A parent of a child with a disability or suspected disability has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the school district.
“Independent educational evaluation” means an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the school district responsible for the education of the child.
“Public expense” means that the school district either pays for the full cost of the evaluation or ensures that the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parent.
If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the school district must provide information to parents about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained, and the school district criteria applicable for independent educational evaluations.
If an independent educational evaluation is at public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation, the qualifications of the examiner, and cost, must be the same as the criteria the school district uses when it initiates an evaluation, to the extent those criteria are consistent with the parent’s right to an independent educational evaluation.
Except for the criteria in subsection (3), a school district may not impose conditions, or timelines related to obtaining an independent education evaluation at public expense.
The school district must provide parents an opportunity to demonstrate that unique circumstances justify an independent education evaluation that does not meet the district’s criteria.
If a parent requests an independent education evaluation at public expense, the school district must, without unnecessary delay, either:
Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense unless the school district demonstrates in a hearing under OAR 581-015-2345 (Hearing Request and Response) that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet school district criteria in accordance with (3); or
If the school district initiates a hearing and the final decision is that the school district’s evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense.
If the parent requests an independent educational evaluation, the school district may ask why the parent disagrees with the public evaluation. The parent may, but is not required, to provide an explanation. The school district may not unreasonably delay either providing the independent education evaluation at public expense or initiating a due process hearing to defend the public evaluation.
If the parent obtains an independent educational evaluation at public expense or shares with the district an evaluation obtained at private expense, the results of the evaluation:
Must be considered by the school district, if it meets the district’s criteria, in any decision made with respect to the provision of a free appropriate public education to the child; and
May be presented by any party as evidence at a due process hearing.
If a hearing officer requests an independent educational evaluation as part of a hearing, the cost of the evaluation must be at public expense.
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.