OVERVIEW TO PART 279 (as revised)
NOTE: These instructions are only intended to serve as an additional aid to petitioners who are not represented by an attorney. The full set of rules of procedure are found in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education (Part 279 located on this site).
An impartial hearing has been held regarding your child. If you are dissatisfied with the decision of the impartial hearing officer, you may appeal issues in any of the following areas to a State Review Officer:
- Identification: the school district's awareness that your child may have a disability, and/or its response to your concerns about your child. The district's determination or lack thereof that your child was eligible for special education in a timely manner
- Evaluation: the school district's evaluation of your child to identify his or her needs in all areas of concern
- Educational placement: the school district's ability to provide appropriate special education and supports to your child in the least restrictive environment,
- Provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE): the school district's ability to provide special education programs and services to meet your child's unique needs
- Manifestation determination: the school district's review of the relationship between your child's disability and the behavior that subjected him/her to disciplinary action, or
- Conduct of the impartial hearing: the impartial hearing officer's conduct of the hearing in a fair manner within the timelines, including whether you feel that you had a fair opportunity to present your case .
The appeal is a request for review of the impartial hearing officer's decision. The decision of a State Review Officer will be based on the hearing record. It is very important that the procedures required for appeal are followed. As you proceed with this appeal, it will be helpful to keep the following terms in mind:
- Petitioner: is the person or party that initiates the appeal (either the parent or the Board of Education of your school district).
- Request for Review: the Request for Review must clearly indicate the reasons for challenging the impartial hearing officer's decision, identify the findings, conclusions and orders with which you disagree, and must indicate what relief should be granted by a State Review Officer to the petitioner.
- Respondent: is the party that may answer or respond to the issues in the Request for Review (either the parent or the Board of Education of your school district).
- Cross-Appeal: the cross-appeal is a respondent's request for review of a portion of the impartial hearing officer's decision, after the Request for Review has been filed.
- Extension: the request(s) for a specific amount of time made to a State Review Officer by either the parent or the Board to change the 30-day timeline for issuing the State Review Officer's decision. This allows the State Review Officer in turn to make specific extensions of the time line and allow parties to submit papers to the Office of State Review beyond the submission deadlines set in Part 279 of the regulations.
- Parents or legal guardians may start an appeal of an impartial hearing officer's decision on behalf of the child.
The procedures and timelines in the regulations and further described on this web site must be followed carefully. There are four sections of this guide.
The procedures described in Section I assume that a parent is the petitioner appealing in the first instance.
The procedures in Section II address situations where the school district appeals first and the parent is the respondent who wishes to uphold all of the IHO's decision.
Section III addresses situations in which a parent is the respondent and seeks to uphold some portion of the IHO's decision but challenge other portions of the IHO's decision.
Section IV addresses other matters related to appeals, such as the school district's responsibility to submit the hearing record and the consideration of additional evidence on appeal.
Updated forms are available that may be of assistance to you in preparing, serving and filing papers with the Office of State Review.