Special Education

Mediation, IEP Facilitation, Administrative Complaint, and Due Process Hearing Request

If you have concerns about your student’s special education services or disciplinary actions, a good place to start is with your student’s regular or special education teacher, the building principal, or the school district’s special education administrator. It helps to deal with concerns when they first arise, so that steps can be taken as soon as possible to support the working relationship among parents, staff, and students.

If the concerns are not resolved, you can take further steps to address them, including requests for:


Below you will find information on each of these procedures. More information is located in the Parental Rights for Special Education.

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process that is available to resolve disputes under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at any point in the special education process. Mediation is free for both school districts and families. A trained, impartial mediator brings the parties in a dispute together in an attempt to reach a mutually agreeable resolution through a structured, but informal, meeting. Each meeting in the mediation process is scheduled in a timely manner and held at a place that is convenient for parents and the school district.

If you would like to find out more information or to request a mediation, contact:


Alaska Special Education Mediation Services
c/o Dave Thomas
PO Box 4750
Whitefish, MT 59937
Toll free: 1-800-580-2209
Fax: (406) 863-9229
Email: thomaswf@centurytel.net

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Facilitation

Individualized Education Program (IEP) facilitation is a voluntary process that can be used when all parties to an IEP meeting agree that the presence of a neutral third party would help to facilitate communication to encourage the successful drafting of the student’s IEP.  This process is not necessary for most IEP meetings, but can be helpful for IEP teams experiencing difficulty in communicating effectively.

An IEP facilitator has a thorough understanding of special education law and procedures.  They are not advocates for either party or any particular team member.  They help members of the IEP team focus on the issues at hand during the IEP meeting.  The facilitator’s role is to ensure that the participants interact respectfully, that the perspectives of all the participants are heard, and that the participants focus on the issues and future actions regarding the student’s program.

If you would like to find out more information or to request an IEP facilitation, contact:

Alaska Special Education Mediation Services
c/o Dave Thomas
PO Box 4750
Whitefish, MT 59937
Toll free: 1-800-580-2209
Fax: (406) 863-9229
Email: thomaswf@centurytel.net

Administrative Complaint

Any individual or organization, including parents, may file an administrative complaint alleging a violation of any requirement of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or its regulations by a school district, the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development, or any other public agency. The administrative complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than one year prior to the date that the complaint is received. An administrative complaint may allege a systemic violation, a violation of the rights of a specific child, or both. Only a parent can file an administrative complaint alleging that a school district is violating a due process hearing decision.

The administrative complaint must be signed, dated and include:

  1. A statement that a school district, the department, or other public agency has violated a requirement of the IDEA or its regulations;
  2. The facts on which the statement is based;
  3. The signature and contact information of the complainant; and
  4. If alleging violations regarding a specific child:
    1. The name of the child and address of the residence of the child;
    2. The name of the school the child is attending;
    3. In the case of a homeless child or youth, available contact information for the child, and the name of the school the child is attending;
    4. A description of the nature of the problem, including facts relating to the problem; and
    5. A proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the party filing the complaint at the time the complaint is filed (only required if the issues are related to a specific child).

The party filing the administrative complaint must forward a copy of the complaint to the school district or other public agency serving the child at the same time the party files the complaint with the department.

The department has a sample form available. The use of the sample form is optional.

Administrative Complaint Investigation Request - pdf

Administrative complaints may be mailed, emailed, or faxed to:

Special Education Dispute Resolution
Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Teacher and Learning Support
801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
PO Box 110500
Juneau, AK 99811-0500
Phone: (907) 465-8693
Fax: (907) 465-2806
Email: sped@alaska.gov

Due Process Hearing

Parents or school districts may file a request for due process hearing with the Department of Education & Early Development on any matter relating to a proposal or a refusal to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of your child, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to your child.

To file a due process hearing request, parents must do so within 12 months from the date the school district provided a written notice of the decision with which the parent disagrees.

The above timeline does not apply to you if you could not file a due process complaint within the timeline because:

  1. The school district specifically misrepresented that it had resolved the issues identified in the complaint; or
  2. The school district withheld information from you that it was required to provide you under Part B of the IDEA.

School districts must file a request for a due process hearing within 60 days after a parent takes the action or inaction that is the subject of the request.

Due process hearing costs are the responsibility of the district. Further, due process hearings, conducted by trained hearing officers (lawyers), are tightly bound by law and regulation.

The request for a due process hearing must include:

  1. The name of the child;
  2. The address of the child’s residence;
  3. The name of the child’s school;
  4. If the child is a homeless child or youth, the child’s contact information and the name of the child’s school;
  5. A description of the nature of the problem of the child relating to the proposed or refused action, including facts relating to the problem; and
  6. A proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to you or the school district at the time.

The department has a sample form available. The use of the sample form is optional.

Due Process Hearing Request - pdf

Due Process Hearing Requests may be mailed, emailed, or faxed to:

Special Education Dispute Resolution
Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Teacher and Learning Support
801 West 10th Street, Suite 200
PO Box 110500
Juneau, AK 99811-0500
Fax to: (907) 465-2806
Email: sped@alaska.gov

Once a request for a due process hearing is received by the department, a trained hearing officer is appointed.  The hearing officer will schedule and conduct a hearing that is reasonably convenient to the parent and the district. Hearing officers in Alaska have knowledge of the law pertaining to students with disabilities, and have been trained by the department. The hearing officer will be appointed through a random selection process. Please see below for a list of Alaska’s current hearing officers.

Hearing Officers

Linda Cerro
Attorney at Law
2118 Foraker Drive
Anchorage, AK 99517
Phone: 248-6944
lcerro@gci.net
Last Training: Oct 2014
                     

Kathleen Frederick
Attorney at Law
550 W 7th Ave, Suite 1940
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 269-8170
Fax: 269-8172
doa.oah@alaska.gov or
Kathleen.Frederick@alaska.gov
Last Training: Oct 2014

Sheila Gallagher
Attorney at Law
200 W 34th Ave,  PMB 774
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: 907-276-1641
Fax: 907-279-8262
Sheilagallagher1948@yahoo.com
Last Training: Oct 2014
Resume

Jonathon A. Katcher
Attorney at Law
421 West First Ave, Ste 220
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 907-272-8577
Fax: 907-274-8040
jkatcher@alaska.net
Last Training: Oct 2014
Resume

Andrew Lebo
Attorney at Law
550 W 7th Ave, Suite 1940
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 269-8170
Fax: 269-8172
doa.oah@alaska.gov or
Andrew.Lebo@alaska.gov
Last Training: Oct 2014
Resume

Tim Seaver
Attorney at Law
500 L St, Suite 501
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 907-646-9033
tseaver@seaverwagner.com
Last Training: Oct 2014
Resume

Thomas Slagle
Attorney at Law
350 Irwin St, Ste 101
Juneau, AK 99801
Cell: 907-321-5990
Fax: 541-386-2800
Thomasslagle@gmail.com
Last Training: Oct 2014
Resume

Alternate:
6070 Trout Creek Ridge Rd
Parkdale, OR 97041

Stephen (Neil) Slotnick
Attorney at Law
PO Box 110231
Juneau, AK 99811
Phone: 907-465-1886
Fax: 907-465-2280
doa.oah@alaska.gov or
Neil.slotnick@alaska.gov
Last Training: Oct 2014

Stephen Sorensen
Attorney at Law
One Sealaska Plaza, Ste 300
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: 907-523-5219
Cell: 907-957-2052
Fax: 907-586-3065
ssorensen@stsl.com
Last Training: Oct 2014
Resume

Contact Information

Department of Education & Early Development
ATTN: Office of Special Education Programs
801 W. 10th Street, Suite 200
P.O. Box 110500
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0500
Confidential Fax: (907) 465-2806
E-mail SPED Staff