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Important Timelines Regarding Assessments, IEPs, and Student Records

October 7, 2016

Important Timelines Regarding Assessments, IEPs, and Student Records

Parents often ask how long school districts have to complete assessments, hold IEP meetings, and provide student records. Here are a few applicable California Education Code sections and rules under the IDEA which spell out the legal timelines.

ASSESSMENTS

Assessment Plans

Districts have 15 days to provide parents with an Assessment Plan after an initial referral for special education.

Assessments/Evaluations

Districts have 60 days to complete an evaluation of a student from the date they receive the signed assessment plan.

IEP MEETINGS

Initial IEP Meetings

Once an assessment plan is provided to parents, signed and returned to a district, the district has 60 days to complete the proposed assessments and hold an IEP meeting to discuss and review the assessments. Districts must fully develop a student's IEP within 30 days of determining a student qualifies for special education.

District-Noticed IEP Meetings

The California Education Code does not specifically state that a district must provide a certain number of days' notice to parents prior to setting an IEP meeting. However, they must provide parents with "enough notice to ensure an opportunity to attend the IEP meeting." Relevant case law indicates that districts must schedule and reschedule an IEP meeting to accommodate parents' schedules unless the parents affirmatively state that they do not ever plan to attend.

Parent-Noticed IEP Meetings

Districts have 30 days to hold an IEP meeting when parents request one. Even if parents request an "emergency IEP" meeting, districts are not currently obligated to hold one any sooner than 30 days.

Manifestation Determination IEP Meetings

When a student with an IEP is disciplined for any purpose and is removed from their current placement, districts must hold a "Manifestation Determination" IEP meeting within 10 school days. Districts must provide parents with notice of change of placement along with a copy of parent rights and procedural safeguards.

STUDENT RECORDS

General Request for Student Records

School districts have five (5) business days to make a student's educational records available to parents, after parents have requested the records either orally or in writing.

Request for Records Prior to an IEP Meeting or Due Process Hearing

The district must comply with a request for school records without unnecessary delay before any meeting regarding an individualized education program or any hearing or resolution session and in no case more than five (5) business days after the request is made orally or in writing. The parent shall have the right to a response from the public agency to reasonable requests for explanations and interpretations of the records. If a school record includes information on more than one pupil, the parents of those pupils have the right to inspect and review only the information relating to their child or to be informed of that specific information. A public agency shall provide a parent, on request of the parent, a list of the types and locations of school records collected, maintained, or used by the agency.

A public agency may charge no more than the actual cost of reproducing the records, but if this cost effectively prevents the parent from exercising the right to receive the copy or copies, the copy or copies shall be reproduced at no cost.

-Elizabeth Curtis, Esq.

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