What to Do When the School Wants to Remove IEP Services

Updated: Jul 7

By Cheryl Maguire

Editor’s Note: Laws may vary according to the state you live in. Check with your local advocacy or parent information center for the most updated information.

Jennifer’s (name changed for privacy) son was on an IEP (Individual Education Program) for seven years due to a diagnosis of ADHD and an LD (learning disability) in writing and reading. During her son’s most recent team meeting, the school personnel stated they would like to remove his services since he was doing well in school. Jennifer felt that if the services were removed that her son would not continue to receive good grades.

According to the National Center for Statistics, the number of students receiving special education services has increased, from 6.4 million to 7.0 million between 2011–12 and 2017–18. The National Educational Association states that nationwide, the current average per-student cost in public schools is $7,552, and the average cost per special education student is an extra $9,369 per student. That is an average cost of $16,921 per special education student. This additional cost might be a reason school personal would want to remove services for students who are receiving high grades.

“If a child is improving and meeting goals, that does not mean declassification is the answer. In my practice, 99% of the time a child’s performance improves due to the IEP services. Removing the services could lead to regression,” says Dr. Kimberly Williams, a Pediatric Neuropsychologist and Clinical Psychologist with offices in Long Island and Brooklyn, New York.

When the school recommends removing your child’s IEP services, you can do the following:

Enable Your Right to Stay Put

“Many parents don’t realize that if a school tries to remove IEP services, they can enact their legal right to ‘stay-put,’ which means the services must stay in place,” said Nancy Gardner, Co-Chair of East Bridgewater SEPAC.

Under the law, parents are a member of the special education team even though it may not feel that way at times. You can submit a letter requesting that the services “stay put,” which means that the IEP cannot be removed.

Get Documents Time Stamped

Any letters such as a “stay put letter” that you submit need to be time-stamped to prove that the school received it. If your case moves to mediation or due process, then you will need documentation to prove your case. If it isn’t time-stamped, then school personal can state they never received it.

Request Meeting Notes