Special Education Due Process Hearings
A due process complaint requesting an impartial hearing can only be submitted by a parent or a school district on a matter relating to a proposal or a refusal to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of a student with a disability or a student suspected of having a disability, or the provision of a free appropriate public education for such student under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). An impartial hearing officer (IHO) must hear a due process complaint (if not resolved through a resolution meeting or through mediation) and issue a written decision. There are specified timeframes that must be followed concerning the filing of a due process complaint, the impartial hearing, and the rendering of the IHO's decision. Questions regarding the procedures involved in an impartial hearing may be directed to the Special Education Due Process Unit at (518) 473-0170 or to email@example.com.
News and Announcements
- Amendment of Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Relating to Special Education Due Process System Procedures – At their July 2022 meeting, the Board of Regents approved for permanent adoption the amendment of sections 200.5(j) and 200.21(a) and the addition of 200.5(o) to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to special education impartial hearing officers (IHOs) and the special education due process procedures. These regulations become permanently effective on July 27, 2022. Chapter 812 of the Laws of 2021 (Chapter 812) was enacted to address the timely resolution of due process complaints. Chapter 812, effective March 29, 2022, amended Education Law section 4404 to permit the immediate appointment of an IHO to due process complaints that had been on the waitlist for 196 days so that the IHO could issue an order based on a proposed order of relief submitted by the parent identifying appropriate and individualized programs and services for the student. The amendment to section 200.5(j)(3)(i)(a) permits the immediate appointment of an IHO to conduct an accelerated review of a due process complaint and section 200.5(o) establishes the process by which a parent may request an accelerated review and indicates the timelines and procedures for an IHO to issue an accelerated order of relief or finding. The amendment to section 200.21(a) establishes the compensation rate for IHOs that have been appointed to accelerated due process cases. An Accelerated Order of Relief Fact Sheet provides additional information regarding this regulatory amendment. Questions regarding the changes to the special education due process system procedures may be directed to the Special Education Due Process Unit at (518) 473-0170 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Virtual Training: The Impartial Hearing Reporting System (IHRS) – A Helpful How-To for School District StaffThe New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Special Education is hosting virtual trainings to provide information on the Impartial Hearing Reporting System (IHRS) and guidance to school districts for handling special education due process complaints. This training is specifically for school districts other than New York City. For more information on the topics covered and to pre-register to attend, please see the attached announcement.
- The Impartial Hearing Decision Memorandum provides information regarding the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED’s) expectations of New York City Impartial Hearing Officers (IHOs) specific to responsibilities and procedures for ensuring the accuracy of impartial hearing decisions, timely submission of impartial hearing decisions to the parties and the NYC IH Office, and accurate impartial hearing case closed dates in the Impartial Hearing Reporting System (IHRS).
- The Accelerated Order of Relief Fact Sheet provides information regarding amendments and additions to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to conform such with Chapter 812 of the Laws of 2021 (Chapter 812) amending Education Law Section 4404. Chapter 812 permits the immediate appointment of an impartial hearing officer (IHO) to due process complaints that have been on a waitlist for 196 days or more. Once appointed, IHOs may issue an order or finding based upon a proposed order of relief submitted by a parent identifying appropriate and individualized programs and services for the student. For additional information regarding this process, please see the attached fact sheet.
- Proposed Amendments to the Commissioners Regulations-Public Hearings – The Board of Regents has proposed amendments to the regulations specific to special education due process impartial hearing processes. Commissioner’s Regulations Proposed Amendment of Sections 200.2(e) and200.5(j) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Relating to Special Education Due Process System Proceduresaddress the rotational process for appointing due process complaints to an impartial hearing officer (IHO) and allow for New York City to appoint an IHO to more than one case at a time within the case assignment rotational process. Additionally, the proposed amendments specifically define “date of decision” as it applies to an IHO’s findings of fact and decisions and address how IHO’s must handle conflicts of interest.
- You are invited to provide comment on and/or participate in public hearings on these regulations. Comment regarding the proposed action may be submitted to Christopher Suriano, Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Special Education, Room 301M, Education Building, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234 (REGCOMMENTS@nysed.gov). The proposed regulations are out for public comment beginning March 30, 2022 through June 20, 2022 and will come back to the Board at their September meeting for permanent adoption.
- New York City Impartial Hearing System: Transition to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Memorandum of Agreement among the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, the New York City Department of Education, and the New York State Education Department provides information related to the transition of the administration of the New York City Department of Education special education impartial hearings system to the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.
Additional Information and Guidance
- Impartial Hearing Requirements and Procedures includes memorandums, advisories, and guidance documents issued by the New York State Education Department Office of Special Education relating to impartial due process hearings.
The Impartial Hearing Reporting System (IHRS) is a secure, web-based data collection system designed to record information about the impartial hearing process at critical points, beginning with the initial written request for a hearing and ending with the decisions rendered by the impartial hearing officer (IHO). IHRS is a "real time" system and is used to monitor New York State's due process system to ensure that impartial hearings are completed within the time periods required by federal and State law and regulation.
Final, written Impartial Hearing Decisions must be made available to the public, as well as the Commissioner's Advisory Panel for Special Education Services, in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA).