Predetermination at IEPs is a frequent charge against school district but often very hard to prove. In the recent case out of Arizona, Deer Valley Unified School District, 111 LRP 71612 (November 1, 2011) case the school district informed the parents in writing what the placement would be, but the team was prepared to hear the parents' position as to why the placement was wrong, and in that way the parents were allowed to "participate" and in the school's view they had not predetermined the placement. The ALJ wryly rejected this argument stating:
"One wonders what Respondent School District would think if, at the beginning of a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge announced that he has reviewed the exhibits and made a decision for the parent, but will keep an open mind and reconsider his decision upon presentation of further evidence at the hearing."
While most school district's are not so brazen as to publish their predetermination, it does happen on occasion, and parents should be on the look out for such statements that are clearly indicative of predetermination. In most cases more inferential arguments on the issue of predetermination are not likely to succeed.