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Timelines for IEP reassessments, transfers, due process hearings

In our last post, we talked about the deadlines for getting your child assessed for an individualized education program (IEP).

Here are some deadlines associated with reassessments, transfers from out of state during the school year, due process requests and due process appeals.

IEP reassessments shall occur at least every three years, and not more than once a year, unless the parent and local educational agency agree in writing to other arrangements.

Meetings of the IEP team shall be held within 30 calendar days, not counting certain days, of a parent or guardian’s written request.

Transfer of a student on an IEP from out of state during the school year

The first thing you need to know is whether your student’s old district and new district operate under the same special education local plan area of the district. If the student is from out of state, the rules differ slightly.

If the student transfers into a district from a district that does not operate under the same local plan and needs to be enrolled in a special education program that academic year, the local educational agency shall provide the student with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to those in their previously-approved IEP, in consultation with the parent or guardian, for a period of up to 30 days. The district shall then shall either adopt the previously-approved IEP or develop, adopt and implement a new IEP that is consistent with California and federal law.

If the transfer student comes from a district that does operate under the same special education local plan area of the district, the new district shall continue providing services comparable to those described in the approved IEP without delay. However, the parent and the local educational agency can agree to develop, adopt and implement a new IEP that is consistent with California and federal law.

If the transfer student comes from out of state and needs special education services during the same academic year, the local educational agency shall provide the student with a free appropriate public education, including services comparable to the previously approved IEP, in consultation with the parents or guardians, until the agency conducts an assessment.

In any of these cases, the new school must take reasonable steps to promptly obtain the student’s records.

Parent/guardian’s right to examine records

Once you make a request to examine your child’s school records (and to receive copies), the local educational agency has five business days, or before any IEP meeting, hearing or resolution session, to comply.

Complaints of lack of compliance with an IEP

If you would like to file a complaint that your child’s IEP is not being followed, you must do so within one year from the date of your claim. Once you have filed your claim, the California Department of Education shall do all of the following:

  • Investigate within 60 calendar days
  • Give you the opportunity to submit additional information about the allegations in the complaint
  • Review all relevant information and make an independent determination as to whether there is a legal violation
  • Issue a written decision
  • Schedule a pre-hearing mediation conference within 15 calendar days of a request for mediation and complete the mediation within 30 days, unless both parties agree to extend the time for completing the mediation.

Requests for due process hearings

If you cannot resolve your issue through mediation or prefer not to mediate, you can request a due process hearing. You must do so within 2 years of the date of the incident, or within 2 years of the date the complaining party knew or had reason to know the relevant facts unless the parent is the complaining party and was prevented from requesting the due process hearing.

Within 45 days of receiving a written request for a due process hearing, the superintendent shall ensure that the hearing is completed immediately, including any mediation that is requested, and that a final administrative decision is rendered.

If you want a lawyer at the due process hearing, you must notify the school district at least 10 calendar days before the hearing.

Any party to a due process hearing has the right to be informed by the other parties, at least 10 calendar days before the hearing, of what those parties believe are the issues to be decided and their proposed resolution of those issues.

Any party to a due process hearing has the right to receive from the other parties, at least five calendar days before the hearing, copies of all documents, including complete and incomplete assessments, and a list of witnesses and the general area of testimony.

If your issues are still unresolved after the due process hearing, you can appeal. This must be filed within 90 calendar days of your receipt of the hearing decision.

If you have questions about these deadlines or the process of setting up or challenging problems with an IEP, contact Leigh Law Group.