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This is the latest topic as a very important OAH case was recently decided. In that case the district was found to pre-determine placement for a student at an NPS that the IEP team did not agree was appropriate.

Predetermination occurs when an educational agency has decided on its offer prior to the meeting and is unwilling to consider other alternatives. (Deal v. Hamilton County Board of Education, supra, 392 F.3d 840, 857-858).

I have been in meetings in which I felt the educational team came to the meeting already determining the placement and have questioned this, especially with regard to a specific NPS. I’ve been told that the district only has to offer NPS, but not specify which one and this recent caselaw indicates that is not entirely correct. Same is true when discussing SAI services. The district needs to identify what type of program (resource or learning center, for example) is being offered.

This vast difference between types of programs on the continuum of services (including nonpublic schools) is precisely why the entire IEP team, not just the district representative, must be allowed meaningful input into the determination of which specific placement is appropriate for a child, depending on the child’s disabilities. And, parents must be given an opportunity to participate in that decision. If you have any questions about pre-determination (not just in the case of NPS) please reach out. There are some gray areas (DRAFT IEP’s sent before the meeting) …. and each case is unique. Aloha.