Office of State Review
The Office of State Review (OSR) was established in 1990 to assist the New York State Review Officers (SROs). A parent of a child with a disability or a school district may request an impartial hearing by filing a complaint with respect to any matter relating to the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education.
At the impartial hearing, the parent and the school district have the right to introduce documentary evidence and have witnesses testify. They may also present oral and written legal arguments, which are typically related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its State counterpart, Article 89 of the New York State Education Law. There are extensive federal and State regulations that prescribe how a child should be evaluated and how a multi-disciplinary team of teachers, evaluators, and the child's parents are to create the child's individualized education program.
An impartial hearing officer must render a written decision setting forth the reasons and factual basis for the decision, which is based on the record, i.e., the evidence, which is before the impartial hearing officer. A parent or school district may appeal the impartial hearing officer's decision to a SRO. Occasionally, both parties appeal to a SRO.
OSR consists of educational specialists, attorneys, and support staff who assist the SROs in rendering their decisions. OSR reviews the hearing records and pleadings to ascertain the educational and legal issues involved in each appeal. The SRO must render a written decision, which like an impartial hearing officer's decision, sets forth the reasons and factual basis for the conclusions reached. A party who is unhappy with a SRO's decision may seek judicial review of the decision in State or federal court.
OSR maintains a website at www.sro.nysed.gov. The website explains in detail the appeals process and includes SRO decisions since 1990, as well as a topical index.