1220 U.S.C. § 1415(b) “Procedural Safeguards” Types of ProceduresThe procedures required by this section shall include the following:(1) An opportunity for the parents of a child with a disability to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child.
1334 C.F.R. §(a) General.(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.
14(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.
15(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.
16(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
17(ii) Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense, unless the agency demonstrates in a [due process] hearing that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria.
18(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.
19(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 IEE or filing for a due process hearing.]
20(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.
21“Agency Criteria”(e)(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.
22(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.
23USDOE Guidance Letters Letter to LoDolceLetter to ParkerLetter to YoungLetter to [Redacted]Letter to Petskaletters/revpolicy/tpiee.html
24District criteria may include list of evaluators and cost parameters consistent with standards employed by District for its own assessmentsMust allow exceptions for unique circumstancesMust provide criteria promptly
25N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.5(c)A parent may request an independent evaluation if there is disagreement with any assessment conducted as part of an initial evaluation or a reevaluation provided by a district board of education.
261. If a parent seeks an independent evaluation in an area not assessed as part of an initial evaluation or a reevaluation, the school district shall first have the opportunity to conduct the requested evaluation [SUPERSEDED BY NJDOE 5/14/12 LETTER]
272. Such independent evaluation(s) shall be provided at no cost to the parent unless the school district initiates a due process hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate and a final determination to that effect is made following the hearing.
28i. Upon receipt of the parental request, the school district shall provide the parent with information about where an independent evaluation may be obtained and the criteria for independent evaluations according to (c)3 and 4 below.
29In addition, except as provided in (c)1 above, the school district shall take steps to ensure that the independent evaluation is provided without undue delay; or ii. Not later than 20 calendar days after receipt of the parental request for the independent evaluation, the school district shall request the due process hearing.
303. Any independent evaluation purchased at public expense shall: i. Be conducted according to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.4; and
31ii. Be obtained from another public school district, educational services commission, jointure commission, a clinic or agency approved under N.J.A.C. 6A:14-5, or private practitioner, who is appropriately certified and/or licensed, where a license is required.
32Wall Twp. BOE v. C.M. (OAL 2007)Districts may not dictate the specific evaluator, butDistricts may establish selection and cost criteria consistent with federal guidance letters, providedCriteria are provided to parents promptly upon request for the IEE
33R.L. v. Gloucester Twp. BOE (OAL 2005) Parents need not express disagreement with district’s evaluation in order to obtain reimbursement for an IEE after the fact, butAn IEE at district expense is available only when there is disagreement with a district evaluation that has been conducted.
34NJDOE May 14, 2012 LetterConflict between federal regulation and state regulation regarding districts’ right to “first crack” at assessing that particular areaNothing in letter states intent to supersede earlier USDOE guidance or OAL case law re: district cost/qualification criteria generally
39Recommendations in IEEs “[E]valuators providing independent evaluations may include recommendations as to specific educational and related services, methodologies, programs or placements in their reports ” September 2004 NJDOE Memo
4120 U.S.C. § 1415(j)[D]uring the pendency of any proceedings conducted pursuant to this section, unless the State or local educational agency and the parents otherwise agree, the child shall remain in the then-current educational placement of the child . . .
42N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.7(u)If the decision of the administrative law judge agrees with the student's parents that a change of placement is appropriate, that placement shall be treated as an agreement between the district board of education and the parents for the remainder of any court proceedings.
43What Triggers “Stay Put”? Filing of due process hearing request or mediation RequestTakes effect immediatelyMere expression of disagreement with District proposal not sufficient
44Unilateral Parental Placements 34 C.F.R. §No obligation to continue special education or related services after unilateral parental placement
45Unilateral Parental Placements Open question whether services voluntarily provided to unilaterally placed student can be withdrawn at will after parents fileAt least one ALJ has found that “stay put” applies
46What If Parents Disagree But Don’t File? District proposal shall be implemented 15 days after written notice if no mediation or due process hearing request filed (except for initial services where affirmative consent required) N.J.A.C. 6A:14.2.3(h)
47What If Parents File After 15 Days? May file up to two years later, butThe placement implemented by the District after 15 days will generally be treated as the “stay put” placement
48What Contitutes the “Current Educational Placment”? Not defined in IDEA or state/federal regulationsDoes not mean identical placement or programSignificant effect on learning experience
49Examples Of Changes Found Not to Violate “Stay Put” W.R. v. Union Beach BOE (D.N.J. 2009)Change from 1-1 to small group resource setting (2 teachers/six students) for language arts literacy
50Examples Of Changes Found Not to Violate “Stay Put” In re Educational Assignment of Joseph R. (3d Cir. 2009)Relocation from resource room to inclusions classroom
51Examples Of Changes Found Not to Violate “Stay Put” D.K. v. District of Columbia (D.D.C. 2013)Change from one private school to anotherPrior school unable/unwilling to implement IEP
52Prior Placement Ceases to Exist Must provide comparable program matching the prior setting as closely as possibleFactors considered: type and level of service delivery, the degree of mainstream contact, the methodology and teaching approach, the staff-student ratio, the instructional and therapeutic expertise, the duration of direct and incidental teachingAgawam Public Schools111 LRP 66091(SEA Mass
53Prior Placement Ceases to Exist Where District can’t meet burden of showing comparabilityMay be exposed to reimbursement for unilateral placement by parents in the meanwhile
54Part C to Part BPart C (State): Birth to 3, Early Intervention and Individual Family Service Plans (IFSPs)From birth to three years of age Part B (District): years of age (unless graduation), IEP
55Part C to Part B34 C.F.R (c): “… the public agency is not required to provide the Part C services that the child had been receiving.” No “current educational placement,” 71 Fed. Reg. 46,709 (2006); Letter to Zahorchak, 48 IDELR 135 (OSEP 2007)
56Part C to Part BBut Pardini v. Allegheny Intermediate Unit (3d Cir. 2005), held that “stay put” applies to Part C services Conflict with 34 C.F.R (c), which took effect after Pardini?
57Turning 21/GraduationB.A.W. v. East Orange Bd. of Ed. (D.N.J. 2010): “Stay put” applies to forestall graduation until merits of case are decidedCourts nationwide split on “aging out” at 21 – no definitive decision in this jurisdiction
58Exception to “Stay Put” for 45-day IAES When an appeal under § has been made by either the parent or the LEA, the child must remain in the interim alternative educational setting pending the decision of the hearing officer or until the expiration of the time period specified in § (c) or (g), whichever occurs first, unless the parent and the SEA or LEA agree otherwise. 34 CFR
59M.R. and J.R. v. Ridley School District (3d Cir. 2014) How long does “stay put” remain in effect?Can District be required to reimburse for parents’ preferred “stay put” placement where court ultimately finds the District’s proposed program appropriate?
60Parents unilaterally place child in out-of-District placement and file for due process ALJ finds District’s program insufficient and awards reimbursement to parentsDistrict appeals to Federal District Court
61While case pending before Federal District Court, parents make no request for reimbursement under ALJ’s orderFederal District Court reverses ALJ, finding District’s program sufficient after allParents appeal to Federal Appeals Court
62Parents then seek reimbursement for the unilateral placement initially ordered by the ALJ, which they claimed became the “stay put” placement during the District’s appeal to the Federal District CourtFederal District Court agrees with parents, and District appeals to Federal Appeals Court
63Federal Appeals Court upholds the District Court’s finding that the District’s program was appropriate, butAlso finds that “stay put” required the District to pay for the unilateral placement from the time of the ALJ’s decision not only through the District Court’s decision, but until the Appeals Court’s decision as well!!!
64District seeking review by U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Curiae groups lining up on both sidesNASDSE and NSBA urging review
65Implications of Ridley Parents opposing a District change in placement can keep “stay put” in effect for years just by continuing to appeal, win or loseDistricts can be required to continue paying for placements years after they’ve been found to be unnecessary
67N.J.S.A. 18A:46-551. The State Board of Education shall promulgate regulations that incorporate the International Dyslexia Association’s definition of dyslexia into chapter 14 of Title 6A of the New Jersey Administrative Code.2. This act shall take effect immediately.
68N.J.S.A. 18A:6-130The Department of Education shall provide professional development opportunities related to reading disabilities, including dyslexia, to school district personnel.
69The professional development shall be made available to general education, special education, basic skills, and English as a second language teachers, instructional support staff, administrators, supervisors, child study team members, and speech-language specialists.
70The professional development opportunities shall be designed to account for the various manners in which different school district personnel interact with, or develop instructional programs for, students with reading disabilities.
71N.J.S.A. 18A:6-131The State Board of Education shall, as part of the professional development requirement established by the State board for public school teaching staff members, require certain teaching staff members to annually complete at least two hours of professional development instruction on the screening, intervention, accommodation, and use of technology for students with reading disabilities, including dyslexia.
72The professional development requirement established pursuant to this section shall apply to general education teachers employed in grades kindergarten through 3, special education, basic skills, and English as a second language teachers, reading specialists, learning disabilities teacher consultants, and speech-language specialists.
73A board of education may make the professional development opportunities available to other instructional or support staff as the board deems appropriate.
74Public Law 2013, Chapter 210 Effective January 17, 2014 First applicable to , butCommissioner to take any necessary steps to prepare beforehand
75Key ElementsDefines “Potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities” -- N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.1Commissioner to distribute information re: screening instruments for districts to select from, as well as guidance on intervention strategies – N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.2
76Districts must ensure screening for any student exhibiting “potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities” no later than end of first semester of second grade – N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.3(a)Provisions for new students first enrolling for in – N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.3(b)
77“Comprehensive assessment” required for any student with “potential indicators” Must provide “appropriate evidence-based intervention strategies including intense instruction on phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension” – N.J.S.A. 18A:40-5.4
79Amendments to N.J.A.C. 6A:14Published for comment in New Jersey Register (October 6, 2014)Reflect state/federal legal requirements
80N.J.A.C. 6A:14-1.3As required by P.L. 2013, c. 131, adopts the International Dyslexia Association’s definition of dyslexia as part of Chapter 14
81N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.3(a)(6)Requires that a one-time consent be obtained prior to accessing for the first time a child's or parent's public benefits or insurance, to conform to regulations recently issued by the United States Department of Education, 34 CFR § (d).
82N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.3(g)7iii and ivProcedural safeguards statement to be provided when a request for a complaint investigation is submitted to the Department and when a student is removed for disciplinary reasons and the removal constitutes a change in placement as described in N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.8, to align with the Federal requirements set forth at 34 CFR §
83N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.5(c)Adds “upon completion of an initial evaluation or reevaluation ” to make clear when an IEE may be requestedAdds language allowing a parent to obtain only one independent evaluation at public expense per initial evaluation or reevaluation
84N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.5(c)Requires parent to specify what assessment(s) is sought as part of the request for an independent evaluationDeletes the “first crack” language overruled by USDOE’s May 2012 memo
85N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5Aligns Code terminology with Rosa’s Law, which removed references to “mental retardation” from the IDEA and replaced it with “intellectual disabilities”E.g., replaces “cognitively impaired” and “cognitive impairment” with “intellectually disabled” and “intellectual disability”
86N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5Expands definition of “preschool child with a disability” to include a child with “an identified disabling condition, including vision or hearing, that adversely affects learning or development and who requires special education and related services”34 C.F.R. § 3008(b) and (b)
87N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.7(c)4Requires IEP teams to consider the consistency of the location of services when developing IEPsP.L. 2013, c.19, mandating consideration of consistency of the location, curriculum, and staffing for students who are prone to regression due to frequent changes in location
88N.J.A.C. 6A:14-4.7(a)(2)Changes class age range for elementary classes from three years to four years.Implements July 26, 2007 Council on Local Mandates decision finding change from four to three to be an illegal unfunded mandate
89Thank You! David B. Rubin, Esq. David B. Rubin, P.C. Metuchen, NJ