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Minnesota Due Process Options - Resolving Differences Through the Special Education Process

* - General information only; please call PACER Center at (952) 838-9000 or the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) at (651) 582-8689 for further information

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PACER encourages families to try to resolve differences by first sharing their concerns with their Individualized Education Program (IEP) case manager and/or the school district’s director of special education.
 
Parents May Contact the Following in Writing:
For Conciliation, Mediation, Facilitated IEP Meeting: For State Complaint or Due Process Hearing Request: For Minnesota, Section 504 Complaint:
send written request to the district director of special education and building principal send a copy of your complaint or request for hearing to the district director of special education and to:

Due Process Supervisor
Minnesota Department of Education
Division of Compliance and Assistance
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville, MN 55113-4266
Voice: (651) 582-8689
Fax: (651) 582-8725
www.education.state.mn.us

send written request to:

Office for Civil Rights-Chicago
U.S. Department of Education
Citigroup Center
500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475
Chicago, IL 60661
Voice:
(312) 730-1560,
(877) 521-2172

Fax: (312) 730-1576
TDD: (312) 730-1609

Minnesota Due Process Options
Options Issues
Who is Usually Involved Decision Maker(s)
Timeline Cost (Parent pays)
Conciliation
When district receives a parent’s objection to a proposal • Required if parent requests
Parent-school disagreement regarding identification, evaluation, placement, or services Director of special education, school district staff, parent(s) Parent(s) and school district From receipt of request: • set up within 10 calendar days, • memo 5 school days after final conference None
Mediation
Voluntary for both parties
Parent-school disagreement regarding identification, evaluation, IEP placement and services, or other matters Mediator (assigned by MDE), parent(s), district staff, and others each may choose Parent(s) and school district Complete within 30 calendar days of MDE’s receipt of parent’s written request None
Facilitated Individualized Education Program Parent-school cannot agree on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) IEP team (including parents) and facilitator (assigned by MDE) IEP team with support from facilitator Must be scheduled in a timely manner None
State Complaint Claim that district is not following special education laws or regulation Parent(s), organization or any citizen; MDE, Division of Compliance and Assistance MDE, Division of Compliance and Assistance File within one year of violation; final decision by MDE 60 calendar days from filing None
Section 504 Complaint Claim of discrimination based on disability Parent(s), organization, or any citizen; local 504 Officer, Office for Civil Rights (Region V Chicago) Office for Civil Rights (Region V Chicago) File within 180 calendar days of violation None
Impartial Due Process Hearing
Required if parent or school requests
Parent-school disagreement regarding identification, evaluation, placement, or services Hearing officer from Office of Administrative Hearings, parent(s), district staff, expert witnesses, attorneys Hearing officer; Must appeal to the Minnesota Court of Appeals within 60 calendar days of decision File within 2 years of the alleged violation; Written decision within 45 calendar days from the date filed with MDE Parent(s) pays own attorney fees, expert witnesses (if needed). If parents prevail, they may recover attorney’s fees.

Parents Need to Know

Conciliation:

  1. If parents object to any written proposal, they must be offered at least one conciliation conference
  2. Discussion information may not be used as evidence in a due process hearing
  3. Memorandum and IEP can be used in a due process hearing
  4. Request must be in writing
  5. You may invite your child or others who know him/her

Mediation:

  1. Either party may request but both must agree to participate
  2. Information is confidential; may not be used as evidence in a due process hearing or civil proceeding
  3. For complex issues, may require more than one session
  4. Written agreement is signed by responsible parties
  5. You may invite your child or others who know him/her

Facilitated IEP:

  1. Either party may request; entire IEP team required
  2. Information can be used in a due process hearing
  3. Can address the specific areas of concern/disagreement or the entire IEP
  4. May help build and improve relationships between parents and the school
  5. You may invite your child or others who know him/her

State complaint:

  1. Anyone can file a complaint if they feel a violation has occurred
  2. MDE complaint investigator makes the decision; decisions can be appealed

Section 504 Complaint:

  1. Can determine discrimination based on disability
  2. Office of Civil RIghts (OCR) does not handle cases that are being addressed by another agency or within the school grievance procedure
  3. You have 60 days to refile your complaint with OCR once the other process is completed
  4. OCR does not represent parties or provide advice if the issues go to a court hearing
  5. Provides for an impartial 504 hearing but details aren't provided; decision can be appealed within 60 days of OCR's determination

Due Process Hearing:

  1. A decision is made by the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) Hearing Officer/Administrative Law Judge
  2. Considerable amount of time needed for preparation
  3. Burden of proof is on the party requesting the hearing
  4. Most parents use an attorney
 

Visit PACER's other sites: Teens Against Bullying | Kids Against Bullying | FAST Family Support | FAPE | MN SEACs

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