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What happens after I ask the school to pay for an independent evaluation?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute & Justice Center of Southeastern Massachusetts
Created February, 2022

The school must pay for the evaluation if :

  • You are asking for an evaluation that the school has done in the last 16 months.
  • You have a low-income, your income is at 400% or below of the federal poverty guidelines.
    • You get free or reduced lunch, or
    • You shared your income information with the District.
  • The evaluator you are requesting accepts the rate that school districts pay for evaluations.

If the above requirements don’t apply, the school may still have to pay for the independent evaluation.   The school must tell you within 5 school days if they will pay for it.

If they refuse to pay for the independent evaluation, they must request a hearing at the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (“BSEA’) and explain why they will not pay for it. The school must show the BSEA that their evaluation was “comprehensive and appropriate.” 

If the school does not file a complaint within 5 days

They must pay for the evaluation.

If the school files a request for hearing with the BSEA

You will go to a hearing at the BSEA, unless you and the school work out an agreement.


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