Is the District Responsible for the Cost of Your Child's Private Evaluation?
Here at Ratcliff Law, we get it: the costs of caring for and educating a special needs child are adding up, and even if you don't think the evaluations conducted by your school district are any good, you simply can't afford to put down any more money to get your own done. Luckily, the law is on your side. Keep reading to find out how you can get the district to pay for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).
Ways the District Will Pay for an IEE:
Agree to Fund the Evaluation Upon Request: Parents who disagree with the evaluations conducted by their school district can request that the district fund an IEE at their own expense. The District can either: (1) agree to fund the IEE, or (2) initiate their own impartial hearing to defend their evaluations. Those are the only two options. They cannot deny or ignore the parent's request.
Agree to Fund the Evaluation Following a Resolution Meeting: If the District's response to the parents' request is inadequate (or non-existent), the parents (or their attorney) can request an impartial hearing. Though resolution meetings are often unhelpful in solving tuition claims in NYC (see our blog post on that here), the NYC DOE - and other school districts - can agree to fund an IEE at a resolution meeting.
Agree to Settle Your Claim for Funding/Reimbursement: If the case cannot be resolved via resolution, there is still a chance the school district will directly fund or reimburse you for the evaluation through a settlement agreement without the need to go to a hearing.
Win an Award for Funding/Reimbursement at a Hearing: Finally, if all else fails, a hearing officer can award parents funding or reimbursement for their private evaluation.
Disclaimer: Seek Advice FIRST Before Acting on Your Own
The hearing officer will look to see if the District dropped the ball (i.e. by failing to adequately evaluate the student or evaluate them at all, and by failing to appropriately respond to the parents request that this be remedied). Moreover, as in all other cases, hearing officers want evidence that the parents put the district on notice of their concerns. That is why it is always best to check with an attorney before starting this process; preferably even before having your child tested by a private provider. It is best to know all of your options in advance and be advised of your next best steps.
For additional questions about evaluations, evaluator recommendations, how to initiate an IEE case, or other inquiries, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-741-3030.