Current law entitles a parent, guardian or legal custodian of, or entity with educational decision-making authority for (parent), a student with a disability, or a student who may be eligible for special education services, to file a state complaint in the event of a dispute with an administrative unit or a state-operated program (education provider). If the parent prevails in a state complaint decision, the education provider may file a due process complaint against the parent regarding the issues disputed in the state complaint.
The act requires the department of education (department) to enter into a service agreement with a nonprofit organization (organization) to create and maintain a list of attorneys qualified to represent a parent in a due process complaint filed by an education provider in response to a state complaint filed by the parent in which the parent prevailed. The service agreement is for 5 years. A parent may contact the organization for an attorney appointment.
The act requires the department to include information on attorney appointments in the procedural safeguard notice and in other materials distributed to parents describing due process complaint procedures.
The act requires the organization to report to the department on or before September 1, 2024, and each September 1 through September 1, 2028, on the number of attorneys appointed to parents in due process complaint cases, the costs associated with each due process complaint case, and the amount of unspent money the organization retains at the end of each budget year.
The act requires the department to annually provide the organization $20,000 to pay attorneys and to create, maintain, and administer the list of attorneys.
The act appropriates $33,260 from the general fund to the department for legal representation for due process complaints.
APPROVED by Governor May 25, 2023
EFFECTIVE May 25, 2023
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)