The big awards go to the lawyers who represent the school district in their hourly fees. Think about this: the district could spend $75 for speech therapist which would actually benefit a child OR they could $300-$400 per hour for a law firm to fight the parent who asks for the speech therapy.
Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost teaches its clients/school districts that if a parent asks for an Independent Educational Evaluation, then the school district MUST file for due process. Click here to read slide 25. This is CLEARLY A SELF SERVING STRATEGY. Why? Let’s do the math…
Let’s look at the cost of possible evaluations:
Neuropsychological Evaluation $2000-$5000
Evaluation by Autism Specialist $1000
Speech Evaluation $300-$500
Occupational Therapy Evaluation $ 300-500
Educational Evaluation $1500-$2500
Let’s look at legal costs to go to hearing to oppose the IEE:
$300-$400 per hour plus travel expenses
Meeting with clients to discuss the cases 4 hours ($1200) or ($1600)
Writing the brief/preparing paperwork 4 hours ($1200) or ($1600)
Attending pre-IEP meeting with school staff 2 hours ($600) or ($800)
Attending a IEP session with parents 3 hours ($900) or ($1200)
Attending a resolution session with parents 2 hours ($600) or ($800)
Attending a mediation session with parents 4 hours ($1200) or ($1600)
Consulting with judge to schedule hearing 2 hours ($600) or ($800)
Preparing evidence binder 8 hours ($2400) or ($3200)
Preparing witnesses 8 hours ($2400) or ($3200)
Prepping for opening statements 4 hours ($1200) or ($1600)
2 Days in hearing 16 ($4,800) or ($6400)
Preparing closing Brief 4 hours ($1200) or ($1600)
Phone calls with opposing council 4 hours ($1200) or ($1600)
If the hourly rate is a mere $300 per hour then the district will have spent only $24,000 to save the cost of an IEE that would have cost them at the very most $5000!!! Never mind the fact that the IEE might have given them additional information that could help the child education. Also, if the parents go ahead and get the IEE anyway, and find that the school evaluations missed a diagnosis resulting in an inappropriate education, the district would be in a worse position in court. But then that would be MORE hours for their legal firm.
Just for fun. If the hourly rate were $400 then the school would have spent $26,000 to save $5000!
So who is the big winner going to hearing over an IEE? Fagen, Friedman & Fulfrost!
What if the child wins? Then the school district can pay the legal fees for the child too! Let’s double the legal cost. Now the school administration will now pay $48,000 to $52,000 in legal fees PLUS the cost of the evaluation.
Think about this next time your school asks for a donation because they don’t have any “money”.