A school district's Request for Review is usually served on a parent by hand-delivery. After the school district serves you with the Request for Review, you may prepare an Answer with Cross-Appeal. You must serve the school district with the Answer with Cross-Appeal within 5 business days after the district serves you with the Request for Review. You may request an extension of this deadline from the State Review Officer.
After reading the Request for Review, decide whether you disagree with any of the district's statements in the Request for Review. In your Answer with Cross-Appeal, you should respond to each issue identified by the district in the Request for Review. If the IHO did not rule on issues that were written in the due process complaint notice that you want a State Review Officer to review, identify them in your Answer with Cross-Appeal.
a. The Answer with Cross-Appeal should be typewritten using standard double-spacing, in 12-point Times New Roman font, on standard 8 1/2 by 11 inch white paper, and no longer than 10 pages. Margins should be no smaller than 1 inch.
b. A caption or heading should appear in the upper left hand corner of the first page of the Answer with Cross-Appeal, listing the same parental and school district parties that appear on the school district's Notice of Intention to Seek Review and its Notice of Request for Review.
c. Begin the Answer with Cross-Appeal by identifying yourself as the parent or person in parental relationship to the child.
d. With the school district's Request for Review in mind, explain to the State Review Officer whether you agree or disagree with the school district's challenges to the IHO's decision. This will be the answering or responding portion of your pleading. If possible, you should refer to the evidence in the record, such as the page numbers from the written transcript of the hearing or written documents which were presented at the hearing, to support your argument. For example, "Tr. pp. 365-70" means that the State Review Officer should focus on or be convinced of your point that you are writing about by looking at pages 365 through 370 of the hearing transcript, and "Parent Ex. Q at p. 8" means that the State Review Officer should focus on or be convinced by the information on page 8 of Parent's documentary exhibit Q.
e. Next, address your "Cross-Appeal" by making a clear and concise statement of the issues/IHO rulings that you would like the State Review Officer to review and the reasons that the IHO's decision should be reversed or changed. Number each issue/IHO ruling separately. Also, explain the hearing officer's failure to or refusal to rule on/decide an issue and if you would like the State Review Officer to review that issue. Again, if possible, you should refer to the evidence in the record, such as the page numbers from the written transcript of the hearing or written documents which were presented at the hearing, to support your argument.
f. In general, only the issues/rulings raised by either the school district or the parent will be addressed by the State Review Officer and if neither the school district or you challenge an issue (either in the school district's request for review or your Answer with Cross-Appeal) the State Review Officer will not address it and will assume that both parties are abandoning the issue.
g. If you object to the way in which the IHO conducted the hearing, you should state your objection, and if possible, you should refer to any pages of the written record of the hearing which relate to your objection.
h. You may also submit written argument in the form of a Memorandum of Law with your Answer with Cross-Appeal. The Memorandum of Law in support of an Answer with Cross-Appeal must not exceed 30 pages in length.
Please Note: If you file using the e-Filing System in the Office of State Review, you are no longer required to submit a hard copy with the Office.
If you opt to file a hard copy by mail, to facilitate processing, the Office of State Review encourages parties to use regular staples only to fasten pages together and discourages parties from using binding systems for papers submitted to the Office of State Review (i.e. comb binding, velobinding, tape binding, etc.).
i. Indicate what relief or remedy you are seeking by bringing the appeal. At the end of the Request for Review, you should explain to the State Review Officer what you would like to see happen. You may ask the State Review Officer to reverse or change the IHO's decision and, for example:
- order that your child is eligible for special education;
- order that a different evaluation/assessment of your child be conducted;
- order your child's type of classroom setting or other special service(s) be changed (or not be changed);
- order that extra special education services be provided by the school district to your child to make up for a lack of services that the district should have provided to your child in the past; and/or
- order that you be reimbursed for private school tuition because you obtained appropriate specialized schooling/programming that your child needed after the district failed to provide your child with appropriate special education.
The items above are several examples of relief that parents have sought from State Review Officers and is not the only relief you may request. You must decide what you believe the school district should be ordered to do to help your child and explain what you would like the State Review Officer to order.
j. If you have prepared an Answer with Cross-Appeal but find you are
- NOT in disagreement with some the IHO's decision,
- NOT asking the State Review Officer to change the IHO's decision, or
- NOT asking the State Review Officer to make rulings in addition to those that the IHO made
and you only wish to oppose the school district's challenges to the IHO's decision, then you should consider filing an Answer, which will allow you to respond to the school districts appeal. The instructions for filing an Answer are contained in Section II of this Parent Guide.
In the Affidavit of Verification, you make an oath in front of any person authorized to administer oaths in New York State (such as a Notary Public or Commissioner of Deeds) that the statements in the Answer with Cross-Appeal are true to the best of your knowledge. You will usually find a Notary Public or a Commissioner of Deeds in a government office, a bank, or by searching the internet for a notary in your area.