Special Education

Mediation, Complaints & Due Process

If you have concerns about your student's special education services or disciplinary actions the first step is to talk to 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 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:

  • Mediation
  • Administrative Complaint Investigation
  • Due Process Hearing

If you would like more information on any of these procedures you can refer to the Parental Rights for Special Education

1. Mediation

When a district and a parent have a dispute they are unable to resolve, they may seek to address their differences through mediation. Mediation is a no-cost, voluntary process through which an impartial third party helps parties experiencing a conflict reach a suitable agreement. The Department encourages the use of mediation whenever a dispute arises in the identification, evaluation, placement, or provision of a free and appropriate public education of a child with disabilities.

A parent, guardian, surrogate parent, or the district may make a telephone or written request for mediation. Requests for mediation should be made to:

Alaska Special Education Mediation Services
C/O Dave Thomas
P.O. Box 4750
Whitefish, Montana 59937
Toll free: 800-580-2209
Fax: 406-863-9229

2. Administrative Complaint Investigation

Anyone, including parents, may file an administrative complaint with the State of Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. The Department will review, investigate, and take appropriate action on complaints alleging that a district or other education agency is acting contrary to State or Federal requirements for Special Education. If the complainant’s native language is other than English a proxy may file the written complaint. Complaints must allege violations that occurred not more than one year prior to the date of receipt, unless a longer period is reasonable because the violation is continuing, or the complainant is requesting compensatory services for a violation that occurred not more than three years before the complaint was received.

Any party has a right to present a complaint within 1 year of when the parents or agency knew, or should have known, of the alleged violation relating to identification, evaluation or educational placement of the child, or the provision of FAPE to such child.

A complaint may be filed by any party, organization or person (including from another state) and must be in writing. Complaints should be made to the Department with a copy sent to the District simultaneously and must include all required components listed on the complaint form.


Send SIGNED written complaints to:

Special Education Dispute Resolution
Alaska Department of Education & Early Development
Teaching & Learning Support, Special Education
801 W 10th St., Ste. 200
P.O. Box 110500
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0500

Or fax to: (907) 465-2806
Attention: Special Education Dispute Resolution

3. Due Process Hearings

Parents or district may file requests for due process hearings with the State of Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. Due process hearing costs are borne by districts. Further, due process hearings, conducted by trained hearing officers (lawyers), are tightly bound by law and regulation. Under Alaska statute, requests for due process hearings may concern: "... any issue related to identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child, or the provision of a free, appropriate, public education to the child." Parents may also request expedited due process hearings when the issue concerns student discipline.

Due Process Hearing Summaries

Hearing Officers

Kristen Bomengen
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 20813
Juneau, AK 99802
Phone: 907-523-2858
Fax: 907-523-2958 (Call First)

Contact by e-mail

Attended Alaska EED sponsored training:
September 2009
August 2010
September 2011

Sheila Gallagher
Attorney at Law
PMB 774 200 W. 34th
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone: 276-1641
Fax: 279-8262

Contact by e-mail

Attended Alaska EED sponsored training:
September 2008
August 2010
September 2011
September 2012

Jonathon A. Katcher
Attorney at Law
421 West First Ave., Ste. 220
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 272-8577
Fax: 274-8040

Contact by e-mail
Attended Alaska EED sponsored training:
September 2009
August 2010
September 2011
September 2012

Andrew Lebo
Attorney at Law
425 G Street, Suite 920
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 907-276-8275
Fax: 907-278-4848

Contact by e-mail

Attended Alaska EED sponsored training:
September 2009
August 2010
September 2011
September 2012

Thomas Slagle
Attorney at Law
6070 Trout Creek Ridge Rd
Parkdale, OR 97041
Phone: 907-321-5990
Fax: 541-386-2800

Contact by e-mail

Attended Alaska EED sponsored training:
September 2009
August 2010
September 2011
September 2012

Tim Seaver
Attorney at Law
500 L St, Suite 501
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: 907-646-9033
Fax: 907-276-8238

Contact by e-mail

Attended Alaska EED sponsored training:
September 2009
August 2010
September 2011

Steve Sorensen
Attorney at Law
One Sealaska Plaza
Suite 300
Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: 907-523-5219
Cell: 907-957-2052
Fax:907-586-3065

Contact by e-mail

Attended Alaska EED sponsered training:
September 2012

 

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