§ 38–2571.03. Procedural safeguards; due process requirements.
In addition to any procedural safeguards and due process requirements required by IDEA:
(1) Before any change in service location for a child with a disability is made, the LEA shall provide the parent with written notice of the proposed change, which shall at minimum include:
(A) A description of the action proposed by the LEA;
(B) An explanation of why the LEA proposes to take the action;
(C) A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, and report the agency used as a basis for the proposed action;
(D) A statement that the parents of a child with a disability have protection under the procedural safeguards of IDEA and that describes the means by which a copy of the procedural safeguards can be obtained;
(E) Sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of IDEA;
(F) A description of other options that the LEA considered and the reasons why those options were rejected; and
(G) A description of any other factors relevant to the LEA’s proposal.
(2) Any notice provided to the parent of a child with a disability or the parent of an infant or toddler with a disability pursuant to section 625(c)(1) or 639(a)(6) of IDEA (respectively, 20 U.S.C. § 1439(a)(6) and 20 U.S. C. § 1415(c)(1)) or this chapter shall include a list of sources the parent may contact for assistance, including contact information for the:
(A) Parent Training and Information Center established pursuant to section 671 of IDEA (20 U.S.C. § 1471);
(B) Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education; and
(C) Office of the Student Advocate.
(3) No fewer than 5 business days before a scheduled meeting where an IEP, IFSP, or eligibility for special education services will be discussed, the public agency scheduling the meeting shall provide parents with an accessible copy of any evaluation, assessment, report, data chart, or other document that will be discussed at the meeting; provided, that if a meeting is scheduled fewer than 5 business days before it is to occur, then these documents shall be provided no fewer than 24 hours before the meeting.
(4)(A) No later than 5 business days after a meeting at which a new or amended IEP has been agreed upon, the public agency shall provide the parents with a copy of the IEP. If an IEP has not yet been completed by the 5th business day after the meeting or additional time is required to comply with subchapter II of Chapter 19 of Title 2 [§ 2-1931 et seq.] (“Language Access Act”), the public agency shall provide the parent with the latest available draft IEP and a final copy upon its completion; provided, that the final copy of the IEP shall be provided to the parents no later than 15 business days after the meeting at which the IEP was agreed upon.
(B) No later than 5 business days after a meeting at which a new or amended IFSP has been agreed upon, the public agency shall provide the parents with a copy of the IFSP for their review and signature. If additional time is required to comply with the Language Access Act, the public agency shall provide the parent with a copy for parental review upon completion; provided, that the IFSP shall be provided to the parents for review no later than 15 business days after the meeting at which the IFSP was agreed upon.
(5)(A) Upon request, an LEA shall provide timely access, either together or separately, to the following for observing a child’s current or proposed special educational program:
(i) The parent of a child with a disability; or
(ii) A designee appointed by the parent of a child with a disability who has professional expertise in the area of special education being observed or is necessary to facilitate an observation for a parent with a disability or to provide language translation assistance to a parent; provided, that the designee is neither representing the parent’s child in litigation related to the provision of free and appropriate public education for that child nor has a financial interest in the outcome of such litigation.
(B) The time allowed for a parent, or the parent’s designee, to observe the child’s program shall be of sufficient duration to enable the parent or designee to evaluate a child’s performance in a current program or the ability of a proposed program to support the child.
(C) A parent, or the parent’s designee, shall be allowed to view the child’s instruction in the setting where it ordinarily occurs or the setting where the child’s instruction will occur if the child attends the proposed program.
(D) The LEA shall not impose any conditions or restrictions on such observations except those necessary to:
(i) Ensure the safety of the children in a program;
(ii) Protect other children in the program from disclosure by an observer of confidential and personally identifiable information in the event such information is obtained in the course of an observation by a parent or a designee; or
(iii) Avoid any potential disruption arising from multiple observations occurring in a classroom simultaneously.
(E) An observer shall not disclose nor use any information obtained during the course of an observation for the purpose of seeking or engaging clients in litigation against the District or the LEA.
(F) The LEA may require advance notice and may require the designation of a parent’s observer to be in writing.
(G) Each LEA shall make its observation policy publicly available.
(H) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to limit or restrict any observational rights established by IDEA or other applicable law.
(6)(A) In special education due process hearings occurring pursuant to IDEA (20 U.S.C. § 1415(f) and 20 U.S.C. § 1439(a)(1)), the party who filed for the due process hearing shall bear the burden of production and the burden of persuasion; except, that:
(i) Where there is a dispute about the appropriateness of the child’s individual educational program or placement, or of the program or placement proposed by the public agency, the public agency shall hold the burden of persuasion on the appropriateness of the existing or proposed program or placement; provided, that the party requesting the due process hearing shall retain the burden of production and shall establish a prima facie case before the burden of persuasion falls on the public agency. The burden of persuasion shall be met by a preponderance of the evidence.
(ii) Where a party seeks tuition reimbursement for unilateral placement, the party seeking reimbursement shall bear the burden of production and the burden of persuasion on the appropriateness of the unilateral placement; provided, that the hearing officer shall have the authority to bifurcate a hearing regarding a unilateral placement; provided further, that if the hearing officer determines that the program offered by the public agency is appropriate, it is not necessary to inquire into the appropriateness of the unilateral placement.
(B) This paragraph shall apply to special education due process hearings resulting from complaints filed after July 1, 2016.
(7)(A) In any action or proceeding brought under Part B or Part C of IDEA, a court, in its discretion, may award reasonable expert witness fees as part of the costs to a prevailing party:
(i) Who is the parent of a child with a disability;
(ii) That is a local educational agency or OSSE, when the attorney of a parent files a complaint or subsequent cause of action that is frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation, or against the attorney of a parent who continued to litigate after the litigation clearly became frivolous, unreasonable, or without foundation; or
(iii) That is a local educational agency or OSSE against the attorney of a parent, or against the parent, if the parent’s complaint or subsequent cause of action was presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, to cause unnecessary delay, or to needlessly increase the cost of litigation.
(B) Any fees awarded under this paragraph shall be based on rates prevailing in the community in which the action or proceeding arose for the kind and quality of services furnished; provided, that the maximum award shall be $6,000 per action or proceeding. No bonus or multiplier may be used in calculating the fees awarded under this paragraph.
(C) Expert witness fees otherwise available under this paragraph shall not be awarded if reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and related costs would be prohibited in the proceeding under 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(3)(D).
(D) Any expert witness fees available under this paragraph, shall be subject to reduction if the court makes a finding listed under 20 U.S.C. 1415(i)(3)(F).
(E) Expert witness fees otherwise available under this paragraph shall not be awarded to compensate the moving party for an independent educational evaluation unless that party would be entitled to compensation for the evaluation under IDEA.
(F) This paragraph shall apply to actions and proceedings initiated after July 1, 2016.