State Board seeks solution to due process delays



November 15, 2000                                   (217) 782-4648


Chicago – The Illinois State Board of Education will study the state’s special education impartial due process system in light of concerns about the high cost of impartial due process hearings.


The State Board today directed staff to review existing statutory requirements and related rules and regulations pertaining to the impartial hearing process in conjunction with special education directors, superintendents and the Advisory Council on Education of Children with Disabilities. State Board staff is to report its findings in February 2001.


This preliminary review may lead to a more in-depth study of the system in which parents and school systems often end up paying tens of thousands of dollars – and sometimes much more – to conduct hearings about special education students’ placement in school or behavioral issues.


State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee brought the issue to the Board’s attention after receiving several complaints from local school districts and parents. The hearings are conducted locally, but are governed by statute and rules established and enforced by the State Board.


Most hearings are relatively short, lasting only a day or two. But still they can cost up to $10,000 for the parents and approximately $18,000-$25,000 for districts.


More complex cases last longer and cost even more. For example, six hearings conducted since June 1999 lasted three to five days, two hearings took six to seven days, and one hearing lasted 19 days.


The latter hearing, involving Lake Bluff District 65 and the North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) cost the district/cooperative over $300,000 and the parents over $100,000.