Stop School Districts from Undermining the Right to an Independent Educational Evaluation and Observation
Amend Section 10-76d-9 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, as follows:

Amend subsection (a) to read as follows: (a) Evaluation; Independent Educational Evaluations. The board of education shall conduct an initial evaluation or reevaluation, in accordance with the provisions of the IDEA, to determine if a child is a child with a disability. A parent shall be permitted to obtain an independent educational evaluation, in accordance with subsection (d) and with the provisions of the IDEA.

Add a new subsection (d) to read as follows: (d) Independent Educational Evaluation. (1) No board of education shall impose criteria for an independent educational evaluation that: (a) requires an independent evaluator to hold any current certification from the State Department of Education; (b) restricts to an area smaller than the State of Connecticut and adjoining counties in neighboring states the geographic area in which the evaluator is located; (c) sets a fee cap at a level lower than what is reasonable and customary for such evaluations; (d) requires the independent evaluator to carry liability insurance; (e) requires the independent evaluator to complete the evaluation within a certain timeframe; or (f) requires the independent evaluator to provide results to the board of education prior to providing such results to the parents. (2) A parent or guardian may provide notice of a request for an independent evaluation or request for reimbursement of an independent evaluation either by written notice to the board of education or at a PPT meeting. If the board of education seeks to assert that its own evaluation is appropriate, the board of education shall file for due process within fourteen (14) calendar days of such notice. Failure to file in a timely manner shall act as a waiver of the district’s right to challenge the parent’s right to an independent educational evaluation. (3) A parent or guardian may provide notice of the identity of the evaluator and the cost of such evaluation either by written notice to the board of education or at a PPT meeting. If the board of education seeks to contest its liability to fund the evaluation because of failure to meet criteria, the board of education shall file for due process within fourteen (14) calendar days of such notice. Failure to file in a timely manner shall act as a waiver of the district’s right to challenge the parent’s right to payment for an independent educational evaluation. (4) If the selection of an independent evaluator does not meet the board of education's criteria the parents will have an opportunity to demonstrate the unique circumstances that justify the selection.

Add a new subsection (e) to read as follows:(e) Observations. Parents and guardians have the right to observe their children in their classes and other activities at school and have the right to send evaluators or treating therapists to observe their children in their classes or other activities at school, subject to the following restrictions: (1) A child may be observed for up to twenty hours in any school year unless the PPT recommends additional observation based on the unique needs of the child and the parent's needs to fully participate in the development of the IEP. Observation time applies cumulatively to the parents and any evaluators or therapists sent in by the parents of guardians. No board of education may limit the total number of hours of observation in a single day. Time spent as a classroom volunteer or attending school events is not considered observation. (2) Parents and guardians may be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement as to other children they observe. (3) If a board has an observation policy it will be equally applied to parents and guardians regardless of a child's eligibility for special education and related services.

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