Chapter 5.17: Appeal of Hearing Officer's Decision and State-Level Reviews

    State Performance Plan (SPP):

    (See Overview in the Introduction for information on the SPP.)

    Intent:

    To provide parents, school districts (LEAs), county boards of MR/DD and other educational agencies with a formal administrative procedure for appealing the decision made by an impartial due process hearing officer.

    Timelines:

    Appeal of impartial hearing officer’s decision

    Within 45 calendar days of receipt of the hearing decision

    Any party aggrieved by the findings and the decision made in an impartial due process hearing may appeal the findings and decisions in writing to the Ohio Department of Education within 45 calendar days of receipt of the hearing decision. The appealing party must send a copy to the other party.

    Decision of state level review officer

    Not later than 30 calendar days after the receipt of a request

    The Ohio Department of Education must ensure that not later than 30 calendar days after the receipt of a request for a review, a final decision is reached and a copy of the decision mailed to each of the parties.

    Appeal of state level review officer’s decision

    Any party aggrieved by the decision made in a state level review has the right to bring a civil action in any state court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States without regard to the amount in controversy.

    90 calendar days from the date of the decision of the state level review officer

    The party bringing the action shall have 90 days from the date of the decision of the state level review officer to bring a civil action in a U.S. district court, or

    Within 45 calendar days from notification of the decision of the state level review officer

    The party bringing the action has 45 calendar days from notification of the decision of the state level review officer to appeal the final order to the common pleas court of the county of the child’s school district of residence.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-05
    (K) Conflict Resolution
    (14) Finality of decision; appeal; impartial review
    (a) Finality of hearing decision
    A decision made in an impartial due process hearing conducted pursuant to this rule is final, except that any party involved in the hearing may appeal the decision under the provisions of paragraphs (K)(14)(b) and (K)(17) of this rule.

    (b) Appeal of decisions, impartial review

    (i) Any party aggrieved by the findings and the decision made in the hearing may appeal the findings and decision in writing to the Ohio Department of Education within forty-five days of receipt of the hearing decision.
    (a) The notice shall set forth the order appealed and the grounds of the party’s appeal; and
    (b) A party filing an appeal shall notify the other party of the filing of the appeal.

    GUIDANCE

    Appeal of hearing officer’s decision

    If the school district is not satisfied with the impartial due process hearing officer’s decision, the superintendent and/or the superintendent’s designee and other district personnel, as identified by the administration, meets with the district’s legal counsel to discuss the implications of filing an appeal. (Optional)

    If the school district chooses to appeal an impartial due process hearing officer’s decision, within 45 days of receiving the hearing decision the district mails the original appeal that identifies the order appealed and the grounds for the appeal to:

    • Ohio Department of Education

      Office for Exceptional Children

      Procedural Safeguards Section

      25 South Front Street, Mail Stop #202

      Columbus, Ohio 43215-4183

    Additionally, the school district notifies the other party to the hearing of the appeal by sending a copy of that appeal to the other party.

    If the other party appeals the decision of the impartial due process hearing officer, the school district receives notification of the appeal from the other party.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-05
    (K) Conflict Resolution
    (14) Finality of decision; appeal; impartial review
    (b) Appeal of decisions; impartial review (continued)

    (ii) If there is an appeal, the Ohio Department of Education must conduct an impartial review of the findings and decision appealed. Upon receipt of an appeal, the Ohio Department of Education shall appoint a state level review officer who will conduct the review.
    (iii) The official conducting the review must:
    (a) Examine the entire hearing record;
    (b) Ensure that the procedures at the hearing were consistent with the requirements of due process;
    (c) Seek additional evidence, if necessary. If a hearing is held to receive additional evidence, the rights in paragraph (K)(11) of this rule apply;
    (d) Afford the parties an opportunity for oral or written argument, or both, at the discretion of the reviewing official;
    (e) Make an independent decision on completion of the review; and
    (f) Give a copy of the written, or, at the option of the parents, electronic findings of fact and decisions to the parties;

    (d) Finality of review decision

    The decision made by the reviewing official is final unless a party brings a civil action under paragraph (K)(17) of this rule.

    (15) Timelines and convenience of hearings and reviews

    (b) The Ohio Department of Education must ensure that not later than thirty days after the receipt of a request for a review:
    (i) A final decision is reached in the review; and
    (ii) A copy of the decision is mailed to each of the parties.
    (c) A hearing or reviewing officer may grant specific extensions of time beyond the periods set out in paragraphs (K)(15)(a) and (K)(15)(b) of this rule at the request of either party.
    (d) Each hearing and each review involving oral arguments must be conducted at a time and place that is reasonably convenient to the parents and child involved.

    (16) Cost of hearings

    (e) The Ohio Department of Education shall compensate state level review officers upon being invoiced at an hourly rate not higher than that established for special counsel for the state of Ohio.

    GUIDANCE

    Impartial review

    Upon receipt of the letter of appeal, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) appoints a state-level review officer to conduct an impartial review of the hearing officer's decision.

    Responsibilities of the state-level review officer

    The state-level review officer conducts the review as stated in the requirements above.

    Once an appeal has been filed either by the school district or by the other party, the school district responds immediately to any request from the state-level review officer to ensure that the review progresses in a timely manner.

    Finality of review decision

    The school district receives the state-level review officer's decision no later than 30 days after the ODE received the request for a review, unless the state-level review officer granted an extension of time.

    • Depending on the parents' preference, the copy of the final decision may be printed or provided electronically.

    The school district reviews the final decision made by a state-level review officer and implements the resulting order, if it requires changes of any kind to the actions challenged in the review.

    If the school district is not satisfied with the final decision, it either:

    • Files an appeal in any state court of competent jurisdiction; or
    • Files an appeal in a federal district court of the United States.

    Cost

    The state-level review officer is compensated as stated in the above requirements.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-05
    (K) Conflict Resolution
    (17) Civil action
    (a) General
    Any party aggrieved by the findings and decisions under paragraph (K)(14)(b) of this rule, has the right to bring a civil action with respect to the due process complaint notice requesting a due process hearing under paragraph (K)(7) or paragraphs (K)(20) to (K)(22) of this rule. The action may be brought in any state court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States without regard to the amount in controversy.

    (b) Time limitation
    The party bringing the action shall have ninety days from the date of the decision of the state level review official, to bring a civil action in the district court of the United States, or shall within forty-five days of notification of the decision of the state level review official, appeal the final order to the common pleas court of the county of the child’s district of residence as provided by section 3323.05 of the Revised Code.

    (c) Additional requirements In any action brought under paragraph (K)(17)(a) of this rule, the court:

    (i) Receives the records of the administrative proceedings;
    (ii) Hears additional evidence at the request of a party; and
    (iii) Basing its decision on the preponderance of the evidence, grants the relief that the court determines to be appropriate.

    GUIDANCE

    Civil action

    If the school district is not satisfied with the decision made by the state-level review officer, the superintendent and/or the superintendent's designee and other district personnel, as identified by the administration, meet with the district's legal counsel to discuss the implications of filing an appeal and to determine in which court to file the appeal. (Optional)

    If the school district decides to file an appeal, the district's legal counsel proceeds with filing the appeal in accordance with the timelines set forth in the above requirements; that is, within 90 days from the date of the decision if the action is to be brought in a U.S. district court, or within 45 days of notification of the decision if the appeal is to be filed in a common pleas court.

    Filing in federal district court

    If the school district decides to file an appeal in federal district court, the district checks with that court to determine the court's filing requirements; that is, what documents the court requires. Some courts will request that original copies of documents be filed; others may accept copies. This may vary from court to court.

    Filing in Ohio common pleas court

    If the district decides to file an appeal in a common pleas court, it sends the original appeal (not a photocopy) by mail to:

    • Ohio Department of Education

      Office for Exceptional Children

      Procedural Safeguards Section

      25 South Front Street, Mail Stop #202

      Columbus, Ohio 43215-4183

    The district sends a copy of its appeal to the appropriate common pleas court and the party against whom the district is filing its appeal.

     

Last Modified: 7/11/2013 4:03:28 PM