Can Districts Still Find Resolution After a Due Process Hearing Has Been Requested?

School districts and parents across Texas are regularly working together to ensure that the needs of students are met and that the district is providing a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Every child is unique; likewise, every Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is just as distinct. When a disagreement arises and disputes occur, the district and parents have the ability to go through various dispute resolution processes. The Texas Education Agency encourages and supports the resolution of any dispute that arises between the parent and a school district relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of or the provision of a FAPE to a student.

Several options exist for resolving disputes at any level or stage. Some of those options include but are not limited to: ARD meetings; meetings or conferences with the student’s teacher, campus administrator, or special education director; mediation through TEA; and filing a complaint or due process hearing through TEA. Districts and parents utilize these formal and informal methods to problem solve and settle disagreements.

But once a parent has formally filed a request for a due process hearing, is there any hope left for resolution or are the parent and district forced to go through with a due process hearing before a hearing officer? The answer is, yes, there is hope for resolution before a due process hearing. In fact, the majority of due process hearing requests are resolved without a hearing.

Don’t Let a Request for an Independent Educational Evaluation Trip You Up!

To start, what is an independent educational evaluation (IEE)? An IEE is an evaluation conducted by a qualified evaluator who is not employed by the school district responsible for the education of the child. A parent or legal guardian has the right to request an IEE at public expense when the parent disagrees with an already completed evaluation done by the school.  

If your school receives a request for an IEE, you have only 2 options: 1) file a due process complaint to defend the appropriateness of the school’s evaluation, or 2) fund the requested IEE. But before you make that decision, you do want to check to make sure you are dealing with a proper request.