent wants to request an IEE at District expense, the parent should notify the District. The District must provide the parent with:
  1. A list of independent evaluators.
  2. The District's criteria for IEEs, including maximum allowable charges, if any.
  3. A copy of the evaluation and eligibility requirements set forth in Part III of this handbook.
District Responsibilities Following IEE Requests

If a parent requests an IEE, the District may do one of the following:
  1. Propose mediation to resolve differences.
  2. Agree to pay for an IEE.
  3. Initiate a due process hearing to show that its evaluation was appropriate. The parent must be advised if he or she pursues an IEE, it may be at his or her expense.
After a parent has obtained an IEE, the District must do one of the following:
  1. Pay for the evaluation/assessment if it meets the criteria for publicly funded IEEs. If the District believes the District evaluation was appropriate, this should be stated in writing within the same document in which it agrees to pay.
  2. Provide written notice to the parent of the District's refusal to pay for an IEE that does not meet the criteria for publicly funded IEEs. The District must also inform the parent of his or her right to a due process hearing to challenge this decision.
  3. Provide written notice to the parent of the District's refusal to pay for an IEE and request a due process hearing to demonstrate the District's evaluation or assessment was appropriate. The District does not have to pay for an evaluation if the hearing officer finds for the District.

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