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What is the resolution phase during due process hearings under IDEA?

What is the resolution phase for due process hearings under IDEA?
What is the resolution phase for due process hearings under IDEA?
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The federal regulations for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes many provisions to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability while also giving families and school systems means by which to resolve disputes. These rights are known as procedural safeguards. Parents have specific rights under this law to due process hearing requests for reaching resolution under 34 CFR &300.510.

Within fifteen (15) calendar days of receiving notice of your due process hearing request and before the hearing process begins, the school district is required to convene a meeting with you and relevant member or members of the IEP team who have specific knowledge of the facts identified in your due process hearing request. This meeting must include a representative of the school district who has decision-making authority on behalf of the school district. This meeting may not include an attorney for the school district unless you, the parent are accompanied by an attorney. You and the school district must determine the relevant members of the IEP team to attend this meeting. The purpose of this meeting is for you, the parent to discuss your due process hearing request, and the facts that form the basis of this request, so the school district has the opportunity to resolve the dispute. The resolution meeting is not necessary is you and the school district agree in writing to waive the meeting or if you and the school district agree to use the mediation process.

If the school district has not resolved the due process hearing request to your satisfaction within thirty (30) calendar days from the receipt of the due process hearing request (also the time frame for resolution) then the due process hearing may occur.

The 45-calendar-day timeline for issuing a final decision begins at the expiration of the 30-calendarday resolution period, with certain exceptions for adjustments made to the 30-calendar-day resolution period, as described below.
1. Except where you and the school district have both agreed to waive the resolution process or to use mediation, your failure to participate in the resolution meeting will delay the timelines for the resolution process and due process hearing until you agree to participate in a meeting.
2. If after making reasonable efforts, and documenting such efforts, the school district is not able to obtain your participation in the resolution meeting, the school district may, at the end of the 30-calendar-day resolution period, request that the administrative law judge (ALJ) also known as an impartial hearing officer dismiss your due process hearing request. Documentation of such efforts must include a record of the school district’s attempts to arrange a mutually agreed upon time and place, such as: detailed records of telephone calls made or attempted and the results of those calls; copies of correspondence sent to you and any responses received; and detailed records of visits made to your home or place of employment and the results of those visits.

If the school district fails to hold the resolution meeting within 15 calendar days of receiving notice of your due process hearing request or fails to participate in the resolution meeting, you may ask the administrative law judge (ALJ) to order that the 45-calendar-day due process hearing timeline begin.

Adjustments to the 30-calendar-day resolution period include:
• If you and the school district agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting, then the 45-calendarday timeline for the due process hearing starts the next day.
• After the start of mediation or the resolution meeting and before the end of the 30-calendar-day resolution period, if you and the school district agree in writing that no agreement is possible, then the 45-calendarday timeline for the due process hearing starts the next day.
• If you and the school district agree to use the mediation process, at the end of the 30-calendar-day resolution period, both parties can agree in writing to continue the mediation until an agreement is reached. However, if either you or the school district withdraws from the mediation process, then the 45calendar-day timeline for the due process hearing starts the next day.

Written settlement agreement
If a resolution to the dispute is reached at the resolution meeting, you and the school district must enter into a legally binding agreement that is:
1. Signed by you and a representative of the school district who has the authority to bind the school district; and
2. Enforceable in any State court of competent jurisdiction (a State court that has authority to hear this type of case) or in a district court of the United States or by the Department of Education.

Agreement review period
If you and the school district enter into an agreement as a result of a resolution meeting, either party (you or the school district) may void the agreement within three business days of the time that both you and the school district signed the agreement.