Update: This article was published July 2020. It is being updated to include an email indicating Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has long known that its price cap for Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) is below market price. FCPS’s low rate limits parents to 1) using private providers who accept FCPS’s low IEE rate or 2) paying the difference out of pocket for providers who don’t accept FCPS’s low rate. The email was obtained via a FOIA request for documents FCPS provided the Office of Civil Rights.
This FOIA request was done in 2018 and was submitted to Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia.
The response includes 528 pages, including how FCPS set its “rates” and letters to providers asking if they’ll accept FCPS rates.
To my knowledge, as of today (July 11, 2022), FCPS’s rates remain unchanged, even though FCPS knows their rates don’t align with those of private providers.
The email below was obtained July of 2022 via a FOIA request and added July 12, 2022, to this article. FCPS admits its IEE price rates are below market rate.
What can be done about it? Do I just keep writing the damn superintendent?
Thank you for your comment. Given FCPS has a new Superintendent, one wonders if she’s even aware of all the issues – to include FCPS’s low IEE rates.
Thank you for providing the update. Are there any concerns with the way this is set up as the second opinion evaluator 1) must be approved by FCPS Due Process, 2) accept below market rates, 3) meet privately with FCPS Due Process without families before an IEE, 3) give FCPS Due Process the IEE without giving report to the parent at the same time, and 4) FCPS pays the evaluator? Perhaps there are ways to enhance the independence of the IEEs and families seeking an independent second opinion. Possibilities would be for the IEE evaluator to meet together with FCPS and families before the evaluation, review the tests and concerns together and give the report to FCPS Due Process and families at the same time. In lieu of this, parents would have to pay for an independent evaluation themselves and not every family has the resources for that.
Katy, Thank you for your comment. IEE’s were identified within USDOE OSEP’s DMS report on Virginia. However, USDOE OSEP stuck to one portion of IEEs and did not focus on other areas that have historically been problems for parents seeking IEEs, such as paying for a comprehensive IEE.
In addition, there is the issue of LEAs approving IEEs, accepting the IEEs and paying for them – and then IEP teams refusing to include IEE data within IEPs (especially if the data contradicts the LEAs data).
Perhaps USDOE OSEP will identify the additional problems with IEEs if more parents make it aware of the many additional issues.