Issue for Decision (Consent Agenda)
Should the Board of Regents amend Part 279 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, to provide clarifications and updates to the procedures concerning appeals of impartial hearing officer determinations for students with disabilities to a State Review Officer?
Reason(s) for Consideration
Review of Policy.
The proposed amendment is submitted to the Full Board for adoption as a permanent rule at its September 2016 meeting. A copy of the proposed amendment is included as Attachment A. Procedural History The proposed amendments to Part 279 were initially discussed by the P-12 Education Committee at the January 2016 Regents meeting. In February 2016, comment was taken at public hearings, which were conducted in New York City, Albany, and Rochester, and a number of written public comments were received. An assessment of the public comments was presented to the P-12 Education Committee at the June 2016 Regents meeting. Based on the comments received, the Board of Regents adopted several revisions to the proposed amendments at its June meeting to alleviate several of the concerns that were identified in the public comment process.
- clarifying the scope of a State Review Officer's subject matter jurisdiction including the provision for a free appropriate public education to a student with a disability;
- withdrawing the proposed amendment that would have required parties to state any challenges to the impartiality of a State Review Officer in their respective pleadings;
- withdrawing the proposed amendment that would have permitted a school district to initiate an appeal by affixing the request for review to the door of a parent's residence and mailing a duplicate copy to the parent;
- revising the proposed time to answer a cross-appeal to be consistent with the time to answer the request for review; withdrawing a new proposal to require the filing of electronic copies of pleadings and memoranda; and
- withdrawing the proposal that the filing of a pleading would be complete upon receipt by the Office of State Review (which would diminish the amount of time that a party has to transmit the pleading) and reverting to the previous standard that a filing is deemed complete upon the party's transmission of the document to the Office of State Review.
Following the 30-day public comment period required under the State Administrative Procedure Act, the Department received one comment. The Department does not believe any further revisions to regulation are needed.