A due process hearing is an administrative hearing that is presided over by an administrative hearing officer under contract to ISBE. In many ways, a due process hearing is similar to a trial: participants may be represented by lawyers, evidence may be presented, and witnesses may be called. The decision of an administrative hearing officer is legally binding on participants, and it may be appealed in a court of law.
How to access the process
A due process hearing may be requested for any reason and cannot be denied by the school district. To request a due process hearing, mail a letter to the school district’s superintendent. In this letter, be sure to note:
- Your child’s name, address, date of birth, and school
- Your name, address, and telephone number
- The reason or reasons for the request
- The remedy being sought
- Whether you plan to use legal counsel (if known)
It is suggested that you send this letter by certified mail.
Description of the process
Within 5 days of receiving your request for a due process hearing, the local superintendent will notify ISBE of your request. ISBE will appoint a hearing officer within 5 days of notification. The hearing officer, in turn, has 5 days from appointment in which to contact you. It may, then, take a total of over two weeks from the time of your request until you hear back from a hearing officer.
When you are contacted by the hearing officer, you will set a date for both the due process hearing and a pre-hearing conference. The pre-hearing conference must be held at least 14 days before the hearing itself, although it may be a teleconference. You will receive written notice of both the pre-hearing conference and the hearing at least ten days prior to each.
At the pre-hearing conference, ground rules for the hearing itself will be set. It is also at this time that both sides must provide a listing of the evidence and witnesses that will be brought forward at the hearing.
At the hearing, each side will have the opportunity to present evidence and to confront and call witnesses.
After the hearing, both parties will receive a written decision within 10 days. Unless the hearing officer grants a continuance, this will be within 45 days of the initial receipt of the request for a hearing. Verbatim records of the proceedings are available if requested.
A video is available that is titled Due Process – Resolving Special Education Disputes. This video explains the due process hearing procedures in greater detail. It is available from:
- Local special education directors
- In Urbana, call (217) 384-3600
- In Champaign, call (217) 351-3841
- (217) 782-5589
- View via streaming video on the Internet at: http://www.isbe.state.il.us/spec-ed/default.htm
- Parent Training and Information Centers
- Family Matters
2502 South Veterans Drive
Effingham, IL 62401
- Family Matters