Bill Text: IL HB2618 | 2017-2018 | 100th General Assembly | Engrossed

Bill Title: Amends the Children with Disabilities Article of the School Code. For parties who agree to not use mediation during a challenge, provides that a parent shall have 10 days after a party declines to use mediation to file a request for a due process hearing to allow the student to remain in his or her present educational placement. Effective immediately.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 4-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2017-05-15 - Placed on Calendar Order of 3rd Reading May 16, 2017 [HB2618 Detail]

Download: Illinois-2017-HB2618-Engrossed.html

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1 AN ACT concerning education.
2 Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4 Section 5. The School Code is amended by changing Sections
514-8.02 and 14-8.02a as follows:
6 (105 ILCS 5/14-8.02) (from Ch. 122, par. 14-8.02)
7 Sec. 14-8.02. Identification, evaluation and placement of
9 (a) The State Board of Education shall make rules under
10which local school boards shall determine the eligibility of
11children to receive special education. Such rules shall ensure
12that a free appropriate public education be available to all
13children with disabilities as defined in Section 14-1.02. The
14State Board of Education shall require local school districts
15to administer non-discriminatory procedures or tests to
16English learners coming from homes in which a language other
17than English is used to determine their eligibility to receive
18special education. The placement of low English proficiency
19students in special education programs and facilities shall be
20made in accordance with the test results reflecting the
21student's linguistic, cultural and special education needs.
22For purposes of determining the eligibility of children the
23State Board of Education shall include in the rules definitions

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1of "case study", "staff conference", "individualized
2educational program", and "qualified specialist" appropriate
3to each category of children with disabilities as defined in
4this Article. For purposes of determining the eligibility of
5children from homes in which a language other than English is
6used, the State Board of Education shall include in the rules
7definitions for "qualified bilingual specialists" and
8"linguistically and culturally appropriate individualized
9educational programs". For purposes of this Section, as well as
10Sections 14-8.02a, 14-8.02b, and 14-8.02c of this Code,
11"parent" means a parent as defined in the federal Individuals
12with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1401(23)).
13 (b) No child shall be eligible for special education
14facilities except with a carefully completed case study fully
15reviewed by professional personnel in a multidisciplinary
16staff conference and only upon the recommendation of qualified
17specialists or a qualified bilingual specialist, if available.
18At the conclusion of the multidisciplinary staff conference,
19the parent of the child shall be given a copy of the
20multidisciplinary conference summary report and
21recommendations, which includes options considered, and be
22informed of their right to obtain an independent educational
23evaluation if they disagree with the evaluation findings
24conducted or obtained by the school district. If the school
25district's evaluation is shown to be inappropriate, the school
26district shall reimburse the parent for the cost of the

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1independent evaluation. The State Board of Education shall,
2with advice from the State Advisory Council on Education of
3Children with Disabilities on the inclusion of specific
4independent educational evaluators, prepare a list of
5suggested independent educational evaluators. The State Board
6of Education shall include on the list clinical psychologists
7licensed pursuant to the Clinical Psychologist Licensing Act.
8Such psychologists shall not be paid fees in excess of the
9amount that would be received by a school psychologist for
10performing the same services. The State Board of Education
11shall supply school districts with such list and make the list
12available to parents at their request. School districts shall
13make the list available to parents at the time they are
14informed of their right to obtain an independent educational
15evaluation. However, the school district may initiate an
16impartial due process hearing under this Section within 5 days
17of any written parent request for an independent educational
18evaluation to show that its evaluation is appropriate. If the
19final decision is that the evaluation is appropriate, the
20parent still has a right to an independent educational
21evaluation, but not at public expense. An independent
22educational evaluation at public expense must be completed
23within 30 days of a parent written request unless the school
24district initiates an impartial due process hearing or the
25parent or school district offers reasonable grounds to show
26that such 30 day time period should be extended. If the due

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1process hearing decision indicates that the parent is entitled
2to an independent educational evaluation, it must be completed
3within 30 days of the decision unless the parent or the school
4district offers reasonable grounds to show that such 30 day
5period should be extended. If a parent disagrees with the
6summary report or recommendations of the multidisciplinary
7conference or the findings of any educational evaluation which
8results therefrom, the school district shall not proceed with a
9placement based upon such evaluation and the child shall remain
10in his or her regular classroom setting. No child shall be
11eligible for admission to a special class for children with a
12mental disability who are educable or for children with a
13mental disability who are trainable except with a psychological
14evaluation and recommendation by a school psychologist.
15Consent shall be obtained from the parent of a child before any
16evaluation is conducted. If consent is not given by the parent
17or if the parent disagrees with the findings of the evaluation,
18then the school district may initiate an impartial due process
19hearing under this Section. The school district may evaluate
20the child if that is the decision resulting from the impartial
21due process hearing and the decision is not appealed or if the
22decision is affirmed on appeal. The determination of
23eligibility shall be made and the IEP meeting shall be
24completed within 60 school days from the date of written
25parental consent. In those instances when written parental
26consent is obtained with fewer than 60 pupil attendance days

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1left in the school year, the eligibility determination shall be
2made and the IEP meeting shall be completed prior to the first
3day of the following school year. Special education and related
4services must be provided in accordance with the student's IEP
5no later than 10 school attendance days after notice is
6provided to the parents pursuant to Section 300.503 of Title 34
7of the Code of Federal Regulations and implementing rules
8adopted by the State Board of Education. The appropriate
9program pursuant to the individualized educational program of
10students whose native tongue is a language other than English
11shall reflect the special education, cultural and linguistic
12needs. No later than September 1, 1993, the State Board of
13Education shall establish standards for the development,
14implementation and monitoring of appropriate bilingual special
15individualized educational programs. The State Board of
16Education shall further incorporate appropriate monitoring
17procedures to verify implementation of these standards. The
18district shall indicate to the parent and the State Board of
19Education the nature of the services the child will receive for
20the regular school term while waiting placement in the
21appropriate special education class.
22 If the child is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, or visually
23impaired and he or she might be eligible to receive services
24from the Illinois School for the Deaf or the Illinois School
25for the Visually Impaired, the school district shall notify the
26parents, in writing, of the existence of these schools and the

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1services they provide and shall make a reasonable effort to
2inform the parents of the existence of other, local schools
3that provide similar services and the services that these other
4schools provide. This notification shall include without
5limitation information on school services, school admissions
6criteria, and school contact information.
7 In the development of the individualized education program
8for a student who has a disability on the autism spectrum
9(which includes autistic disorder, Asperger's disorder,
10pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified,
11childhood disintegrative disorder, and Rett Syndrome, as
12defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental
13Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV, 2000)), the IEP team shall
14consider all of the following factors:
15 (1) The verbal and nonverbal communication needs of the
16 child.
17 (2) The need to develop social interaction skills and
18 proficiencies.
19 (3) The needs resulting from the child's unusual
20 responses to sensory experiences.
21 (4) The needs resulting from resistance to
22 environmental change or change in daily routines.
23 (5) The needs resulting from engagement in repetitive
24 activities and stereotyped movements.
25 (6) The need for any positive behavioral
26 interventions, strategies, and supports to address any

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1 behavioral difficulties resulting from autism spectrum
2 disorder.
3 (7) Other needs resulting from the child's disability
4 that impact progress in the general curriculum, including
5 social and emotional development.
6Public Act 95-257 does not create any new entitlement to a
7service, program, or benefit, but must not affect any
8entitlement to a service, program, or benefit created by any
9other law.
10 If the student may be eligible to participate in the
11Home-Based Support Services Program for Adults with Mental
12Disabilities authorized under the Developmental Disability and
13Mental Disability Services Act upon becoming an adult, the
14student's individualized education program shall include plans
15for (i) determining the student's eligibility for those
16home-based services, (ii) enrolling the student in the program
17of home-based services, and (iii) developing a plan for the
18student's most effective use of the home-based services after
19the student becomes an adult and no longer receives special
20educational services under this Article. The plans developed
21under this paragraph shall include specific actions to be taken
22by specified individuals, agencies, or officials.
23 (c) In the development of the individualized education
24program for a student who is functionally blind, it shall be
25presumed that proficiency in Braille reading and writing is
26essential for the student's satisfactory educational progress.

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1For purposes of this subsection, the State Board of Education
2shall determine the criteria for a student to be classified as
3functionally blind. Students who are not currently identified
4as functionally blind who are also entitled to Braille
5instruction include: (i) those whose vision loss is so severe
6that they are unable to read and write at a level comparable to
7their peers solely through the use of vision, and (ii) those
8who show evidence of progressive vision loss that may result in
9functional blindness. Each student who is functionally blind
10shall be entitled to Braille reading and writing instruction
11that is sufficient to enable the student to communicate with
12the same level of proficiency as other students of comparable
13ability. Instruction should be provided to the extent that the
14student is physically and cognitively able to use Braille.
15Braille instruction may be used in combination with other
16special education services appropriate to the student's
17educational needs. The assessment of each student who is
18functionally blind for the purpose of developing the student's
19individualized education program shall include documentation
20of the student's strengths and weaknesses in Braille skills.
21Each person assisting in the development of the individualized
22education program for a student who is functionally blind shall
23receive information describing the benefits of Braille
24instruction. The individualized education program for each
25student who is functionally blind shall specify the appropriate
26learning medium or media based on the assessment report.

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1 (d) To the maximum extent appropriate, the placement shall
2provide the child with the opportunity to be educated with
3children who do not have a disability; provided that children
4with disabilities who are recommended to be placed into regular
5education classrooms are provided with supplementary services
6to assist the children with disabilities to benefit from the
7regular classroom instruction and are included on the teacher's
8regular education class register. Subject to the limitation of
9the preceding sentence, placement in special classes, separate
10schools or other removal of the child with a disability from
11the regular educational environment shall occur only when the
12nature of the severity of the disability is such that education
13in the regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and
14services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. The placement of
15English learners with disabilities shall be in non-restrictive
16environments which provide for integration with peers who do
17not have disabilities in bilingual classrooms. Annually, each
18January, school districts shall report data on students from
19non-English speaking backgrounds receiving special education
20and related services in public and private facilities as
21prescribed in Section 2-3.30. If there is a disagreement
22between parties involved regarding the special education
23placement of any child, either in-state or out-of-state, the
24placement is subject to impartial due process procedures
25described in Article 10 of the Rules and Regulations to Govern
26the Administration and Operation of Special Education.

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1 (e) No child who comes from a home in which a language
2other than English is the principal language used may be
3assigned to any class or program under this Article until he
4has been given, in the principal language used by the child and
5used in his home, tests reasonably related to his cultural
6environment. All testing and evaluation materials and
7procedures utilized for evaluation and placement shall not be
8linguistically, racially or culturally discriminatory.
9 (f) Nothing in this Article shall be construed to require
10any child to undergo any physical examination or medical
11treatment whose parents object thereto on the grounds that such
12examination or treatment conflicts with his religious beliefs.
13 (g) School boards or their designee shall provide to the
14parents of a child prior written notice of any decision (a)
15proposing to initiate or change, or (b) refusing to initiate or
16change, the identification, evaluation, or educational
17placement of the child or the provision of a free appropriate
18public education to their child, and the reasons therefor. Such
19written notification shall also inform the parent of the
20opportunity to present complaints with respect to any matter
21relating to the educational placement of the student, or the
22provision of a free appropriate public education and to have an
23impartial due process hearing on the complaint. The notice
24shall inform the parents in the parents' native language,
25unless it is clearly not feasible to do so, of their rights and
26all procedures available pursuant to this Act and the federal

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1Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of
22004 (Public Law 108-446); it shall be the responsibility of
3the State Superintendent to develop uniform notices setting
4forth the procedures available under this Act and the federal
5Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of
62004 (Public Law 108-446) to be used by all school boards. The
7notice shall also inform the parents of the availability upon
8request of a list of free or low-cost legal and other relevant
9services available locally to assist parents in initiating an
10impartial due process hearing. The State Superintendent shall
11revise the uniform notices required by this subsection (g) to
12reflect current law and procedures at least once every 2 years.
13Any parent who is deaf, or does not normally communicate using
14spoken English, who participates in a meeting with a
15representative of a local educational agency for the purposes
16of developing an individualized educational program shall be
17entitled to the services of an interpreter.
18 (g-5) For purposes of this subsection (g-5), "qualified
19professional" means an individual who holds credentials to
20evaluate the child in the domain or domains for which an
21evaluation is sought or an intern working under the direct
22supervision of a qualified professional, including a master's
23or doctoral degree candidate.
24 To ensure that a parent can participate fully and
25effectively with school personnel in the development of
26appropriate educational and related services for his or her

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1child, the parent, an independent educational evaluator, or a
2qualified professional retained by or on behalf of a parent or
3child must be afforded reasonable access to educational
4facilities, personnel, classrooms, and buildings and to the
5child as provided in this subsection (g-5). The requirements of
6this subsection (g-5) apply to any public school facility,
7building, or program and to any facility, building, or program
8supported in whole or in part by public funds. Prior to
9visiting a school, school building, or school facility, the
10parent, independent educational evaluator, or qualified
11professional may be required by the school district to inform
12the building principal or supervisor in writing of the proposed
13visit, the purpose of the visit, and the approximate duration
14of the visit. The visitor and the school district shall arrange
15the visit or visits at times that are mutually agreeable.
16Visitors shall comply with school safety, security, and
17visitation policies at all times. School district visitation
18policies must not conflict with this subsection (g-5). Visitors
19shall be required to comply with the requirements of applicable
20privacy laws, including those laws protecting the
21confidentiality of education records such as the federal Family
22Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Illinois School
23Student Records Act. The visitor shall not disrupt the
24educational process.
25 (1) A parent must be afforded reasonable access of
26 sufficient duration and scope for the purpose of observing

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1 his or her child in the child's current educational
2 placement, services, or program or for the purpose of
3 visiting an educational placement or program proposed for
4 the child.
5 (2) An independent educational evaluator or a
6 qualified professional retained by or on behalf of a parent
7 or child must be afforded reasonable access of sufficient
8 duration and scope for the purpose of conducting an
9 evaluation of the child, the child's performance, the
10 child's current educational program, placement, services,
11 or environment, or any educational program, placement,
12 services, or environment proposed for the child, including
13 interviews of educational personnel, child observations,
14 assessments, tests or assessments of the child's
15 educational program, services, or placement or of any
16 proposed educational program, services, or placement. If
17 one or more interviews of school personnel are part of the
18 evaluation, the interviews must be conducted at a mutually
19 agreed upon time, date, and place that do not interfere
20 with the school employee's school duties. The school
21 district may limit interviews to personnel having
22 information relevant to the child's current educational
23 services, program, or placement or to a proposed
24 educational service, program, or placement.
25 (h) (Blank).
26 (i) (Blank).

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1 (j) (Blank).
2 (k) (Blank).
3 (l) (Blank).
4 (m) (Blank).
5 (n) (Blank).
6 (o) (Blank).
7(Source: P.A. 98-219, eff. 8-9-13; 99-30, eff. 7-10-15; 99-143,
8eff. 7-27-15; 99-642, eff. 7-28-16.)
9 (105 ILCS 5/14-8.02a)
10 Sec. 14-8.02a. Impartial due process hearing; civil
12 (a) This Section shall apply to all impartial due process
13hearings requested on or after July 1, 2005. Impartial due
14process hearings requested before July 1, 2005 shall be
15governed by the rules described in Public Act 89-652.
16 (a-5) For purposes of this Section and Section 14-8.02b of
17this Code, days shall be computed in accordance with Section
181.11 of the Statute on Statutes.
19 (b) The State Board of Education shall establish an
20impartial due process hearing system in accordance with this
21Section and may, with the advice and approval of the Advisory
22Council on Education of Children with Disabilities, promulgate
23rules and regulations consistent with this Section to establish
24the rules and procedures for due process hearings.
25 (c) (Blank).

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1 (d) (Blank).
2 (e) (Blank).
3 (f) An impartial due process hearing shall be convened upon
4the request of a parent, student if at least 18 years of age or
5emancipated, or a school district. A school district shall make
6a request in writing to the State Board of Education and
7promptly mail a copy of the request to the parents or student
8(if at least 18 years of age or emancipated) at the parent's or
9student's last known address. A request made by the parent or
10student shall be made in writing to the superintendent of the
11school district where the student resides. The superintendent
12shall forward the request to the State Board of Education
13within 5 days after receipt of the request. The request shall
14be filed no more than 2 years following the date the person or
15school district knew or should have known of the event or
16events forming the basis for the request. The request shall, at
17a minimum, contain all of the following:
18 (1) The name of the student, the address of the
19 student's residence, and the name of the school the student
20 is attending.
21 (2) In the case of homeless children (as defined under
22 the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42
23 U.S.C. 11434a(2)), available contact information for the
24 student and the name of the school the student is
25 attending.
26 (3) A description of the nature of the problem relating

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1 to the actual or proposed placement, identification,
2 services, or evaluation of the student, including facts
3 relating to the problem.
4 (4) A proposed resolution of the problem to the extent
5 known and available to the party at the time.
6 (f-5) Within 3 days after receipt of the hearing request,
7the State Board of Education shall appoint a due process
8hearing officer using a rotating appointment system and shall
9notify the hearing officer of his or her appointment.
10 For a school district other than a school district located
11in a municipality having a population exceeding 500,000, a
12hearing officer who is a current resident of the school
13district, special education cooperative, or other public
14entity involved in the hearing shall recuse himself or herself.
15A hearing officer who is a former employee of the school
16district, special education cooperative, or other public
17entity involved in the hearing shall immediately disclose the
18former employment to the parties and shall recuse himself or
19herself, unless the parties otherwise agree in writing. A
20hearing officer having a personal or professional interest that
21may conflict with his or her objectivity in the hearing shall
22disclose the conflict to the parties and shall recuse himself
23or herself unless the parties otherwise agree in writing. For
24purposes of this subsection an assigned hearing officer shall
25be considered to have a conflict of interest if, at any time
26prior to the issuance of his or her written decision, he or she

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1knows or should know that he or she may receive remuneration
2from a party to the hearing within 3 years following the
3conclusion of the due process hearing.
4 A party to a due process hearing shall be permitted one
5substitution of hearing officer as a matter of right, in
6accordance with procedures established by the rules adopted by
7the State Board of Education under this Section. The State
8Board of Education shall randomly select and appoint another
9hearing officer within 3 days after receiving notice that the
10appointed hearing officer is ineligible to serve or upon
11receiving a proper request for substitution of hearing officer.
12If a party withdraws its request for a due process hearing
13after a hearing officer has been appointed, that hearing
14officer shall retain jurisdiction over a subsequent hearing
15that involves the same parties and is requested within one year
16from the date of withdrawal of the previous request, unless
17that hearing officer is unavailable.
18 Any party may raise facts that constitute a conflict of
19interest for the hearing officer at any time before or during
20the hearing and may move for recusal.
21 (g) Impartial due process hearings shall be conducted
22pursuant to this Section and any rules and regulations
23promulgated by the State Board of Education consistent with
24this Section and other governing laws and regulations. The
25hearing shall address only those issues properly raised in the
26hearing request under subsection (f) of this Section or, if

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1applicable, in the amended hearing request under subsection
2(g-15) of this Section. The hearing shall be closed to the
3public unless the parents request that the hearing be open to
4the public. The parents involved in the hearing shall have the
5right to have the student who is the subject of the hearing
6present. The hearing shall be held at a time and place which
7are reasonably convenient to the parties involved. Upon the
8request of a party, the hearing officer shall hold the hearing
9at a location neutral to the parties if the hearing officer
10determines that there is no cost for securing the use of the
11neutral location. Once appointed, the impartial due process
12hearing officer shall not communicate with the State Board of
13Education or its employees concerning the hearing, except that,
14where circumstances require, communications for administrative
15purposes that do not deal with substantive or procedural
16matters or issues on the merits are authorized, provided that
17the hearing officer promptly notifies all parties of the
18substance of the communication as a matter of record.
19 (g-5) Unless the school district has previously provided
20prior written notice to the parent or student (if at least 18
21years of age or emancipated) regarding the subject matter of
22the hearing request, the school district shall, within 10 days
23after receiving a hearing request initiated by a parent or
24student (if at least 18 years of age or emancipated), provide a
25written response to the request that shall include all of the

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1 (1) An explanation of why the school district proposed
2 or refused to take the action or actions described in the
3 hearing request.
4 (2) A description of other options the IEP team
5 considered and the reasons why those options were rejected.
6 (3) A description of each evaluation procedure,
7 assessment, record, report, or other evidence the school
8 district used as the basis for the proposed or refused
9 action or actions.
10 (4) A description of the factors that are or were
11 relevant to the school district's proposed or refused
12 action or actions.
13 (g-10) When the hearing request has been initiated by a
14school district, within 10 days after receiving the request,
15the parent or student (if at least 18 years of age or
16emancipated) shall provide the school district with a response
17that specifically addresses the issues raised in the school
18district's hearing request. The parent's or student's response
19shall be provided in writing, unless he or she is illiterate or
20has a disability that prevents him or her from providing a
21written response. The parent's or student's response may be
22provided in his or her native language, if other than English.
23In the event that illiteracy or another disabling condition
24prevents the parent or student from providing a written
25response, the school district shall assist the parent or
26student in providing the written response.

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1 (g-15) Within 15 days after receiving notice of the hearing
2request, the non-requesting party may challenge the
3sufficiency of the request by submitting its challenge in
4writing to the hearing officer. Within 5 days after receiving
5the challenge to the sufficiency of the request, the hearing
6officer shall issue a determination of the challenge in writing
7to the parties. In the event that the hearing officer upholds
8the challenge, the party who requested the hearing may, with
9the consent of the non-requesting party or hearing officer,
10file an amended request. Amendments are permissible for the
11purpose of raising issues beyond those in the initial hearing
12request. In addition, the party who requested the hearing may
13amend the request once as a matter of right by filing the
14amended request within 5 days after filing the initial request.
15An amended request, other than an amended request as a matter
16of right, shall be filed by the date determined by the hearing
17officer, but in no event any later than 5 days prior to the
18date of the hearing. If an amended request, other than an
19amended request as a matter of right, raises issues that were
20not part of the initial request, the applicable timeline for a
21hearing, including the timeline under subsection (g-20) of this
22Section, shall recommence.
23 (g-20) Within 15 days after receiving a request for a
24hearing from a parent or student (if at least 18 years of age
25or emancipated) or, in the event that the school district
26requests a hearing, within 15 days after initiating the

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1request, the school district shall convene a resolution meeting
2with the parent and relevant members of the IEP team who have
3specific knowledge of the facts contained in the request for
4the purpose of resolving the problem that resulted in the
5request. The resolution meeting shall include a representative
6of the school district who has decision-making authority on
7behalf of the school district. Unless the parent is accompanied
8by an attorney at the resolution meeting, the school district
9may not include an attorney representing the school district.
10 The resolution meeting may not be waived unless agreed to
11in writing by the school district and the parent or student (if
12at least 18 years of age or emancipated) or the parent or
13student (if at least 18 years of age or emancipated) and the
14school district agree in writing to utilize mediation in place
15of the resolution meeting. If either party fails to cooperate
16in the scheduling or convening of the resolution meeting, the
17hearing officer may order an extension of the timeline for
18completion of the resolution meeting or, upon the motion of a
19party and at least 7 days after ordering the non-cooperating
20party to cooperate, order the dismissal of the hearing request
21or the granting of all relief set forth in the request, as
23 In the event that the school district and the parent or
24student (if at least 18 years of age or emancipated) agree to a
25resolution of the problem that resulted in the hearing request,
26the terms of the resolution shall be committed to writing and

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1signed by the parent or student (if at least 18 years of age or
2emancipated) and the representative of the school district with
3decision-making authority. The agreement shall be legally
4binding and shall be enforceable in any State or federal court
5of competent jurisdiction. In the event that the parties
6utilize the resolution meeting process, the process shall
7continue until no later than the 30th day following the receipt
8of the hearing request by the non-requesting party (or as
9properly extended by order of the hearing officer) to resolve
10the issues underlying the request, at which time the timeline
11for completion of the impartial due process hearing shall
12commence. The State Board of Education may, by rule, establish
13additional procedures for the conduct of resolution meetings.
14 (g-25) If mutually agreed to in writing, the parties to a
15hearing request may request State-sponsored mediation as a
16substitute for the resolution process described in subsection
17(g-20) of this Section or may utilize mediation at the close of
18the resolution process if all issues underlying the hearing
19request have not been resolved through the resolution process.
20 (g-30) If mutually agreed to in writing, the parties to a
21hearing request may waive the resolution process described in
22subsection (g-20) of this Section. Upon signing a written
23agreement to waive the resolution process, the parties shall be
24required to forward the written waiver to the hearing officer
25appointed to the case within 2 business days following the
26signing of the waiver by the parties. The timeline for the

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1impartial due process hearing shall commence on the date of the
2signing of the waiver by the parties.
3 (g-35) The timeline for completing the impartial due
4process hearing, as set forth in subsection (h) of this
5Section, shall be initiated upon the occurrence of any one of
6the following events:
7 (1) The unsuccessful completion of the resolution
8 process as described in subsection (g-20) of this Section.
9 (2) The mutual agreement of the parties to waive the
10 resolution process as described in subsection (g-25) or
11 (g-30) of this Section.
12 (g-40) The hearing officer shall convene a prehearing
13conference no later than 14 days before the scheduled date for
14the due process hearing for the general purpose of aiding in
15the fair, orderly, and expeditious conduct of the hearing. The
16hearing officer shall provide the parties with written notice
17of the prehearing conference at least 7 days in advance of the
18conference. The written notice shall require the parties to
19notify the hearing officer by a date certain whether they
20intend to participate in the prehearing conference. The hearing
21officer may conduct the prehearing conference in person or by
22telephone. Each party shall at the prehearing conference (1)
23disclose whether it is represented by legal counsel or intends
24to retain legal counsel; (2) clarify matters it believes to be
25in dispute in the case and the specific relief being sought;
26(3) disclose whether there are any additional evaluations for

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1the student that it intends to introduce into the hearing
2record that have not been previously disclosed to the other
3parties; (4) disclose a list of all documents it intends to
4introduce into the hearing record, including the date and a
5brief description of each document; and (5) disclose the names
6of all witnesses it intends to call to testify at the hearing.
7The hearing officer shall specify the order of presentation to
8be used at the hearing. If the prehearing conference is held by
9telephone, the parties shall transmit the information required
10in this paragraph in such a manner that it is available to all
11parties at the time of the prehearing conference. The State
12Board of Education may, by rule, establish additional
13procedures for the conduct of prehearing conferences.
14 (g-45) The impartial due process hearing officer shall not
15initiate or participate in any ex parte communications with the
16parties, except to arrange the date, time, and location of the
17prehearing conference, due process hearing, or other status
18conferences convened at the discretion of the hearing officer
19and to receive confirmation of whether a party intends to
20participate in the prehearing conference.
21 (g-50) The parties shall disclose and provide to each other
22any evidence which they intend to submit into the hearing
23record no later than 5 days before the hearing. Any party to a
24hearing has the right to prohibit the introduction of any
25evidence at the hearing that has not been disclosed to that
26party at least 5 days before the hearing. The party requesting

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1a hearing shall not be permitted at the hearing to raise issues
2that were not raised in the party's initial or amended request,
3unless otherwise permitted in this Section.
4 (g-55) All reasonable efforts must be made by the parties
5to present their respective cases at the hearing within a
6cumulative period of 7 days. When scheduling hearing dates, the
7hearing officer shall schedule the final day of the hearing no
8more than 30 calendar days after the first day of the hearing
9unless good cause is shown. This subsection (g-55) shall not be
10applied in a manner that (i) denies any party to the hearing a
11fair and reasonable allocation of time and opportunity to
12present its case in its entirety or (ii) deprives any party to
13the hearing of the safeguards accorded under the federal
14Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of
152004 (Public Law 108-446), regulations promulgated under the
16Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of
172004, or any other applicable law. The school district shall
18present evidence that the special education needs of the child
19have been appropriately identified and that the special
20education program and related services proposed to meet the
21needs of the child are adequate, appropriate, and available.
22Any party to the hearing shall have the right to (1) be
23represented by counsel and be accompanied and advised by
24individuals with special knowledge or training with respect to
25the problems of children with disabilities, at the party's own
26expense; (2) present evidence and confront and cross-examine

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1witnesses; (3) move for the exclusion of witnesses from the
2hearing until they are called to testify, provided, however,
3that this provision may not be invoked to exclude the
4individual designated by a party to assist that party or its
5representative in the presentation of the case; (4) obtain a
6written or electronic verbatim record of the proceedings within
730 days of receipt of a written request from the parents by the
8school district; and (5) obtain a written decision, including
9findings of fact and conclusions of law, within 10 days after
10the conclusion of the hearing. If at issue, the school district
11shall present evidence that it has properly identified and
12evaluated the nature and severity of the student's suspected or
13identified disability and that, if the student has been or
14should have been determined eligible for special education and
15related services, that it is providing or has offered a free
16appropriate public education to the student in the least
17restrictive environment, consistent with procedural safeguards
18and in accordance with an individualized educational program.
19At any time prior to the conclusion of the hearing, the
20impartial due process hearing officer shall have the authority
21to require additional information and order independent
22evaluations for the student at the expense of the school
23district. The State Board of Education and the school district
24shall share equally the costs of providing a written or
25electronic verbatim record of the proceedings. Any party may
26request that the due process hearing officer issue a subpoena

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1to compel the testimony of witnesses or the production of
2documents relevant to the resolution of the hearing. Whenever a
3person refuses to comply with any subpoena issued under this
4Section, the circuit court of the county in which that hearing
5is pending, on application of the impartial hearing officer or
6the party requesting the issuance of the subpoena, may compel
7compliance through the contempt powers of the court in the same
8manner as if the requirements of a subpoena issued by the court
9had been disobeyed.
10 (h) The impartial hearing officer shall issue a written
11decision, including findings of fact and conclusions of law,
12within 10 days after the conclusion of the hearing and send by
13certified mail a copy of the decision to the parents or student
14(if the student requests the hearing), the school district, the
15director of special education, legal representatives of the
16parties, and the State Board of Education. Unless the hearing
17officer has granted specific extensions of time at the request
18of a party, a final decision, including the clarification of a
19decision requested under this subsection, shall be reached and
20mailed to the parties named above not later than 45 days after
21the initiation of the timeline for conducting the hearing, as
22described in subsection (g-35) of this Section. The decision
23shall specify the educational and related services that shall
24be provided to the student in accordance with the student's
25needs and the timeline for which the school district shall
26submit evidence to the State Board of Education to demonstrate

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1compliance with the hearing officer's decision in the event
2that the decision orders the school district to undertake
3corrective action. The hearing officer shall retain
4jurisdiction for the sole purpose of considering a request for
5clarification of the final decision submitted in writing by a
6party to the impartial hearing officer within 5 days after
7receipt of the decision. A copy of the request for
8clarification shall specify the portions of the decision for
9which clarification is sought and shall be mailed to all
10parties of record and to the State Board of Education. The
11request shall operate to stay implementation of those portions
12of the decision for which clarification is sought, pending
13action on the request by the hearing officer, unless the
14parties otherwise agree. The hearing officer shall issue a
15clarification of the specified portion of the decision or issue
16a partial or full denial of the request in writing within 10
17days of receipt of the request and mail copies to all parties
18to whom the decision was mailed. This subsection does not
19permit a party to request, or authorize a hearing officer to
20entertain, reconsideration of the decision itself. The statute
21of limitations for seeking review of the decision shall be
22tolled from the date the request is submitted until the date
23the hearing officer acts upon the request. The hearing
24officer's decision shall be binding upon the school district
25and the parents unless a civil action is commenced.
26 (i) Any party to an impartial due process hearing aggrieved

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1by the final written decision of the impartial due process
2hearing officer shall have the right to commence a civil action
3with respect to the issues presented in the impartial due
4process hearing. That civil action shall be brought in any
5court of competent jurisdiction within 120 days after a copy of
6the decision of the impartial due process hearing officer is
7mailed to the party as provided in subsection (h). The civil
8action authorized by this subsection shall not be exclusive of
9any rights or causes of action otherwise available. The
10commencement of a civil action under this subsection shall
11operate as a supersedeas. In any action brought under this
12subsection the Court shall receive the records of the impartial
13due process hearing, shall hear additional evidence at the
14request of a party, and, basing its decision on the
15preponderance of the evidence, shall grant such relief as the
16court determines is appropriate. In any instance where a school
17district willfully disregards applicable regulations or
18statutes regarding a child covered by this Article, and which
19disregard has been detrimental to the child, the school
20district shall be liable for any reasonable attorney's fees
21incurred by the parent in connection with proceedings under
22this Section.
23 (j) During the pendency of any administrative or judicial
24proceeding conducted pursuant to this Section, including
25mediation (if the school district or other public entity
26voluntarily agrees to participate in mediation), unless the

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1school district and the parents or student (if at least 18
2years of age or emancipated) otherwise agree, the student shall
3remain in his or her present educational placement and continue
4in his or her present eligibility status and special education
5and related services, if any. If mediation fails to resolve the
6dispute between the parties, or if the parties do not agree to
7use mediation, the parent (or student if 18 years of age or
8older or emancipated) shall have 10 days after the mediation
9concludes, or after a party declines to use mediation, to file
10a request for a due process hearing in order to continue to
11invoke the "stay-put" provisions of this subsection (j). If
12applying for initial admission to the school district, the
13student shall, with the consent of the parents (if the student
14is not at least 18 years of age or emancipated), be placed in
15the school district program until all such proceedings have
16been completed. The costs for any special education and related
17services or placement incurred following 60 school days after
18the initial request for evaluation shall be borne by the school
19district if the services or placement is in accordance with the
20final determination as to the special education and related
21services or placement that must be provided to the child,
22provided that during that 60 day period there have been no
23delays caused by the child's parent. The requirements and
24procedures of this subsection (j) shall be included in the
25uniform notices developed by the State Superintendent under
26subsection (g) of Section 14-8.02 of this Code.

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1 (k) Whenever the parents of a child of the type described
2in Section 14-1.02 are not known, are unavailable, or the child
3is a ward of the State, a person shall be assigned to serve as
4surrogate parent for the child in matters relating to the
5identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the
6child and the provision of a free appropriate public education
7to the child. Persons shall be assigned as surrogate parents by
8the State Superintendent of Education. The State Board of
9Education shall promulgate rules and regulations establishing
10qualifications of those persons and their responsibilities and
11the procedures to be followed in making assignments of persons
12as surrogate parents. Surrogate parents shall not be employees
13of the school district, an agency created by joint agreement
14under Section 10-22.31, an agency involved in the education or
15care of the student, or the State Board of Education. Services
16of any person assigned as surrogate parent shall terminate if
17the parent becomes available unless otherwise requested by the
18parents. The assignment of a person as surrogate parent at no
19time supersedes, terminates, or suspends the parents' legal
20authority relative to the child. Any person participating in
21good faith as surrogate parent on behalf of the child before
22school officials or a hearing officer shall have immunity from
23civil or criminal liability that otherwise might result by
24reason of that participation, except in cases of willful and
25wanton misconduct.
26 (l) At all stages of the hearing the hearing officer shall

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1require that interpreters be made available by the school
2district for persons who are deaf or for persons whose normally
3spoken language is other than English.
4 (m) If any provision of this Section or its application to
5any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity of
6that provision or application does not affect other provisions
7or applications of the Section that can be given effect without
8the invalid application or provision, and to this end the
9provisions of this Section are severable, unless otherwise
10provided by this Section.
11(Source: P.A. 98-383, eff. 8-16-13.)
12 Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
13becoming law.