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Referral Process

Committee on Special Education (CSE)

In accordance with New York Education Law Section 4402 and Part 200.2, 200.4 and 200.5 of the Commissioner’s Regulations, the Committee on Special Education (CSE) is responsible for evaluating all school-age students suspected of having a disability, identifying a disability or determining that no disability exists, and recommending placement and type of special education programs and/or services within sixty (60) days of the date of receipt of consent for evaluation. Referrals can be made at any time during the year.

A student suspected of having a disability shall be referred in writing to the Chairperson of the Committee on Special Education or to the building administrator of the school which the student attends or is eligible to attend for an individual evaluation and determination of eligibility for special education programs or services. The school district must initiate a referral and promptly request parental consent to evaluate the student to determine if the student needs special education services and programs if a student has not made adequate progress after an appropriate period of time when provided instruction within a multi-tiered problem-solving approach that utilizes systematically applied strategies and targeted instruction. A referral may be made by a:

  • student's parent/guardian including an individual who is acting in the place of a birth or adoptive parent such as a grandparent, stepparent or other
  • relative with whom the child resides;
  • a designee of the school district in which the student resides;
  • the commissioner; and/or
  • a designee of an education program affiliated with a childcare institution with

Committee on Special Education responsibility.

A written request that the school district or agency refer the student for an initial evaluation may be made by a:

  • professional staff member of the school district in which the student resides or the public or private school the student legally attends;
  • licensed physician;
  • judicial officer;
  • professional staff member of a public agency with responsibility for the welfare, health or education of children; or
  • student who is 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor, who is 
  • eligible to attend the public schools of the district.

All new entrants to the district are screened at the time of enrollment and such screening, if it indicates a possible disability, can lead to a CSE referral. The referral must be written and dated.

Except for written requests for referrals submitted by the student and referrals by parents/guardians or judicial officers, the referral must state the reasons for the referral and include any test results, records or reports upon which the referral is based. It must also describe, in writing, efforts made by the school and parents/guardians to resolve the difficulties leading to referral or to meet the needs of the student in the general classroom setting, including intervention services, programs or instructional methodologies used to remediate the student’s performance prior to the referral. It must also describe the extent of parental contact or involvement prior to the referral. If a referral is received by the building administrator, it must be forwarded to the CSE Chairperson immediately and vice-versa. 

Within 10 school days of receiving a written request for referral for an initial evaluation, the school district will notify the parents/guardians that a referral for an evaluation has been received and either request consent to initiate the evaluation or provide them with a copy of the request for referral. The district will inform the parents/guardians of their right to refer the student for an initial evaluation and offer an opportunity to meet to discuss the request for referral. As appropriate, the availability of general education support services for the student will be discussed with the building administrator or other designee of the school district authorized to make a referral; the professional staff member of the school district making the request for referral; and, upon request of the parents/guardians or school district, any other person making the referral.

A professional staff member of the school district who made a request for referral that results in a parent referral for special education must attend any meeting requested by a building administrator to determine whether the student would benefit from additional general education support services as an alternative to special education and will receive a copy of any agreement to withdraw the referral.

The parents/guardians will be provided with information regarding the evaluation, the procedural safeguards notice that includes a listing of free or low-cost legal and other relevant services in the area, sources to obtain assistance in understanding the referral and evaluation process, and a copy of A Parent’s Guide to Special Education. 

An electronic copy of these documents can be obtained under the “What is Special Education” section and click on the Publications and Guidance link.Parent's Guide to Special Education in NYS for children ages 3-21