January 28, 2022, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) issued a Letter of Findings (LOF) in which it ruled Loudon County Public Schools (LCPS) “to be in noncompliance with regard to cost containment criteria, submission or reports, and pre-evaluation discussions,” related to Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE).
In a surprising move from a state agency averse to investigating complaints at a systemic level, VDOE ordered LCPS to “reimburse parents who have paid out of pocket for IEEs due to the unreasonable cost containment criteria,” which means the Corrective Action Plan (CAP) encompasses parents who were not included in the initial complaint.
The full Corrective Action Plan issued by VDOE states the following:
- Review its cost containment criteria and align its funding limits with the market rate. Review this criteria annually and submit a copy of the criteria to the VDOE for the following school years: 2021/2022, 2022/2023, and 2023/2024.
- Establish a process to reimburse parents who have paid out of pocket for IEEs due to the unreasonable cost containment criteria.
- Review and revise its IEE policies/procedures/guidelines prohibiting IEE providers from providing IEE reports directly to parents.
- Review and revise its IEE policies/procedures/guidelines requiring pre-evaluation discussions.
- VDOE will review policy changes for approval.
o Upon VDOE’s approval of updated changes. LCPS shall provide training on the IEE information to all school division staff and administrators who may respond to request for an IEE.
- Please maintain documentation of the actions taken as required in this Corrective Action Plan (CAP), including the documentation referenced in the CAP, as this information may be requested during our CAP implementation follow-up process on a later date.
LCPS has until February 28, 2022, to submit its corrective action to VDOE’s office.
The complaints forming this systemic complaint were filed by Virginia lawyers Melissa K. Waugh (Belkowitz Law, PLLC) and Joan H. Proper (The Law Office of Joan H. Proper, PC).
Please join me in thanking them for their advocacy and hard work. LCPS is not alone in its noncompliance regarding IEEs and the only way to change the system is to advocate for change and hold both state education and local education agencies accountable.
(Related reading: “Fairfax County Public Schools Failed to Comply with Federal Regulations; Continued to Deny IEEs“, “Virginia Regulation Restricts Parent’s IEE Rights“, “Virginia Department of Education Allows Noncompliance to Continue“, “Independent Educational Evaluation: VDOE Rules FCPS in Noncompliance; Follows OSEP Monitoring Report“, “Advocacy Alert: FCPS Won’t Implement Corrective Actions Required in U.S. Dept of Ed Monitoring Report“, and “Independent Educational Evaluations“)
Click on the image below to read VDOE’s January 28, 2022, LOF in full.
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