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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
March 11, 2021

Dear County and District Superintendents, Special Education Local Plan Area Directors, Special Education Administrators at County Offices of Education, Charter School Administrators, Principals, and Nonpublic School Directors:

Independent Educational Evaluations

The purpose of this notice is to outline certain requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act pertaining to independent educational evaluations (IEE). A parent of a student with a disability has the right to obtain an IEE of the student at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency, subject to the requirements of 34 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 300.502.

Pursuant to 34 CFR § 300.502(b)(2), if a parent requests an IEE at public expense, the local educational agency (LEA) must, without unnecessary delay, either:

  • File a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or

  • Ensure that an IEE is provided at public expense, unless the LEA demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to 34 CFR § 300.507 through 300.513 that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria.

If an IEE 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 LEA uses when it initiates an evaluation, to the extent those criteria are consistent with the parent's right to an IEE (34 CFR § 300.502 (e)(1)). LEAs may not impose other conditions or timelines that are inconsistent with the LEA’s criteria used to initiate its own evaluations and/or would deny the student’s and parent’s right to obtain an IEE at public expense. (34 CFR § 300.502 (e)(2)). LEAs should review current policies and practice related to IEEs to ensure compliance with the requirements of 34 CFR § 300.502.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact the Special Education Division by email at or the appropriate Focused Monitoring and Technical Assistance (FMTA) Consultant using the contact information provided on the California Department of Education FMTA Consultant Assignments by Region web page at  


Heather Calomese, Director
Special Education Division
Opportunities for All Branch                                                                                             


Last Reviewed: Friday, September 16, 2022

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