When Do I Respond to Parent’s
Request for FIE?
Parental Consent
 We cannot conduct an initial evaluation without first
obtaining informed parental consent. 34 CFR
300.300(a)(1); see also 34 CFR 300.9 (describing
informed consent)
 Must be completed within 60 days of receiving
parental consent, or within the timeframe
established by the State. 34 CFR 300.301(c)(1)
 In Texas, we like to do things our own way…
SB 816 –Timeline for Completion of Report of Initial
Special Education Evaluation (in Texas)
Summary: A written report of a full individual and initial
evaluation shall be completed not later than the 45th school day
following the date on which the school district receives written
consent for the evaluation, signed by the student’s parent or legal
guardian. See Tex. Educ. Code 29.004(a)(1)
Absence Exception: If child is absent 3+ days within the 45 day
window, then those days are added to the initial 45 day timeline.
See Tex. Educ. Code 29.004(a)(1)
The absence exception does not apply to students under 5 by Sept.
1 of the school year and not enrolled in public school and for
students enrolled in private or home school setting. See Tex.
Educ. Code 29.004(a)(2)
SB 816 – Continued
School Break Exceptions:
(1) If a school district receives written consent for a full individual and
initial evaluation of a student at least 35 but less than 45 school days
before the last day of instruction of the school year, the evaluation and
report must be completed and provided to the parent not later than
June 30. The student's ARD committee shall meet not later than the
15th school day of the following school year to consider the evaluation.
See Tex. Educ. Code 29.004(a-1)
(2) If written consent is received less than 35 school days before the last
day of instruction of the school year or if the student is absent from
school during that period on three or more days, the absence exception
applies to the date the written report of the full individual and initial
evaluation is required. See Tex. Educ. 29.004(a-1)
In other words, report must be completed within 45 school
days, or 45 school days plus the days absent, which means the report
will likely be completed in the beginning of the following school year.
SB 816 – Continued:
Response Required!
Response required: If a parent or legal guardian makes a written
request to the special education director or to a district
administrative employee for a full individual and initial evaluation,
the district must, not later than the 15th school day after receipt of the
 Provide the parent/guardian an opportunity to give written
consent for the evaluation; or
 Refuse to provide the evaluation and provide the parent/guardian
with notice of procedural safeguards
See Tex. Educ. 29.004(c)
What does this mean?
 Parent emails a request for an initial evaluation to
Director of Special Education or to an administrative
Timeline to respond triggered
 Parent emails a request to the assistant principal
who oversees discipline
Timeline to respond triggered
 Parent drops off a hand-written note requesting
evaluation to the school’s Assistant Superintendent
for Human Resources (they are close friends)
Timeline to respond triggered
You’re kidding me, right?
 Parent sends email to the student’s general
education teacher
Timeline probably not triggered. However, teacher must refer
the request to the appropriate administrator as soon as
possible. The real issue here is whether any delay to evaluate
will result in a violation of the IDEA as a result of what the
teacher and administrator do with the request.
 Parent comes in to assistant principal’s office after
lunch and drops off request for evaluation on a
cocktail napkin
Timeline probably triggered. But that seems rather tacky
doesn’t it?
Waiting for Mom to Come into Your Office
 Parent calls the Principal on the phone and asks for
an evaluation
Timeline probably not triggered at the moment based on a
strict reading of Tex. Educ. Code 29.004(c) (requiring “written
request”). But more important question, what does Principal
do with the oral request?
Don’t sit on it. Don’t wait for parent to come in. Document
the conversation and send to the appropriate special education
administrator for further action.
The Principal could operate as if the timeline to respond is
running and seek assistance from an appropriate special
education administrator right away to determine next steps.
So Where are We?
 We must give meaning to the statute. It specifies “written request” by
parent or legal guardian for a full individual and initial evaluation
 But wait! Remember what the parent is asking for – special education
services for her child.
 So taking a verbal request and reducing it to a writing you create is
reasonable. Treating that as if the timeline is triggered to give you a
deadline to respond is also reasonable.
 You may also invite the parent to come in right away and talk about it, and
she writes the request on your legal pad. If she does that, then you have a
“written request” and your clock actually starts at that point.
 The point behind this is to be careful not to unreasonably delay a response
to a parent’s request for an evaluation.
Final Thoughts
 Train your campus administrators
 Train all administrators – the statute essentially
provides that a written request to trigger the timeline
to respond is effective upon delivery of the request to
the Director of SE or “to a district administrative
employee.” Think of how many “administrative
employees” you have in your District.
 Last parting thought: training.
Eric G. Rodriguez
Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C.
100 N.E. Loop 410, Ste. 900
San Antonio, TX 78216
(210) 979-6633
[email protected]
The information in this handout was created by Walsh,
Anderson, Gallegos, Green & Treviño, P.C. It is intended
to be used for general information only and is not to be
considered specific legal advice. If specific legal advice
is sought, consult an attorney.

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