How to Obtain an IEE Evaluation in California

What is an IEE Evaluation and how can you prepare for one? Brian R. Sciacca can provide information and advice regarding this matter and more. Call us today!

What Is an IEE Evaluation?


IEE is an acronym for ‘Independent Education Evaluation.’ It is the evaluation of a (special education needs) student by a qualified professional not employed by the child’s public school district.

This evaluation is helpful when more details are needed to decide a child’s educational needs and the appropriate learning strategies for them. It may also help to determine whether a child is entitled to compensatory education.

The independent educational evaluation process could involve several kinds of assessments, including neuropsychological evaluations, sensory and speech assessments, or anything else that could contribute to cognitive and academic challenges for the child.

As a concerned parent, there are several reasons why you might consider seeking an IEE for your child. Perhaps, you disagree with the special education evaluation conducted by your child’s school district, or the school district has denied your child’s eligibility for special education programs based on a botched school district-organized evaluation. In such cases, an IEE report can support your demands for your child’s special education.

So, if you’re dealing with any of the above or similar scenarios, it is crucial to arm yourself with the correct information. Continue reading to learn more about getting an IEE in California and how a special education lawyer can help you. 

When to Seek an IEE


An IEE may be necessary if the parent disagrees with the school’s evaluation of their child. This could be because:

  • The evaluation process was done using outdated methods
  • The qualifications of the assessor are doubtful
  • The evaluator did not cover all the necessary areas during the process, which led to incorrect results.

This list is not exhaustive, so you can seek an IEE if you’re uncomfortable with the results of the evaluation organized by the school district, especially when the school denies your child access to the necessary special education programs on that basis. It’s like seeking a second opinion from a different doctor if you’re unsure of a medical diagnosis.


Who Pays for an IEE?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the subsidiary federal regulations give parents the right to request an educational evaluation at public expense when they disagree with the previous evaluation obtained. Public expense means the school district will pay for the amount charged by an evaluator of your choice.

However, you’ll need to notify the school before taking any steps. Otherwise, they may not be liable to make any payments. So, unless you wish to pay for the IEE on your own, you should ensure that the school is aware of your IEE intentions.

How to Request Independent Educational Evaluations From California School Districts


The steps to follow to get an IEE at public expense are summarized below.


1. Send a Written Request for an IEE to the School District

The first step is writing to your child’s special case manager or the special education director for your child’s school district. In the letter, state that you disagree with the district’s previous evaluation and request an educational evaluation at the public expense.

Note that the law doesn’t state that IEE requests should be in writing, but writing a letter to the school district is essential as it serves as evidence of notification.

Upon receipt of your evaluation request for your child, the school can pay for the IEE or approach the court for a due process hearing to prove that they conducted their evaluations appropriately. In most cases, the district opts to pay for the IEE as that is cheaper than going to court.

2. Wait for a Response

After you’ve sent a request to the school district, the school needs to respond within a reasonable time.

If the school district agrees to pay for the IEE, you can proceed to choose your evaluator from a list of approved professionals provided by the school district.

However, if the school files for due process, you’ll need to attend the hearing and explain to the judge why you’re not satisfied with the school district’s evaluation and why an IEE is necessary.

If the school district fails to respond, it is a violation of the law. If that is the case, you can contact the California Department of Education with the help of a special education lawyer. Alternatively, you could write them a second letter, informing them that they have violated the law and your rights by their inaction.

Additionally, you might inform them that you will take their lack of response as an agreement to proceed with the IEE, after which you can either pay for the IEE and seek reimbursement later or send the independent evaluator’s bill directly to them. However, ensure that your evaluator meets the school district’s criteria for qualifications, guidelines, and costs.

How a Special Education Attorney Can Help


The first step to getting the appropriate educational help for your special needs child is a proper evaluation. When you find that the school district or public agency is standing in the way of your child’s well-being, you may need to work with an attorney whose practice areas involve special education and who will fight to ensure that your child gets the help they need.

Your attorney can represent you in any dispute that might occur during the evaluation process. They can also prepare and file a due process complaint notice on your behalf and represent you during due process hearings.

By hiring an attorney to help with the IEE process, you get a formidable ally who knows the relevant laws and would not be easily intimidated by the district or school authorities. So, if you’re having trouble getting IEE approval for your child, consider briefing an attorney who would lift the weight off you.

If you have further questions on IEEs that are not covered here or need help with any special education process in California, contact Brian R. Sciacca, Attorney at Law. We can help you clarify your position under the special education laws, evaluate your options and represent you in your negotiations with the school district or in court. Contact us via our website to set up a free consultation and get started getting educational help for your child.