OSEP Letter says school districts may set timelines for parents to submit IEE reports before scheduling an IEP meeting

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In Letter to Addressee 111 LRP 68370 (OSEP 2011), the Office of Special Education Programs has stated that school districts, as part of their Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) criteria, may require that parents provide the complete independent evaluation report by a certain time, even before setting the date for the IEP team meeting.

The OSEP was asked by letter if a Maryland school district could require the parent to deliver the report before the IEP meeting date was scheduled. It should be noted that the IDEA does not set a particular deadline for a parent to submit a private evaluation report before an IEP team meeting. The IDEA regulations, however, do provide that if a parent obtains an IEE at private expense the district must consider the evaluation in any decision regarding the provision of a free appropriate public education if the evaluation meets agency criteria.

The Office of Special Education Programs responded saying: "We believe it would be reasonable for a public agency to establish criteria, including a requirement that it receive the entire evaluation and not just the  scaled scores by a certain time, to give the public agency the opportunity to review the report prior to scheduling an IEP team meeting to discuss the evaluation. Such criteria would need to be provided to parents in advance or otherwise made available publicly so that individuals seeking an independent educational evaluation are fully informed." (emphasis added).

 Please note, that while OSEP says school districts may add a requirement that parents submit IEE reports before setting the IEP team meeting time to the district's IEE criteria, it seems to me that (1) the new requirement must be written and added to the district's IEE criteria, and  not assumed to be in effect based on this OSEP letter and (2) the school district must provide the criteria to parents in advance or otherwise make it publicly available so that parents seeking an IEE are fully informed.