To:Interested Parties

From:Special Education Appeals

Date:October 2006

 

This memorandum is intended to summarize Bureau of Special Education Appeals data for fiscal year 2006 (covering the period July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006). Although clearly important, it should be noted that numbers alone cannot fully reflect the day-to-day work of the Bureau.

Rejected Individualized Education Plans

During FY06, the Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) received 5,475 rejected IEPs, a decrease of 534 over the past year. Upon receipt of a rejected IEP, a packet of information describing options for dispute resolution offered within the BSEA is sent to the parent or legal guardian.

Mediation

There were approximately 773 mediations concerning special education and Section 504 issues conducted by 8 BSEA mediators (representing 7 full-time positions) during FY06, a 15% increase over the prior year. Approximately 83% of the mediations resulted in written agreements.

Hearings

There were 568 hearing requests received by the BSEA this past fiscal year, a decrease of 200 over the prior year. The 8 full-time BSEA hearing officers conducted full hearings resulting in 34 decisions. The remaining cases were either resolved prior to proceeding through the formal hearing process or subsequent to the onset of the hearing.

In addition, at least 17 extensive substantive written rulings were issued.

Representation and Prevailing Party

Of the 34 decisions noted above, parents prevailed in 9 (approximately 26 ½ %), schools in 16 (approximately 47%), while 9 decisions (approximately 26 ½ %) involved mixed relief, relief against another state agency, or a dispute between two or more school districts.

Data with respect to outcome in relation to representation is as follows. When both parties were represented by counsel, parents prevailed in 6 hearings and school prevailed in 5. When parents were pro se (not represented) and an attorney represented the school, parents prevailed in 2 cases and school prevailed in 9. When parents utilized an advocate and the school was represented by an attorney, parents prevailed in 1case and the school prevailed in 1 case. In the 1 case in which the school was pro se, parent was also pro se and the school prevailed.