Frequently Asked Questions
How can I obtain access to the decisions of the State Review Officer?
Is there any written description of the special education process and my rights as a parent?
A copy of the New York State Education Department Procedural Safeguards Notice can be found at https://www.nysed.gov/special-education/procedural-safeguards-notice-rights-parents-children-disabilities-ages-3-21. This notice provides information on a parent’s legal rights under federal and State law to be informed about and involved in the special education process and to make sure that your child receives a free appropriate public education. In addition, a copy of the booklet entitled A Parent's Guide to Special Education for Children Ages 3-21 should be available to you from your school district. The Procedural Safeguards Notice and the Parent’s Guide are also available from your school district upon your request.
I need to talk to someone about my problem with the school district before deciding to request an impartial hearing. Whom should I contact?
There are seven Office of Special Education Quality Assurance Regional Offices that may be able to assist you. You may reach State Education Department staff by calling:
Eastern Regional Office - (518) 486-6366
Hudson Valley Regional Office - (518) 473-1185
Central Regional Office - (315) 428-4556
Western Regional Office - (585) 344-2002
Long Island Regional Office - (631) 952-3352
New York City Regional Office - (718) 722-4544
Nondistrict Unit - (518) 473-1185
What if a hearing has been held, but the hearing officer has been delayed in rendering a decision?
You should contact the Due Process Unit of the State Education Department's Office of Special Education (518) 473-0170, or initiate an appeal to the Commissioner of Education pursuant to Section 310 of the Education Law. Information about appeals to the Commissioner may be obtained from the Appeals Coordinator, Office of Counsel, State Education Department, Albany, NY 12234.
If I don't like the services the school district is providing to my child, can the State Review Officer or the Office of State Review help me?
A State Review Officer can become involved only after there has been an impartial hearing and the hearing officer has made his or her decision that is appealed to the Office of State Reveiw.
I am seeking judicial review of a State Review Officer decision. How can I e-file a request for a certified copy of the administrative hearing record before the State Review Officer for the Court's review?
Instructions for Requesting a Certified Copy of the Administrative Hearing Record to Submit to a Court
All requests by a school district or parent for a certified copy of the administrative record must be submitted using the Certified Record Request Form in the e-File System. Telephonic requests will not be accepted or processed. Court orders are NOT REQUIRED for the Office of State Review to honor a written request by a party seeking a certified copy of the administrative record. Upon submission of the form, both parties receive an automated notification that a certified administrative record has been requested.
Newer Administrative Hearing Records
The format of the certified administrative records provided by the Office of State Review is in a period of transition. For appeals that post-date Docket No. 22-115 on September 14, 2022, the Office of State Review fully transitioned to a new electronic storage/digital evidence management system, and for cases after 22-115 the Office can provide both parties and/or the court with an indexed electronic case record via private overnight carrier on electronic media together with a certification of record.
The certified administrative record provided by the Office of State Review is for the use of the court. It is the parties' responsibility to file the certified administrative records in conformance with the electronic filing rules when seeking judicial review in a federal or state court (e.g. via Case Management/Electronic Case Files or CM/ECF) or the manner that the court may otherwise direct.
Timing of requests
Requests for a Certified Administrative Record should not be filed with the Office of State Review before:
- The action has been filed and the docket or index number has been obtained;
- After the Presiding Judge has been assigned; and
- After the opposing party has appeared.
You will need the following information to e-File your request for a certified administrative record with the Office of State Review:
- SRO Appeal Number;
- Court Index/Identification Number;
- Parties names as captioned in the court proceeding;
- Name of the Presiding Judge, and, if applicable the assigned Magistrate Judge;
- Name and street address of the party representative to whom the certified copy of the administrative record should be shipped (No PO Boxes);
- the e-mail, name, and street address of the representative of the opposing party who has appeared in the court action. (An automated notice of the request for a certified record will be e-mailed to the opposing party); and
- the preference of the Presiding Judge or Magistrate Judge assigned to your case (i.e. whether Court would like to receive a certified hard copy or courtesy hard copy of the administrative record from the Office of State Review).
Upon receipt of a party's Certified Record Request e-filing submission with the information described in items 1-7 above, the Office of State Review will process the request and send a copy of the certified administrative record in accordance with the Court's preferences. Any further questions, concerns, or requests about how to file the certified administrative record with the Court should be directed to the Court. A copy of the table of contents of the administrative hearing record is included for both parties at the time the record is transmitted. The Office of State Review does not provide additional record duplication services for the convenience of parties and/or counsel.
Older Administrative Hearing Records
For appeals that precede the transition on September 14, 2022, all or portions of the hearing record before the impartial hearing officer and appeal pleadings were received by the Office of State Review via a mixture of hard and securely filed electronic documents under temporary emergency measures adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic. In appeals preceding 22-115, one copy of the certified administrative record is provided in accordance with the preferences of the court.
In an appeal predating 22-115, a certified administrative record from the Office of State Review includes a hard copy of the decision of the State Review Officer, the decision of the Impartial Hearing Officer from which the party or parties appealed, the parties' appeal pleadings and memoranda, and appeal correspondence, some of which may be duplicative of documents provided electronically. All portions of the administrative record filed with the Office of State Review that were filed electronically are reproduced on a CD-ROM.
The questionnaire on Certified Record Request e-filing submission will require additional information regarding the preferences of the assigned judge if the appeal predates No. 22-115. In the experience of the Office of State Review, courts have generally been accommodating when parties request that the certified administrative record be provided by the Office of State Review via hard copy.
For older records, the questionnaire on Certified Record Request Form will require the requesting party to confirm that the party has communicated with the court and ascertained the court staff's (i.e. judicial law clerk's or administrative staff's) preferred method for receiving the administrative record. This policy ensures that the court receives the certified copy of the administrative record in the manner that the receiving court believes is appropriate in each case as each judge's individual practices and preferences vary considerably. In the experience of the staff of the Office of State Review, the most common preferences expressed by individual court chambers are as follows:
- Some court chambers prefer to accept a hard copy of the certified administrative record that has been sent to chambers directly from the Office of State Review.
- Alternatively, some court chambers express the preference that the record be filed electronically in accordance with the Court's CM/ECF rules and will ask either the school district's or parents' counsel to digitize the administrative record for that purpose.
- Occasionally, chambers may also request that a party file the certified administrative hearing record in a manner that includes measures for shielding the student's personally protected information.
Duplicative requests by both parties are strongly discouraged and, under most circumstances, will be rejected. The Office of State Review does not provide additional record duplication services for the convenience of parties and/or counsel.
Court Orders. It is unnecessary to seek formal Court orders directing the production of a certified hearing record. A party requesting to have the certified administrative record provided to the Court by any method need not obtain a formal court order, but may merely submit their request in the Certified Record Request Form. A party should not submit a proposed order to a court that imposes a deadline on the Office of State Review to provide a certified administrative record, especially without consulting with the Office of State Review. Any practice by which a party unilaterally places dates and procedures for the Office of State Review to transmit a certified copy of the administrative hearing record in a proposed order to a Court without consulting the Office of State Review first is strongly discouraged.
Judicial Proceedings involving the State. Although uncommon, the Office of the Attorney General may become involved with a judicial review proceeding in which an administrative record was file with the Office of State Review. Under those circumstances the Office of State Review typically coordinates with the assigned Assistant Attorney General with regard to reproduction of the certified administrative record.
How long will it take the Office of State Review to provide a certified copy of the administrative record?
The Office of State Review is in the process of implementing new electronic filing and digital evidence management systems and is phasing in a new Certified Record Request process beginning in August 2023 with the objective of streamlining the provision of Certified Administrative Records for judicial review.
Although not set forth in law, as a matter of convenience to the courts and parties, the Office of State Review has historically endeavored with success to transmit certified copies of administrative records requested by litigants within 30 days of the Office of State Review's receipt of written requests that contain the information identified in the Certified Administrative Record Request procedures. For cases filed after docket number 22-115, the Office soon expects to be able to shorten the time to fulfill requests. However, most requests filed at this time continue to seek older appeal records containing a mix of hardcopy and electronic elements that will not be migrated to the new systems. The administrative staff is responsible for a number of tasks including processing filings related to pending administrative appeals and assisting State Review Officers in meeting federally-mandated timelines for issuing appeal decisions. Consequently, the priorities of the Office of State Review administrative staff change daily.
Because requests in older cases remain prevalent at this time, the Office of State Review continues to identify the 30-day period as general goal and cannot yet guarantee the ability to provide the record in a particular case sooner than 30 days from the Office of State Review's completion of a certified record request submission in the e-File System. As the requests from litigants gradually shift from older appeals to appeals stored in the new automated systems, the Office of State Review expects to announce a decrease in the expected time period for parties to receive the Certified Administrative Records. As a reminder, a court order is not required in order for the Office of State Review to produce a certified record and parties are strongly discouraged from submitting a proposed order to a court imposing a deadline on the Office of State Review, especially without consulting with the Office of State Review.
Are the procedures before the Office of State Review modified due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
There were temporary changes to the procedures during the pandemic, but the temporary modifications were discontinued with the exception of the introduction of an e-Filing System in 2023. There were temporary modifications to the authorized procedures for serving and filing a Notice of Intention to Seek Review, a Notice of Intention to Cross Appeal, and a Request for Review were modified. A description of the temporary changes implemented by the Office of State Review and guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect upon the process of appealing an impartial hearing officer's decision is posted for historical reference on the Office's COVID-19 web page.