IEP Termination: EXPECT THE SCHOOL WILL CHANGE ELIGIBILITY

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PGH:  My son’s IEP eligibility was approved sophomore year to carry him through his remaining two years of HS. In the past, his IEP’s were reviewed and modified every year, but “requalified” on the third year. This entailed testing and the works.

I hired an advocate to assist in navigating the last requalification as we knew we were in for a tough fight. However, in setting the IEP objectives for the first year we did a poor job in having a high enough bar or enough measures specified. We were so focused on the task at hand that we took our eye off the future.

I do not have notice, but I expect the school to say he is no longer qualified during our annual review next week. This is unilateral and not based on testing or comprehensive evaluation.

I would appreciate any suggested strategies. Going back to the same professional advocate is not acceptable.

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PGH –

If the school does NOT propose to find your son ineligible, but does propose a new IEP with similarly bad goals – know that you can propose that they write new goals, or suggest some of your own. “Writing Measurable IEP Goals and Objectives” is a great resource for this (http://www.wrightslaw.com/store/bb.iep.html).

If the school does propose to find your son ineligible – know that IDEA requires that the school evaluate a student before finding him ineligible [see § 300.305(e)]. So you can ask that they reevaluate him before finding him ineligible. And if they refuse, you can consider filing a state complaint.

If they do reevaluate him, then find him ineligible – know you can disagree with them. From here, you have a few options. You can request to use a dispute resolution process, such as mediation or a due process hearing. If you request a hearing, your son will be entitled to “stay put” – meaning that he will be able to retain his IEP until the issue is resolved. In some states, your son has this right during the dispute no matter how you resolve the dispute. For students who are close to graduation/aging out, a requesting a hearing can be a calculated way to run out the clock on the IEP. Unfortunately, with stay put, you get the last agreed upon IEP as is – bad goals and everything.

Another option is to request an independent evaluation at public expense, if you disagree with their evaluation (presumably you would, if they use it to find your son ineligible). The independent evaluation results may convince the school to reverse their proposal. At the very least, it can be evidence in a hearing if you choose to request one.

I encourage you to contact your parent center (http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/). They can help you better understand your options, and the impact of requesting different dispute resolution options.