Special Education

State Performance Plan (SPP) for 2005-2012 - Revised February 2012 - Indicator 17

Overview of the State Performance Plan Development

See Overview of the State Performance Plan (SPP) Development preceding Indicator 1.

Monitoring Priority: Effective General Supervision Part B / General Supervision

Indicator 17:  Percent of adjudicated due process hearing requests that were fully adjudicated within the 45-day timeline or a timeline that is properly extended by the hearing officer at the request of either party or in the case of an expedited hearing, within the required timelines.
(20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B))

Measurement:

Percent = (3.2(a) + 3.2(b)) divided by (3.2) times 100. (This formula references data contained in the rows of the table below labeled, “Attachment 1: Section C.”)

Data Source:

New York State (NYS) will use data collected and reported to the United States Education Department (USED) annually in the 618 report on Table 7 of Information Collection 1820-0677 (Report of Dispute Resolution Under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)).

Overview of Issue/Description of System or Process

Section 4404 of NYS Education Law and section 200.5 of the Commissioner’s Regulations establish the procedures for impartial hearings. The board of education (BOE) must begin the process to select and appoint an impartial hearing officer (IHO) no later than two business days after receipt of the request. The IHO is expected to initiate the hearing within 14 days of receipt of the notification of the end of the resolution session. The IHO has to render a decision no later than 45 calendar days after the completion or written waiver of the resolution session for a school age child, 30 calendar days after the completion or written waiver of the resolution session for a preschool child and 15 days after a request for a an expedited impartial hearing involving discipline.

At the request of either party the IHO may extend the time for a specific period. NYS regulation limits any extension to 30 days. NYS regulations also indicate “absent a compelling reason or a specific showing of substantial hardship, a request for an extension shall not be granted because of school vacations, a lack of availability resulting from the parties' and/or representatives' scheduling conflicts, settlement discussions between the parties or other similar reasons. Agreement of the parties is not a sufficient basis for granting an extension.”

For school-age and preschool cases where extensions of time have been granted beyond the applicable required timelines, the decision must be rendered and mailed no later than 14 days from the date the IHO closes the record. For expedited impartial hearings for disciplinary cases, the decision must be rendered no later than five business days after the last hearing date, but no later than 45 calendar days after receipt of the hearing request.

School districts are required to report data regarding the impartial hearing process, including IHO appointments, timelines, extensions, and closures through Impartial Hearing Reporting System (IHRS).  IHRS is a web-based system and provides real time information. Each school district and IHO has access to information on any case in which they are involved. 

IHRS is used to monitor the timeliness of BOE appointments of IHOs and whether a decision is rendered within the timelines specified above.  On a daily basis, IHRS sends an initial notification to any school district that fails to make a timely IHO appointment and to both the school district and IHO if a decision is not received within five days of the appropriate time lines.  A second notification is sent to the school district and the IHO if a decision continues to be late for four days beyond the initial notification date.  E-mail responses to the initial and second notifications are monitored. If either the school district or IHO fail to respond to the notifications, personal contact is made to determine if the lateness is a school district data entry issue or if the IHO has failed to render the decision within the timeline or extended timeline.

Baseline Data for FFY 2004 (2004-05)

The percent of due process hearing requests that were fully adjudicated within the 45-day timeline or a timeline that was properly extended by the hearing officer at the request of either party was 83.5 percent.

2004-05
Attachment 1
SECTION C: Hearing requests
(3)Hearing requests total 5422
(3.1) Resolution sessions Not Available**
(a) Settlement agreements Not Available**
(3.2) Hearings (fully adjudicated) 1294
(a)  Decisions within timeline 481
(b)  Decisions within extended timeline 599
(3.3) Resolved without a hearing 3900
Measurement Formula: 481 (3.2a) + 599 (3.2b) = 1080 divided by 1294 (3.2) = .8346 X   100 = 83.5%

** 2004-05 data was not collected in the manner requested in SPP/APR attachment 1.

Discussion of Baseline Data

  • IHRS has been in operation since July 1, 2002. The total number of impartial hearing requests has increased in the last three years, from 4542 in 2002-03 to 5422 in the baseline year of 2004-05.
  • The following trends have been observed between 2002-03 and the baseline year 2004-05:
    • The percentage of fully adjudicated hearing requests has decreased from 28.6 percent of the total number of requests in 2002-03 to 23.8 percent in 2004-05.
    • The percentage of fully adjudicated hearing requests that are timely within the original (15 days expedited, 30 days CPSE, 45 days CSE) time line has decreased from 45.78 percent in 2002-03 to 37.17 percent in 2004-05.
    • The percentage of fully adjudicated hearings that are timely within extended time lines has increased from 37.94 percent in 2002-03 to 46.39 percent in 2004-05.
  • The percentage of hearing requests that are not fully adjudicated and are either settled or withdrawn has remained fairly constant, with 71.3 percent in 2002-03 to 71.9 percent in 2004-05.

Measurable and Rigorous Targets

FFY Measurable and Rigorous Target
2005
(2005-06)
100 percent of impartial hearing decisions will be rendered within regulatory timelines.
2006
(2006-07)
100 percent of impartial hearing decisions will be rendered within regulatory timelines.
2007
(2007-08)
100 percent of impartial hearing decisions will be rendered within regulatory timelines.
2008
(2008-09)
100 percent of impartial hearing decisions will be rendered within regulatory timelines.
2009
(2009-10)
100 percent of impartial hearing decisions will be rendered within regulatory timelines.
2010
(2010-11)
100 percent of impartial hearing decisions will be rendered within regulatory timelines.
2011*
(2011-12)
100 percent of impartial hearing decisions will be rendered within regulatory timelines.
2012*
(2012-13)
100 percent of impartial hearing decisions will be rendered within regulatory timelines.
*In FFY 2009, USED requested states to add two additional years to the SPP, including adding two additional years of targets.

Improvement Activities/Timelines/Resources

Activity Timeline Resources
Improve the capacity of IHRS to monitor the timeliness of impartial hearing requests through the development of an electronic file transfer process between IHRS and the NYC Impartial Hearing System and revise IHRS to include additional monitoring points and proactive notifications. 2005-06
Completed
See APR 2/08
Office of Special Education (OSE) Staff, IHRS - IDEA Part B funds in 2005-06 for data collection system revisions
Continue to use IHRS to monitor timeliness and investigate both school districts and IHOs that may be responsible for the appearance of lateness of a decision.  Develop reports that provide feedback to IHOs relative to their use of extensions and timeliness in conducting hearings. 2005-12* OSE staff and IHRS
Take action, as authorized in NYS regulations, to suspend, revoke or take other appropriate action with respect to the certification of an impartial hearing officer upon a finding that the impartial hearing officer failed to issue a decision in a timely manner where such delay was not due to extensions granted at the request of either party as documented in the record. 2005-12* IHRS
OSE staff
Provide bi-annual update training to IHOs.  Revised to annual training beginning 2009-10 (See APR 2/09)

Require each NYS Certified IHO to attend 12 hours of annual update training sessions (See APR 2/10)

2005-12* SED staff and contractor - SUNY Buffalo
Consortium for Appropriate Dispute Resolutions in Special Education (CADRE)
www.directionservice.org/cadreexternal link
Establish a website for IHOs for sharing of information  Completed See APR 2/09 http://www.law.buffalo.edu/IHO/external link
Revise and reissue written guidance on impartial hearings. 2007-08 Guidance document: Impartial Hearing Process for Students with Disabilities
Provide an extension calculator for IHO use (See APR 2/08) 2008-09 IHRS
Contract for expanded IHO training and IHO complaint investigators 2011
Completed
See APR2/12
IDEA Discretionary Funds
Revise and reissue written guidance on impartial hearing procedures.  (Added by APR 2/12) Bt December 2012 OSE staff and consultants
Revise State regulations relating to impartial hearing procedures to address procedural issues that impact timely impartial hearing decisions.  (Added by APR 2/12) By December 2012 OSE staff and IHRS
*Note: Extended the end dates to 2012 coinciding with extended dates of the SPP (rev. 2/11).
Last Updated: January 27, 2012 #EndDate -->ate --> ate -->