Chapter 5.14: Resolution Process

    State Performance Plan (SPP):

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

    SPP 8:
    Percent of parents with a child receiving special education services who report that schools facilitated parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities. (20.U.S.C. 1416 (a)(3)(A))

    Intent:

    To provide parents and the school district (LEAs) a vehicle to resolve a due process complaint before initiating the due process hearing.

    Timelines for resolution meeting

    Within 15 calendar days of receiving notice

    Within 15 days of receiving notice of the parent's due process complaint and before initiating a due process hearing, the school district must convene a meeting with the parent and the relevant member or members of the IEP team, unless the parent and the school district of residence agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting or agree to participate in state mediation.

    If the school district fails to hold the resolution meeting within 15 days of receiving notice of the parent's due process complaint or fails to participate in the resolution meeting, the parent may seek the intervention of a hearing officer to begin the due process hearing timeline.

    For an expedited due process request

    Within seven calendar days of receiving notice

    Unless the parents and school district of residence agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting or agree to use state mediation, a resolution meeting must occur within seven days of receiving notice of the parents’ due process complaint and the request for an expedited due process hearing.

    Timelines for resolution period

    Within 30 calendar days of receiving the due process complaint

    If the school district has not resolved the due process complaint to the satisfaction of the parent within 30 days of receiving the complaint, the due process hearing may occur.

    If the school district is unable to obtain the parent's participation in the resolution meeting after reasonable efforts have been made and documented, using the procedures in Rule 3301-51-07, the school district may, at the conclusion of the 30-day period, request that a hearing officer dismiss the parent's due process complaint.

    For an expedited due process request

    Within 15 calendar days of receiving the due process complaint from the parents

    If the school district has not resolved the due process complaint to the satisfaction of the parents within 15 days of receiving the due process complaint, the due process hearing may occur.

    If the school district is unable to obtain the parents' participation in the resolution meeting after reasonable efforts have been made and documented, using the procedures in Rule 3301-51-07, the school district may, at the conclusion of the 15-day period, request that a hearing officer dismiss the parents’ due process request.

    Adjustments to the 30-day resolution period

    The 45-day timeline for the due process hearing starts the day after one of the following events:

    • Both parties agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting;
    • After either the state mediation or resolution meeting starts but before the end of the 30-day period, the parties agree in writing that no agreement is possible;
    • If both parties agree in writing to continue the state mediation at the end of the 30-day resolution period, but later the parents or school district withdraws from the process.

    Adjustments to the 15-day resolution period

    For an expedited due process request

    The 15-day timeline for the due process hearing starts the day after one of the following events:

    • Both parties agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting; or
    • After either the state mediation or resolution meeting starts, but before the end of the 15-day period, the parties agree in writing that no agreement is possible.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-05
    (K) Conflict Resolution
    (9) Resolution process
    (a) Resolution meeting

    (i) Within fifteen days of receiving notice of the parent’s due process complaint, and prior to the initiation of a due process hearing under paragraph (K)(10) of this rule, the school district of residence must convene a meeting with the parent and the relevant member or members of the IEP team who have specific knowledge of the facts identified in the due process complaint that:
    (a) Includes a representative of the school district of residence who has decision-making authority on behalf of that district; and
    (b) May not include an attorney of the school district of residence unless the parent is accompanied by an attorney.
    (ii) The purpose of the meeting is for the parent of the child to discuss the due process complaint, and the facts that form the basis of the due process complaint, so that the school district of residence has the opportunity to resolve the dispute that is the basis for the due process complaint.
    (iii) Discussions that occur during a resolution session shall be confidential and shall not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil proceeding.
    (iv) The meeting described in paragraphs (K)((9)(a)(i) and (K)(9)(a)(ii) of this rule need not be held if:
    (a) The parent and the school district of residence agree in writing to waive the meeting; or
    (b) The parent and the school district of residence agree to use the mediation process described in paragraph (K)(3) of this rule.
    (v) The parent and the school district of residence determine the relevant members of the IEP team to attend the meeting.

    GUIDANCE

    A brief overview of the Resolution Process is described in the chart "Conflict Resolution Processes."

    Resolution meeting

    Within 15 days (seven days for an expedited hearing) of receiving notice of the parents’ due process complaint, and before the initiation of a due process hearing, the school district must convene a meeting with the parents and the relevant member or members of the IEP team who have specific knowledge of the facts identified in the due process complaint. The purpose of the meeting is for the child’s parents to discuss the due process complaint, and the facts that form the basis of the due process complaint, so the LEA has the opportunity to resolve the dispute on which the complaint is based.

    Discussions in a resolution session are confidential and cannot be used as evidence in a due process hearing or the appeal of that decision. If a resolution to the dispute is reached at the meeting, a written legally binding agreement is developed and signed and the due process complaint withdrawn. If the school district and the parents execute an agreement, either party may cancel the agreement within three business days of the agreement’s signing.

    Parents' due process request

    The school district contacts the parents immediately after the parents’ due process complaint is received to make arrangements for the resolution meeting, to ensure that the meeting is held within 15 days.

    • The school district informs the parents that a resolution meeting does not need to be held if the parents and the school district agree to:
    • Waive the resolution meeting; or
    • Participate in state mediation.
    • The school district and the parents can agree to waive the resolution meeting entirely or waive it in favor of mediation.
    • Parties to a hearing may participate in both a resolution meeting and mediation. They are not mutually exclusive.
    • If the parents choose to participate in mediation, the school district follows the guidance set forth under Procedural Safeguards - 5.11 Mediation.
    • If the school district notifies the parents of its intent to schedule a resolution meeting within 15 days of receiving notice of the parents’ due process complaint, and the parents inform the school district in advance of the meeting that circumstances prevent them from attending the meeting in person, it would be appropriate for the school district to offer alternative means such as videoconferencing or conference telephone calls, subject to the parents' agreement (Federal Register, August 14, 2006, pg. 46701).
    • In the case of an expedited due process hearing, the resolution meeting must be held within seven days of receiving notice of the due process complaint.

    District due process request

    If the school district files the due process complaint, there is no requirement for a resolution meeting and resolution period. However, the school district and the other party (parents or other agency) may choose to voluntarily hold a resolution meeting or to engage in state mediation to try to resolve the issue.

    • If the school district and the other party agree to participate in mediation, the school district follows the guidance set forth under Procedural Safeguards - 5.11 Mediation.
    • The 45-day timeline begins the day after the other party (parents or other agency) receives notice of the district’s due process complaint. There is no 30-day resolution period when a district files a due process complaint and request for a hearing. However, either party may ask the hearing officer for an extension if the school district and the other party agree to participate in state mediation or agree to a resolution meeting, although not required.

    Facilitated resolution meeting

    The school district informs the parents that the Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children (ODE/OEC) will provide a mediator for the resolution meeting to help resolve the due process issues and draft a settlement agreement. A facilitated resolution session is an option available to the school district and parents and voluntary on the part of the parties. If the school district and the parents both agree to participate in a facilitiated resolution meeting, the school district submits a request to:

    Ohio Department of Education
    Office for Exceptional Children,Procedural Safeguards
    25 South Front Street, Mail Stop #202
    Columbus, Ohio 43215-4183
    Toll Free: (877) 644-6338
    Fax: (614) 728-1097

    The school district may choose to submit its request either by fax or e-mail, taking into consideration the 15-day timeline (seven-day in the case of an expedited request) in which the resolution meeting must occur. The school district and the parents will sign an Agreement to a Facilitated Resolution Session form that sets forth the procedures and guidelines that pertain to the process. Discussions in a facilitated resolution session are confidential, and the only written record is the settlement agreement, if a settlement is reached.

    Planning for the resolution meeting

    If the parties do not wish to waive the resolution meeting and are not interested in participating in mediation as an alternative to a resolution session, the school district provides the parents with the name of the individual who has the decision-making authority and will represent the school district at the resolution meeting, and collaborates with the parents to determine the participation of relevant IEP team members.

    The district and the parents cooperate in determining who will attend the resolution meeting, keeping in mind that the resolution process offers a valuable chance to resolve disputes before expending what can be considerable time and money in due process hearings.

    The district requests the identified IEP team members to attend the resolution meeting and notifies them of the time and place of the meeting and who will be in attendance.

    The IEP team may include, at the discretion of the parents or school district, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child. Therefore, other participants, such as an advocate or family friend, could attend the resolution meeting if the school district or parents determined that such individuals are relevant members of the IEP team (Federal Register, August 14, 2006, pg. 46701).

    The school district may not include its attorney in the resolution meeting unless the parents are accompanied by an attorney. Therefore, the school district should ask if the parents are planning to include their attorney in the resolution session to avoid a later issue.

    If the parents appear at the scheduled resolution meeting without notifying the school district in advance that their attorney will be present, the school district may postpone the meeting until it can arrange for its attorney to attend. However, the meeting still must be held within the 15-day timeline (Federal Register, August 14, 2006, pg. 46701).

    In the case of an expedited due process complaint, the meeting still must be held within the seven-day timeline.

    The school district makes arrangements for interpreting services if the parents are hearing impaired or deaf, or if the parents' native language is not English; assures that the meeting place is accessible; and provides other needed accommodations.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-05
    (K) Conflict Resolution
    (9) Resolution process
    (b) Resolution period

    (i) If the school district has not resolved the due process complaint to the satisfaction of the parent within thirty days of the receipt of the due process complaint, the due process hearing may occur.
    (ii) Except as provided in paragraph (K)(9)(c) of this rule, the timeline for issuing a final decision under paragraph (K)(15) of this rule begins at the expiration of this thirty-day period.

    (c) Adjustments to thirty-day resolution period
    The forty-five day timeline for the due process hearing in paragraph (K)(15)(a) of this rule starts the day after one of the following events:

    (i) Both parties agree in writing to waive the resolution meeting;
    (ii) After either the mediation or resolution meeting starts but before the end of the thirty-day period, the parties agree in writing that no agreement is possible;
    (iii) If both parties agree in writing to continue the mediation at the end of the thirty-day resolution period, but later, the parent or school district withdraws from the mediation process.

    GUIDANCE

    Resolution period

    As stated in the above requirements, the school district and the parents have 30 days in which to try resolving the parents’ due process complaint without initiating a due process hearing.

    In the case of an expedited due process complaint, the school district and the parents have 15 days in which to resolve the complaint. The resolution period cannot be extended.

    Adjustments to 30-day resolution period (15-day for expedited hearing)

    As stated in the above requirements, adjustments may be made in the 30-day (15-day for expedited hearing) resolution period. The rules provide flexibility to accommodate the choices the parties may make about which approach to use in resolving the due process complaint; for example, the school district and the parents may agree to waive in writing the resolution meeting, which affects the timeline for the resolution period and the starting date for the 45-day timeline (30-day for expedited hearing) for the due process hearing.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-05
    (K) Conflict Resolution
    (9) Resolution process
    (b) Resolution period (continued)

    (iii) Except where the parties have jointly agreed to waive the resolution process or to use mediation, notwithstanding paragraphs (K)(9)(b)(i) and (K)(9)(b)(ii) of this rule, the failure of the parent filing a due process complaint to participate in the resolution meeting will delay the timelines for the resolution process and due process hearing until the meeting is held.
    (iv) If the school district of residence is unable to obtain the participation of the parent in the resolution meeting after reasonable efforts have been made (and documented using the procedures set forth in rule 3301-51-07 of the Administrative Code), the school district of residence may, at the conclusion of the thirty-day period, request that a hearing officer dismiss the parent’s due process complaint.
    (v) If the school district of residence fails to hold the resolution meeting specified in paragraph (K)(9)(a) of this rule within fifteen days of receiving notice of a parent’s due process complaint or fails to participate in the resolution meeting, the parent may seek the intervention of a hearing officer to begin the due process hearing timeline.

    GUIDANCE

    Failure to hold a resolution meeting

    The school district is obligated to convene a resolution meeting if the parents file a due process complaint, and the district should make the scheduling and attendance of this meeting a priority.

    If the school district fails to hold or to participate in the resolution meeting within 15 days of receiving notice of the due process complaint (seven days in the case of an expedited due process complaint), the parents may request that the hearing officer begin the due process hearing timeline.

    Failure to participate in the resolution meeting

    If the parents fail to participate in the scheduled resolution meeting, the school district continues to make reasonable efforts throughout the remainder of the 30-day resolution period (15 days in the case of an expedited due process complaint) to convince the parents to participate in the meeting. The school district documents its attempts by keeping detailed records of telephone calls made or attempted and the results of those calls along with copies of correspondence sent to the parents and any responses received.

    If the parents refuse to participate in the resolution meeting, the school district, at the end of the 30-day period (15 days in the case of an expedited due process complaint), may request that the hearing officer dismiss the parents’ due process complaint.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-05
    (K) Conflict Resolution
    (9) Resolution process
    (d) Written settlement agreement
    If a resolution to the dispute is reached at the meeting described in paragraphs (K)(9)(a)(i) and (K)(9)(a)(ii) of this rule, the parties must execute a legally binding agreement that:

    (i) States that all discussions that occurred during the resolution process shall be confidential and shall not be used as evidence in any subsequent due process hearing or civil procedure;
    (ii) Is signed by both the parent and a representative of the school district of residence who has the authority to bind the district; and
    (iii) Is enforceable in any state court of competent jurisdiction or in a district court of the United States.

    (e) Agreement review period
    If the parties execute an agreement pursuant to paragraph (K)(9)(d) of this rule, a party may void the agreement within three business days of the agreement’s execution.

    GUIDANCE

    Written settlement agreement

    If a resolution to the dispute is reached, the school district and the parents develop and sign a written settlement agreement. A copy of the agreement should be given to the parents and is placed in the child’s education record.

    If one or both of the parents are visually impaired or blind, the school provides a copy of the written agreement in large print or in Braille if used by the parents.

    • Unless the agreement specifically requires that the IEP team reconvene, there is nothing in the IDEA or the implementing regulations that requires the IEP team to reconvene following a resolution agreement that includes IEP-related matters. (Federal Register, August 14, 2006, 46703).
    • If the agreement affects members of the IEP team who were not in attendance at the resolution meeting, those personnel are notified of the agreed-upon actions.

    The school district completes Parts I and II of the Due Process Resolution Data and Withdrawal form and immediately mails or faxes a copy to:

    • The ODE/OEC due process coordinator; and
    • The assigned hearing officer.

    Agreement review period

    Once a resolution is reached and a settlement agreement written and signed, either the school district or parents may cancel the agreement within three business days of the agreement's signing.

    If neither party voids the agreement, the school district and the parents proceed to implement the agreement. The school district is legally required to follow through on the decisions made.

    If the parents or the school district feel the other party is violating the settlement agreement, the dissatisfied party may request that a state court of competent jurisdiction or district court of the United States enforce the agreement. A settlement agreement cannot be enforced by filing a state complaint or a due process complaint.

     

Last Modified: 7/11/2013 4:02:43 PM