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When differences regarding the placement of a child cannot be resolved by the foregoing proceedings, the Office of Student Services shall notify the parents by registered letter in the primary language of the family that they may request a formal hearing. The parents shall have 15 days from their receipt of the notification in which to request a formal due process hearing in writing. If the District does not receive such a request whith 15 calendar days, no further action regarding the hearing will be initiated by the District, and the child will remain in a current placement.
If the parents do not choose to resolve the issues through the informal dispute resolution procedures, the parents must present a writen request for a formal due process hearing within 30 calendar days of their receipt of the notification regarding the identification, evaluation or placement decision they dispute.
Within a reasonable time after receiving a request from a parent, the District shall appoint a hearing officer who shall not be an officer, employee, or agent of Tucson Unified School District. Once appointed, this person will have up to 30 calendar days to review pertinent documents, co consult with all parties concerned, and to determine a time and a place for the hearing that will be reasonably convenient for all parties concerned.
Phase II – Scheduling the Hearing
Notification of the hearing shall be mailed by the hearing officer to the parent, all District, personnel requied to be at the hearing, and the Senior Academic Officer – Student Services. A copy shall be retained by the hearing officer.
Phase III – Convening the Hearing
The Due Process Hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the following procedures:
The hearing officer shall preside at the hearing and shall conduct the proceeding in a fair and impartial manner to the end that all parties involved have an opportunity to present any relevant and material evidence and question witnesses.
All parties may prohibit the introduction of any evidence or the production or any witness at the hearing that has not been disclosed to that party at leatst 5 calendar days before the hearing. The parties shall have the right to produce outside expert witnesses and be represented by legal counsel and by individuals with special knowledge or training with respect to problems of disabled children.
The hearing officer shall review all relevant facts concerning the education placement.
1. The hearing officer shall render a decistion, subject to judical review, as to whether the District has met all procedural aspects of the education placement plan.
2. The hearing officer shall render a freedom, subject to judical review, which is binding on all parties, and in all cases should comply with Secition 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulation at 34 Code of Federal Regulation Part 104.
3. If the parents’ primary language is other than English, the hearing officer shall appoing an interpreter upon the parents’ request, which shall be made at least three school days prior to the hearing. A copy of the hearing officer’s decision shall be sent registered mail to the Senior Academic Officer – Student Services and parent within twenty calendar days following completion of the hearing. All parties involved shall have an apportunity to obtain written findings of fact and decisions.
All written correspondence, including the copy of the decision, shall be provided in English and the primary language of the home. The decision of the hearing officer shall be binding on the parents and on the local school district, its employees and agents, subject only to administrative review.
Phase IV – Appealing the Decision
If the case is appealed, the decision of the hearing officer shall be adhered to, unless a specific waiver is authorized by the hearing officer.
1. Such an appeal shall be accepted only if it is initiated within ten calendar days after the decision of the hearing officer has been received by the parties.
2. An appeal of a decision of an impartial hearing officer shall be limited to a determination of: (1)wheter all procedural requirements have been observed, and (2)whether the decision of the hearing officer is unreasonable in light of the evidence of record.
3. The decision of the Appeals Officer regarding the appeal shall be sent to all parties, including the hearing officer, by registered mail within a reasonable time of the receipt of the appeal request.
4. The decision of the Appeals Officer shall be binding on the parents and on the school district subject only to judicial review through established legal procedures.
III. Organizations and agencies which the parent may contact to obtain assistance with evaluation/placement questions include, but are not limited to, the following: